"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Aug 29, 2011
Are all your leaders from one ‘tribe?’ Trouble will soon follow…

“(Research in Motion) is run by a ‘good ole’ boy’ network from Southern Ontario. Though I actually believe there can be advantages in this close-knit, trust-based social ecosystem, it is unacceptable in this day and age that a global brand should have the vast majority of its citizens derived from a section of a small […]

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Aug 22, 2011
Why are tech companies falling like flies?

“Things move quickly in technology, which is why technology companies are fascinating to strategists the way fruit flies are for biologists — you can see an entire life cycle in a very short span of time.” RITA McGRATH, blogs.hbr.org (5 June 2011) Columbia professor Rita McGrath points out that technology companies are these days proving […]

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Jul 11, 2011
What can we learn from these century-old businesses?

“If Tom Watson Sr. were to visit IBM today, he would hardly recognize what we make or the services we provide—analytics, clouds, the Jeopardy!-winning computer named in his honor, solutions for a smarter planet. But he would very much recognize why IBM is pioneering these spaces—to make the world work better through information and the […]

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Jun 20, 2011
My 200th BD column: To improve your offsite meetings, switch off the projector!

PowerPoint presentations inevitably end up as monologues. They focus on answers, and everyone faces the screen. But meetings should be conversations. They should focus on questions, not answers, and people should face each other. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve found that even the hum of the projector discourages dialogue. Meetings are exorbitantly expensive […]

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Jun 13, 2011
Do you have any idea what tomorrow might bring?

“Even after a month of demonstrations in Tunisia had brought about the downfall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, on January 14th, some White House officials, along with American and Israeli intelligence experts, put the likelihood of a copycat revolution in Egypt at no more than twenty per cent. The hundred and twenty-five million […]

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May 09, 2011
Do your strategy discussions ever lead to anything tangible?

“ALL ABSTRACT STRATEGY DISCUSSIONS ARE USELESS Strategy is worth thinking about if it causes you to make difficult or non-intuitive decisions. And so you have to test your commitment. “Are you saying that we have to cancel this product line?” is the sort of reaction your strategy statements ought to generate. If you can’t put […]

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Apr 11, 2011
Some people have missions. The rest have mission statements

“Steve Jobs is famous for having said, “I want to make a ding in the universe.” Walt Disney, for having said of Disneyland, “I just want it to look like nothing else in the world.” Springsteen said, “More than anything else — more than fame or wealth or even happiness — I just wanted to […]

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Mar 28, 2011
A golden rule: look at your rivals’ weaknesses, not their strengths

“The single most common competitive mistake investors, CEOs, and entrepreneurs alike make is this: striving to do slightly better what their fiercest rival already does incredibly well. The result is usually a muddled, incoherent mess of a strategy — one that fuels not disruptive, explosive differences between a firm and its rivals, but their very […]

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Mar 14, 2011
Do your customers have a life without you?

“Do you have customers who can’t live without you? 
Because if they can, they probably will. The researchers at Gallup have identified a hierarchy of connections between companies and their customers, from confidence to integrity to pride to passion. To test for passion, Gallup asks a simple question of the customers they query on behalf […]

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Feb 28, 2011
Disrupt yourself – before someone else does it you

“What’s the best way to make the competition irrelevant? It’s a question that has obsessed generation after generation of strategists, pundits, and gurus. Is it new business models, new market space, harder hardball, or better knowledge? The answer is: none of the above. It’s Brian Fitzpatrick’s concise summary of Google’s great insight: “Disrupt yourself before […]

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Feb 20, 2011
Your business tomorrow won’t look much like today’s

Last week I suggested that most of you may not be reading your newspaper in its current form for too much longer – simply because technology and social change has whacked the underlying business model. Who else is affected? Pretty much everyone. Consider one of the most wonderful products ever invented by humankind: the book. […]

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Feb 13, 2011
Is your business about to disappear from under your feet?

Consider this product. The life of the product begins when mammoth trees are grown on a huge scale, then pulled down and turned into pulp with massive machinery. The pulp is taken to giant mills and turned into huge rolls of paper. Those rolls are trucked and shipped around the world. The rolls are then […]

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Nov 29, 2010
Should you walk the talk, or talk the walk?

“Managers are repeatedly urged to practice what they preach so others will take their preaching seriously and try to implement it in their own work. Hypocrisy is the culprit here and to exorcise it, managers are told to “walk the talk”… Part of the reason people fail when they try to walk the talk is […]

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Nov 28, 2010
Since when is misleading customers a winning strategy?

