Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Holacracy of No Manager Titles at Zappos

I know of companies where entry-level and mid-level leaders focus their career a lot on title and salary.  These are the things that matter most.  In one example, the senior manager bemoaned the unwillingness of his top leadership team to make lateral career moves, even for development purposes.  The underlings want to move upward in prestige and remuneration.  

Which brings us to Zappos.  The elimination of titles doesn't mean managers have disappeared, but rather, as I understand John Bunch in this Entrepreneur interview, it means managers are more open and accessible as well as more responsible and accountable.  In brief, what they do and how they do it have far more import than what they are called and what position they hold.  This is one essence of holacracy, about which Steve Denning elaborates in Making Sense Of Zappos And Holacracy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meaningful Networking for Introverts and Extroverts

Jacqueline Whitmore is right in that being prepared, actually for both introverts and extroverts alike, is key to a successful, meaningful networking event.  Craft a plan that's specific enough to remind you of your purpose and give you direction about fulfilling it, but not so specific as to make your efforts rigid or stilted.  I scored just on the extroverted side on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which means I have a good amount of introversion in my personality.  So I detest the practice of working everyone in the room just to shake hands and exchange cards, but prefer instead having more-than-passing conversations with a few people.  This way, when we do contact each other afterwards, we have already had the beginnings of a relationship that we can build on.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Commentary on GE Leadership Capabilities

(image credit)
  1. Make sure you, as the leader, and your team grasp what the company goals are and ensure that the goals you set follow from these.  
  2. Remember that whatever leadership approach you adopt, or adapt, vis-a-vis team culture and values must inviolably account for your own personality and values.
  3. Take stock of your leadership skills always in reference to company and team goals, never in a generic or abstract vein.
  4. Focus on, and develop, the skills you lack, only if they are vital for you and your team to achieve these goals.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Tough Call, an Inevitable Choice

(image credit)

People, and others around them, may or may not have a sense for how close they are to success, at any given point in their effort.  But because no one has a true bead on the future, they are as comparatively prone to make an error: in giving up, when in fact success is close, as Thomas Edison suggests; or in keeping at it, when in fact success is far away and perhaps no longer worth pursuing.  It can be a tough judgment call in any given moment, but it is inevitably a choice that people have to make.  The aim is to get it right, of course: keep at it, when success is close; or give up, when a particular success ought to be given up.  I see both as viable choices.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Our Mind, Our World

(image credit)

The title is what many now call headline pornWould You Rather Be Alone With Your Thoughts Or Get Shocked?  It's a ploy to capture readers to otherwise sound but conventional content.  That said, there is a curious point in it:  While it's no surprise at all that people, young and old, have difficulty sitting quietly with their thoughts, maybe we have fashioned our surroundings and gadgetry merely to reflect the outward, engaged nature of our mind.  Writer David DiSalvo suggests we do a little experiment to see how long we can sit still and quietly, until it becomes uncomfortable.  I suggest, too, that we reflect on how true that notion is of our world as a derivative of our mind.  What insights do we gain about ourselves and that world, and, given the nature of our mind, how well do the things we do work out for us?  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

People for Smarter Cities: Clever IBM Campaign

(image credit)
IBM is committed to creating solutions that help cities all over the world get smarter, in order to make life in those cities better. That’s why IBM and Ogilvy are working together to spark positive change with the “People for Smarter Cities” project, and unite city leaders and forward-thinking citizens. To spread the word, Ogilvy created outdoor advertising with a purpose: a bench, a shelter and a ramp that are not only designed to be beautiful, but to be useful to city dwellers as well.
This is a variation on the clever IBM theme of Let's Build a Smarter Planet.  For me, innovation is not just wild, breakthrough ideas that we've seen from the likes of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, but also the simplest of things that are positively inside the box.  This ad campaign does the trick beautifully:  It's colorful, simple and practical.  Plus it's lovely irony that a high technology company like IBM creates a low technology solution for the most mundane of needs among city dwellers.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A+E Abbe Raven Breaks Ground with FYI

A+E Networks is trying to take the energy of sites like Pinterest and Yelp, and translate it to TV.
What A+E Chairwoman Abbe Raven talks about may be more ground breaking than Forbes interviewer Dorothy Pomerantz realized.  The last time I looked at numbers, TV remained boss as far as global media reach was concerned.  Many of us may talk about social media and high technology as if these were the only conduits people had for information, entertainment and connection.  But for Raven & Co. to tap into all that hullabaloo, and bring it into tried-and-true mainstream media, has to be phenomenal.  Of course we still have to see how it all works out, but A+E has good track record of launching new brands.  She points out that FYI Network may be for your information, it may be for your inspiration, it may be for your innovation.  The possibilities are, in her exuberance, for your infinite as well.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Business Lessons Jessica Simpson Learned

Jessica Simpson must define what it means to be a celebrity: someone who's in the media, and the public eye in general, a lot and subjects herself to the best and the worst that that public hurls at her.  For instance, there are only a few comments on this Forbes YouTube video, but they're virtually all negative and a couple are offensive.  But she is sitting on a fashion line that is doing very well, and she's grown thick skin apparently, finding humor in the fact that people who criticize her still buy her shoes.  I don't know how much of her success is due to her business acumen or that of her backers.  Still she managed to position herself well in an industry that is tough even for lifers in that industry.  No one can really knock that.  No, she is not a billionaire, at least not yet (rf. Jessica Simpson Net Worth and Meet 20 People Who Became Billionaires This Year [2010, scroll to the end of the article]).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Billionaire Lessons from Michael Jordan

It is quite a feat for an athlete, more than 10 years retired now, to keep his brand alive to the tune of millions of dollars and to crack the surface, according to Forbes estimations, of $1 billion in net worth.  Michael Jordan's Hornets played better this past season, but they were bottom dwellers for a few years.  Despite that, the team is worth $600 - $675 million, and Jordan has inched his ownership stake up to nearly 90% at this point.  

As a point of reference, the Clippers were perennial losers for years and years, but their value was estimated to be close to $1 billion.  This increase apparently came at the heels of the Sterling ownership, which didn't invest much into carving out a winning ball club, until relatively recently.  The Cowboys, playing mostly at a mediocre level, are the most valuable franchise in the NFL.  So, evidently, the relationship between sports performance and business performance isn't so simple or linear.  I want to research this.  

Estatua a Michael Jordan frente al United Center
4 Lessons From Michael Jordan On How To Become A Billionaire

In any event, Forbes staffer Mike Ozanian parcels out the secret sauce to Jordan's billionaire climb, in an article I reference in the above caption:
  1. Get a percentage
  2. Buy distressed businesses in great industries (rf. Warren Buffet)
  3. Use your brand as leverage to strike a favorable deal
  4. Use social media to keep your brand relevant (rf. LeBron James)