Many of today’s leaders try to coordinate business resources that are scattered over a large geographic area – perhaps even the whole world. It is common for such people to have direct reports on two or three continents, plus possibly key partners, subcontractors and suppliers even further afield. Leading such a dispersed group can be physically and emotionally very taxing, as those of us who have logged 200,000 flight miles or more in a year can tell you. And keeping the group coordinated and productive – a group of people of different cultures, different time-zones, and different mother tongues – can be a monumental task.
Is there a way to survive and thrive in this kind of job while maintaining a reasonably normal personal life? Here are seven tips that may help.
by Andy McCaskey, Principal
Few aspects of business communications are changing as rapidly as the in-person tradeshow event. Recent trends in technology can amplify or eliminate the competitive advantage that a heavy trade show investment provided just a few years ago. [Reference]
Here are some tips on techniques and equipment that we recently deployed while providing New Media style coverage of a very large industry trade show event, along with some things to think about that will spark ideas for your next live trade show event.
The impact of connected mobile devices around the world has greatly increased the expectations of would-be trade show attendees and exhibitors alike. Advances in wireless networks with the new broadband wireless standards, powerful tablets and ubiquitous smartphone availability offer your company opportunities to involve more people with your product in its best light over a longer period of time. For a powerful combination, split your team into two groups - one at the trade event and the other in their normal home office locations, but still dedicated to the event.
I’ve started the “What’s your Brand” series by saying each of us has his or her own identity and it takes great insights to build it into a great brand. So let’s start with the name itself. I came to the United States in 1992 with my Chinese passport showing my Chinese name 符海京 （Fu Haijing）. In the past 13 years, I have been traveling the world with my American passport showing my name Helen Fu Thomas. Interestingly all my friends across the globe call me Helen (or even Miss Helen). Helen has become an old fashioned name in the US. All of the Helens I have met except for one are either Asian or English. The most distinguished Helen Thomas, of course, is the retired White House correspondent. It turned out she and I were both born under the sign of Leo, but 48 years apart. It was all coincidence as my first name and last name were both given not by choice. The point is that whether you are aware or not, all names have meanings and connections.
I was first introduced to LinkedIn in 2005. Soon after a reduction in force at my company, one of my laid-off subordinates asked for my endorsement. In order to do her this well-deserved favor, I had to sign-up and create my account on LinkedIn; then I pretty much forgot about it. I had a one-track mind in my career, and I felt that LinkedIn was just a “distractAion”. If I wasn’t looking for a job, why did I need it? And then my perception changed as I realized it’s a great professional network where creditable information and mutual respect can be shared.
What I liked about LinkedIn as a useful tool was its starting profile template with an output looking like a well-designed document. Once I discovered that, I did an experiment and pulled together a presentable PDF to use as curriculum vitae(CV) with endorsements from people with whom I had worked. It was fun getting in touch with people with whom I had not spoken for a while, and learning their perspectives. It brought tears and laughs.
Has your business growth flattened or even decayed in your market, and no amount of marketing or sales seems to be able to help it? What do you do? Develop new solutions for this market? Try to enter adjacent markets? Here is a process that we have seen used successfully in a number of different technology companies to recharge growth in revenue and profits.
Start with re-examining the Mission and Vision of your company. Why does your company exist, and what would it look like in 5 years if it was more successful in fulfilling that Mission? Don’t accept some generic statement like “to increase shareholder value.” Your Mission statement should be unique to your company, and not apply just the same to General Motors, Apple Computer, or Mrs. Fields Cookies. What will you NOT do?
The Mission and Vision statements give you the framework to take the next steps, illustrated below:
Tenet #10: Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.
In this, my 10th and final blog on Ten Tenets of Strategy, I posit a last thought: the savvy business person will put in place people and processes to scan the industry and market, to generate awareness and then respond in a timely way to these changes to keep their strategy effective.
These ten tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.
- Your core competency is not your strategy.
- Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
- Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
- Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
- Analyze and design for the industry forces.
- Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
- Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
- Diversify around your core capabilities.
- Balance the stakeholders.
- Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.
For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.
-John F. Kennedy
Statistical demand forecasting techniques have been available to industry for decades, but small- and medium-sized companies rarely use them. There are barriers to implementing these techniques, but these hurdles are quickly becoming lower. In this article, I will discuss statistical forecasting of customer demand and of material demand; and how to start using it quickly and cost effectively.
The key benefit to becoming competent at statistical demand forecasting is significant inventory reduction. The cash preserved from this reduction can be used to finance more value added activities. Plus, judiciously reducing all inventory is one of the fastest ways of converting floor space from inventory storage into space for value added activities, like manufacturing – at very little added expense