Suppose you go into a shop to buy a drink. You notice that instead of saying “1 litre” on the carton, it says “up to 1 litre” instead. You buy the drink, go home and empty out the contents and measure them. You find there was only half a litre in the box. How do […]

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Nov 22, 2010
Think of strategy as an act of seduction

“Successful strategies are compelling and persuasive in the eye of the beholder – put more vividly, they are seductive. The real power of any strategy is the power it affords to entice people into sharing an image of the future. Notice that I said entice – not delude or manipulate. That is not an easy […]

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Nov 15, 2010
Could you reduce your mission statement to 8 words?

“Most companies, regardless of their sectors, have a mission statement. And most are awash in jargon and marble-mouthed pronouncements. Worse still, these gobbledy-gook statements are often forgotten by, misremembered, or flatly ignored by frontline employees. To combat this, (Kevin) Starr insists that companies he funds can express their mission statement in under eight words. They […]

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Nov 01, 2010
Planning for tomorrow is not about forecasting

“…three financial economists — Itzhak Ben-David of Ohio State University and John R. Graham and Campbell R. Harvey of Duke — found that chief financial officers of major American corporations are not very good at forecasting the future. The authors’ investigation used a quarterly survey of C.F.O.’s that Duke has been running since 2001. Among […]

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Oct 18, 2010
Microsoft’s moment of truth is here

“Microsoft made its final roll of the dice in the global smartphone market today, launching a new mobile operating system which the software powerhouse hopes will rival iPhone and Android devices. The Windows Phone 7 marks a complete break from its past efforts – and the suppression of internal politics in favour of the man […]

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Sep 20, 2010
Nokia’s search for a viable market positioning continues

Nokia, the leading maker of mobile phones, replaced its chief executive, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, on Friday with the head of Microsoft’s business unit in a bid to turn around the company’s struggling smartphone lineup and stop a decline in American market share. Nokia said it had appointed Stephen Elop, a 46-year-old native of Ancaster, Ontario, to […]

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Sep 13, 2010
Today’s cost-cutting may be tomorrow’s crisis

“I remember an illuminating conversation with a senior executive of a recently privatised water company. I was puzzled that so many companies seemed to be able to issue peremptory edicts to their managers to reduce costs, or headcount, and see these edicts fulfilled. Could it really be that there was so much inefficiency and, to […]

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Sep 06, 2010
Learn from Amazon: zig when others zag

“Last week, Jeff Bezos announced plans to release a new-generation Kindle that will be even cheaper ($139) than the current generation, but will make only a few modest improvements in quality and performance. Even as analysts applauded the success of the Kindle thus far, they wondered why Bezos and his colleagues weren’t making the device […]

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Jul 19, 2010
What matters more – strategy or execution?

“The simple fact—frustrating though it may be to the great number of hard-working and capable people inside an organization—is that their best execution efforts can be negated by strategic choices that turn out badly. It may make employees feel good to be told that company performance is 10% strategy and 90% execution. It may inspire […]

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Jun 21, 2010
Who should be losing sleep over the rise of Safaricom?

“Who sells the largest number of cameras in India? Your guess is likely to be Sony, Canon or Nikon. The answer is: None of the above. The winner is Nokia, whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cellphones. Try this. Who runs the biggest music business in India? The answer is […]

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May 31, 2010
Use rivalry to spur innovation in your company

“It is difficult to overstate the extent to which the Renaissance was built on the professional rivalries of its major figures. While these men generally held each other in deep respect and esteem, they also competed passionately against each other for commissions, recognition, and prestige. Competition can sometimes yield petulance and destructive energy. But rivalry […]

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Mar 29, 2010
At your next strategy retreat, ask yourself: how different are we?

“In the 1980s, competition from Japan was every western CEO’s worst nightmare. Whether it was TVs, VCRs, or fax machines, Japan’s ability to produce high-quality goods at low cost drove U.S. and European competitors out of those businesses. Since then, Japan has floundered for more than a decade. Why? A big piece of the answer […]

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Mar 21, 2010
Why reality usually has nothing to do with plans

Last week this column looked at two words: Event and Process. This week I want to engage you in a discussion about two more: PLAN and REALITY. The need to think about these words came to me on a recent flight. Anyone who has flown on a commercial flight will be familiar with the in-flight […]

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Mar 01, 2010
No company can be all things to all customers

“”It is very true that we do not have the high-end ‘mind share’ product, as we speak, but of course we are working to get there,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia president and chief executive. At its investor day late last year, Nokia hinted it would produce major new devices this year. Analysts reckon it is […]

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Nov 02, 2009
Guess what, Starbucks did bounce back

“Howard Schultz (returned) in January 2008 to run the firm he had made great but which had by then entered a seemingly inescapable spiral of decline. Investors approve: having fallen below $8 last November, down from an all-time high of nearly $40 in 2006, shares in Starbucks have risen above $20, a bit higher than […]

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