“Setting oneself on a predetermined course in unknown waters is the perfect way to sail straight into an iceberg.” Henry Mintzberg
Adam Smith, often cited as the father of modern capitalism, introduced the idea of an economic “invisible hand” that helps demand and supply in a free market to reach equilibrium. Smith argued that market forces naturally do the necessary work to keep economies in balance. One of the great debates among economists is how much economic intervention is healthy and necessary. At what point do government policies bolster and at what point…Read more.
For those of us born in the middle of the last century, we experience both amazement and disappointment when we reflect on our childhood dreams of technology advancements in our lifetime. Clearly the internet and smart phones have placed a dizzying array of information and computing power at our fingertips and yes, we can even see the people we talk to on the phone. But, we are still waiting for our flying cars. While some argue that we live in the most rapidly changing time in history, others point to the generation who saw the introduction of electricity, the…Read more.
It is at the heart of every entrepreneur’s dream. To do something no one else is doing but lots of potential customers desperately want someone to do. Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, phrases the key question as, “What valuable company is nobody building?” Obviously answering this question fits into the category “easier said than done?” In his book, Zero to One, Thiel provides insights that help us approach this question.
It is certainly not a new revelation that bringing something new to the market and avoiding competition is a pathway to big profits. In Blue Ocean Strategy, authors Kim and…Read more.
Strategy only looks clean and neat after it has proven successful. The strategy diagrams show all the components fitting neatly together like a puzzle and all moving towards the desired outcome. In hindsight, all the decisions look obvious. Actually, it may be difficult from looking at a series of neat diagrams to know which ones resulted in success and which ones were huge failures. The diagrams are the product of tools like SWOT and scenario planning that guide strategist to make sense of their environments and identify competitive positions. Such tools may give the impression that strategy can be…Read more.
I found myself getting more depressed as I visited with family members at a recent gathering. Conversations around the question, “so how is your work going?” followed a similar pattern. An initial expression that said, “that is the last thing I want to talk about” followed by a grudging indirect comment that things could be better, leading to a tidal wave of complaints. The conversations also had one other thing in common. The complaints didn’t relate to the type of work performed but all related to the work environment with the primary culprit being the manager. Perhaps I am biased since…Read more.