Articles Tagged Strategy

Sep 14, 2009
Learning from the Crocs shooting star phenomenon

“For a while, they were just right there, in the middle of American culture,” says Richard Polk, the owner of Pedestrian Shops and ComfortableShoes.com, based in Boulder, Colo. Polk’s store was the first real shoe store to stock the crazy-looking plastic shoes, a few years back, when they first roared out of nearby Aurora to […]

Read More
Sep 07, 2009
Real strategy is about saying “No”

“The very essence of having a strategy is being selective about choosing the criteria on which a firm wishes to compete, and then being creative and disciplined in designing an operation that is finely tuned to deliver those particular virtues. …Strategy is deciding which business you are going to turn away.” David Maister, Strategy & […]

Read More
Jul 06, 2009
How one famous family oversees its business

“G.M.’s managers must answer to a new majority owner, the federal government, which in turn hopes to sell off its stake to other investors. Chrysler executives are learning to work with the Italian automaker Fiat, which acquired most of its assets. Ford’s top managers said they have no such worries about their controlling shareholders. “These […]

Read More
Jun 22, 2009
Is your ‘great’ company sowing the seeds of its own future failure?

“When you are at the top of the world, the most powerful nation on Earth, the most successful company in your industry, the best player in your game, your very power and success might cover up the fact that you’re already on the path of decline.” That question—how would you know?—captured my imagination and became […]

Read More
Jun 08, 2009
‘Me-too’ strategies are a waste of time

“When United Airlines decided in 1994 to compete with Southwest (Airlines) in the intra-California marketplace, the company tried to imitate Southwest. United put its gate staff and flight attendants in casual clothes; it flew only Boeing 737s; it gave the service a different name, “Shuttle by United,” and used separate planes and crews; it stopped […]

Read More
May 31, 2009
Learn from this failing football club

Newcastle United got relegated from the English Premier League last week. “Say what”? I hear some (but not all) of you shout in unison. Don’t we get enough mania about foreign football in this country, without ‘A Sunny Day’ adding to the madness? Is it not enough that a deranged young Kenyan recently killed himself, […]

Read More
Apr 12, 2009
Future success is not guaranteed – for anyone

Icarus flew too close to the sun, and came crashing down into the sea. He became giddy with excitement at his ability to fly, and was punished for his over-confidence. That is a Greek fable, but all societies have their tales about the phenomenon of hubris – the excessive pride or arrogance that so many […]

Read More
Apr 06, 2009
To prosper in life, expect the unexpected

“It is easy to see that life is the cumulative effect of a handful of significant shocks. It is not so hard to identify the role of Black Swans, from your armchair (or bar stool). Go through the following exercise. Look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions […]

Read More
Mar 30, 2009
Do yourself a favour – burn your mission statement!

Vision: To be a leading provider of quality products and services in the region. Mission: To deliver quality solutions and excellent returns and service to all our esteemed stakeholders through consistent best practice. Values: Excellence Teamwork Quality Customer Focus Professionalism Social Responsibility Do your vision, mission and values statements look anything like what I’ve put […]

Read More
Mar 02, 2009
Don’t mistake your humdrum annual plan for your strategy

“There is nothing like a crisis to clarify the mind. In suddenly volatile and different times, you must have a strategy. I don’t mean most of the things people call strategy – mission statements, audacious goals, three- to five-year budget plans. I mean a real strategy. For many managers, the word has become a verbal […]

Read More
Feb 23, 2009
Lessons in competition from the demise of GTV

“Gateway Broadcast Services announced today that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to liquidate the Company. The current financial and global crisis has severely interrupted the company’s ability to secure further funding for the continued operation of the business. Gateway Broadcast Services, suppliers of the GTV service to subscribers across Africa has […]

Read More
Feb 09, 2009
The herd instinct gets us all into trouble

“One thing this crisis has proved is that the herd instinct is alive and well and global. It led Bear Stearns and Citigroup and Lehman Brothers and AIG to believe that risk was a thing of the past, that housing markets could only go up and that unregulated mortgage-backed securities would forever yield unprecedented returns. […]

Read More
Feb 01, 2009
Why are our shops so awful?

I remain stunned by the experience offered to customers by our supposedly excellent entrepreneurs. I am particularly appalled by our retail shops, most of which are woefully, bafflingly bad. I am in the market for a couple of computer printers. A relatively straightforward issue, you might think, since we seem to have a large number […]

Read More
Jan 19, 2009
Want to be truly excellent at what you do? Practice!

