Archive

A mandarin narrative

“Understanding the China effect on global innovation will be essential for companies that wish to compete in China, take advantage of China’s innovation capacity, and adopt Chinese approaches to innovation to improve their own performance. The overall effect is that more innovation will originate in China—from both Chinese and global companies—and more companies would adopt the Chinese style of innovation.”*
What has helped many Chinese firms make remarkable strides—not just in the realm of innovation—is their swiftness in reformulating themselves, eschewing hierarchical structures, and adopting a customer-centric approach.

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A positive delay

According to Professor Adam Grant, Wharton School of Business, “We shouldn’t be afraid to start early, but equally we shouldn’t be afraid to be slow to finish… procrastination might just improve the end result.” * When used sensibly by leaders, procrastination is a powerful management strategy.

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The best course

In a 2014 article in The Smart Manager, Professor John A Davis, Harvard Business School, observed: family businesses are long term-oriented organizations that promise better stability in terms of ownership and leadership. There is a lot of passion to excel and also persistence, which invariably lead to better performance.1
True, family businesses serve as a repository of management lessons even while fighting vulnerabilities such as family feuds, generational divide, and diverse business goals.

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Be a change leader

In an interview with The Smart Manager, John Knights, author of Leading Beyond The Ego said that adopting a style beyond the traditional is more suitable in a world of continuous transformation.* The hierarchical, managerial, male-dominated, and authoritarian leadership style of the 20th century has to undergo a drastic change as organizations are becoming more democratic, inclusive, employee-centric, and open to feedback from all ‘rungs of the ladder’.

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A measured step

Employee turnover is expensive. Replacing an employee who quits costs, on average, 21% of their annual pay. While it’s tempting to dismiss turnover as a fact of life in today’s fast-moving job market, new research shows otherwise.* Compensation could be a strategic tool for talent retention, especially when the going is tough.

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From firms to ecosystems

In a VUCA world, where value is created and destroyed in surprising ways in every industry, many organizations respond by investing in new technologies only to keep up with the competition. Ralph Welborn, co-author of Topple—The End of the Firm-Based Strategy and Rise of New Models for Explosive Growth argues that what has made businesses effective today will not work tomorrow. He proposes that individuals (or organizations) need to answer the ‘new strategic question’ and understand its implications on what they do, how they do it, and with whom they do it so they can identify and capture new sources of value.

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Discovering value

“Commercialising innovative ideas is a constant run. It requires immense efforts, as you attempt to move forward and make progress on your way while facing one hurdle after the other…entrepreneurs and innovators are trained to run fast…running fast may be useless if you are not running in the right direction.” Entrepreneurs have to focus on valuable market opportunities but encounter failure when wrong choices are made due to flawed evaluation. Sharon Tal, co-author with Marc Gruber of Where to Play, tells us how one can choose and prepare to act on an opportunity, using a tool such as the ‘market opportunity navigator’, staying focused and agile.

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Innovation is not everything

Companies often engage in quick fixes in a bid to be seen as innovative. While this may bring in short-term value, failing to focus on the long term could erode their most valuable moat—the brand. Hap Klopp explains why a brand’s story is not just about its logo or taglines. It is the combined accumulated impact of every aspect of the business, authoritatively unified under imaginative but single-minded direction.

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Beyond the blame game

In an article in The Guardian, Stephen Hawking wrote, “The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative, or supervisory roles remaining.”* Here, the author holds a slightly contrarian view, explaining how AI would create more jobs, than rather eliminate them, and why human insight would remain crucial to success.

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Building invicible brands

The average selling price of an iPhone is $500 more than the pricing for its chief competitor Samsung, according to research by Canaccord Genuity, making Apple earn over 90 per cent of the profits in the smartphone category and rack up a cash hoard on its balance sheet.*

What makes customers choose a product over others despite its high price? It is, in most of the cases, directly influenced by the brand’s thorough understanding of the customers’ changing preferences

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