“This idea – that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice – surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours. “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert […]

Read More
Jan 18, 2009
It’s back to basics for big business

Surely it’s impossible for a company listed in three stock exchanges to falsify its accounts for years on end? Surely you cannot put a fictitious $1 billion in cash on your balance sheet, and get it past your auditors? Surely you can’t just keep recording fake profit margins? Actually, you can. Satyam Computer Services, an […]

Read More
Jan 12, 2009
No one saw the shocks of 2008 coming

“The past year has been full of big surprises, particularly for banks. One minute it was 85-year-old Bear Stearns that collapsed, the next it was 158-year-old Lehman Brothers, and then the whole financial system needed bailing out as confidence in free-market capitalism itself all but evaporated. Who would have thought, at the start of 2008, […]

Read More
Jan 11, 2009
Corporate reputations came crashing down in 2008

Nothing in this world creates more wealth than private companies. And that wealth is spread around – to shareholders, employees, governments, suppliers and customers. The interconnected micro-world around the private company is the world’s most powerful economic ecosystem. Those at the top of the corporate world tend to have a halo around their heads. We […]

Read More
Nov 30, 2008
What Kenya needs: Shock therapy

I touched on a subject before being interrupted by the US poll. I wrote in early November that we cannot advance as a society until we learn to respect rules, and that most of us only behave well when we are compelled to do so. I termed the phenomenon ‘moral entropy’: if you don’t force […]

Read More
Nov 28, 2008
Repeat after me: Strategy is about difference

“A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve. It must deliver greater value to customers or create comparable value at lower cost, or do both. …Operational effectiveness means performing similar activities better than rivals perform them…in contrast, strategic positioning means performing different activities from rivals’ or performing […]

Read More
Nov 14, 2008
The changing face of business gurus

The Top 10 most influential business gurus: 1. Gary Hamel 2. Thomas L. Friedman 3. Bill Gates 4. Malcolm Gladwell 5. Howard Gardner 6. Philip Kotler 7. Robert Reich 8. Daniel Goleman 9. Henry Mintzberg 10. Stephen R. Covey The Wall Street Journal, 5 May 2008 Academics might be expected to dominate the Wall Street […]

Read More
Sep 26, 2008
Can the Volt electrify General Motors?

“(General Motors) turns 100 this year, but amid the birthday celebrations it can expect a slap in the face: in 2008 GM is likely to be demoted to No. 2 among the world’s carmakers. Memories of past glory make being overtaken by Toyota all the more galling. In the 1950s and 1960s, GM poured forth […]

Read More
Aug 22, 2008
Why I back Starbucks to bounce back

“On July 1st (Starbucks), based in Seattle, said it would close a further 500 stores in America (in addition to the 100 closures it announced earlier this year) and reduce its workforce of roughly 172,000 by around 7%. A remarkable 70% of the stores due to close were opened after 2005, which seems to confirm […]

Read More
Aug 15, 2008
Teams: Why 2+2 is not always 4

“In the late 1920s, a German psychologist named Max Ringelmann compared the results of individual and group performance on a rope-pulling task. He expected that the group’s effort would be equal to the sum of the efforts of individuals within the group. For instance, three people puling together should exert three times as much pull […]

Read More
Aug 01, 2008
The power shifts revealed by the new Fortune Global 500

The 2007 Fortune Global 500: 1. Wal-Mart Stores 2. Exxon Mobil 3. Royal Dutch Shell 4. BP 5. Toyota Motor 6. Chevron 7. ING Group 8. Total 9. General Motors 10. ConocoPhillips Fortune (July 21, 2008) What’s new in Fortune‘s Global 500 List? Well, 6 of the top 10 corporations by revenue are oil companies, […]

Read More
Jun 20, 2008
Business has many casualties – but many do last the race

“Of the 500 companies that appeared on the first (Fortune 500) list, in 1955, only 71 have a place on the list today. Nearly 2,000 companies have appeared on the list since its inception, and most are long gone from it. Dozens of companies on this year’s list did not even exist in 1955. Some […]

Read More
May 16, 2008
When will Kenya produce an African market leader?

“In 2005, the Chinese computer company Lenovo bought I.B.M.’s P.C. division, and the Mexican cement company Cemex acquired the British cement giant RMC. Last year, India’s Mittal Steel paid thirty-three billion for the Belgian company Arcelor, and Tata’s steel company bought the British-Dutch steel producer Corus for more than eleven billion.” James Surowiecki (The New […]

Read More
May 11, 2008
Want success in life? Commit!

There is a lesson we must all learn: life is nothing if you don’t commit to it. In love, in business, in your career: you can’t ‘succeed big’ if you don’t ‘commit big’. If you want to be a winner, you have to decide what you want and how you’re going to get it. And […]

Read More
May 09, 2008
Is coffee a great business to be in?

“For coffee farmers in Meru Central, every waking moment is a constant reminder of the good old days when the berries were synonymous with wealth. In the late 1970s…during the so-called “coffee boom”, many millionaires were made as the region, which lies at the foot of Mt Kenya, benefited from coffee sales. Coffee was to […]

Read More

Archives