Random Thoughts On Maturing Companies and Start-Ups. When Do You Need A Reset?

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In an interesting conversation with clients this week and discussions were around the question: “should companies plan for the distant future (10 years and beyond) and what is needed to get out of a death spiral where a slow death is in the making?”

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There is a big difference between growing with age and growing old. With age, it sometimes comes with wisdom. With more than a dozen of C-suite execs that I have worked with or coached, for most of them, the wisdom came one day after they had passed the age of 50. Growing comes with age, which sometimes take away the energy and urge to make radical change. Ask…
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There Is A Difference Between Business Turnaround and Business Transformation. It Is Easy To Tell Which Is Harder.

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All companies go through some kind of crisis at some point but what does it take to get out of it? There aren’t many successful turnarounds in large companies and the bigger the company and the longer the history, the more difficult it is for any turnaround and its success rate is lower. 

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Harley Davidson in mid-life crisis when Richard Teerlink joined the company in 1981 as CFO, the company had US market share of 15% and reported a loss of $15m. The company was killed by its strong Japanese competitor led…
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Design Leadership Is More Than Simplicity. It Is About Design Discipline.

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El·e·gant, an adjective and define or characterized by or exhibiting refined, tasteful beauty of manner, form, or style. Marc Jacob? Chanel? Jil Sander? Hermes? All are unquestionably elegant by design in the fashion world. How about smartphones or interfaces? Can they be elegant? Or what about customer experiences? Can you describe a banking or customer service experience as elegant? Most people don’t.

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Is elegant a word reserved solely for tangible product? The design world likes to use words such as “elegant”, “simple” and “user friendly”, many designers understand how to subtract in creating simple and elegant design solutions. Human factors usually subtract…
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Do You Know What A Growth Strategy Is?

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This marks the end of another year. A very busy and fruitful year for us. Personally I was on the road for more than 200 days and I need to take a break – perhaps 3 days. What about my New Year's resolution? I need to cut down on drive and email. I need to cut down on attending unprodcutive meetings. I need to find three people to mentor that they can become the best. I need to revisit places from my childhood that were memorable. I need to back up my hard drive (I am 96 days behind). I need to produce a mini feature film and shot entirely with my HTC phone. I need…
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Let’s Not Confuse Drawing Circles And Arrows With Real Sensemaking.

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As everything is moving faster and less predictable as it seems while organizations struggling to understand what it means and what options to take and how to land on the right decisions at the right time.The results often are inactions or delayed repsonses that cost companies.

Both senior and middle managers’ job include understanding, interpreting and communicating options for executive decisions, both as change agents and advocates. The toolkit that they have is very limited. Sensemaking is a vital skill and a new managerial discipline that is lacking across many organizations and functional units. How do we define sensemaking? It is how we try to make sense of the world and associated challenges so we can see and act in it. It also carries the concept…
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The Future of Wearables? Everyone Will Get It Wrong. And The Winner Won’t Be Google, Apple, Sony Or Microsoft.

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Wearable is hot. It is supper hot. The billion-dollar
question remains, “How do we create the iPhone of wearables?” and “How do we create
sub-ecosystems around these wearables?” and "What new business model opportunities will emerge?" The buzz is here but the money is not
here yet. Everyone is betting on it and no one can afford to miss the train. Most wearable out there are just toys for the geeks. I can't find a reason anyone wants to buy this Sony Watch. Wll now everyone can see my Facebook messages. What is dumb idea! OK I can use it to tell time and the weather.  Apple’s
iWatch or…
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Some Celebrate Failure. Some Even Romaniticize Failure. The Best Strategy Is To Avoid It!

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The new M/I/S/C Bounce Back issue is out in newstand.This issue is packed with great articles about how companies should deal with adversity. It is one of the best issues ever.

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For the last few years, magazines have made failure romantic, and start-ups love their failure stories. It’s true, there are some great stories out there: at the top of the list is Steve Jobs who was…
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Idea Couture Is Ready To Take Innovation And Design Thinking To The Next Level.

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This has been a very tough two months for me in terms of time and I have not been spending much time writing my blog as much as I used to. It is getting a bit difficult to find the time as we were going through a reorganization, adding new offices, putting new management system in place and at the same time trying to finish my two books on the weekends which will be published in May and Oct this year.

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I am excited about my new Design Thinking and Strategic Innovation book that I hope to fill a gap in the market place. And management of the company is taking…
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How Imagination Can Create The Future? Start With Those Old Comic Books and Sci-Fi VHS Tapes From The Flea Markets.

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For centuries we show our human spirit with
stories about our glories,hopes, desires and dreams for
a better future, one filled with modern machines that enable us to do things we long
to do from being invisible or traveling in flying cars or telepods (may be not telepods as
I always worried that something would go missing during the transmission). These stories
manifested itself in art, comics, fictions, movies and even science discoveries.

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What was known as “futurism” is
the artistic movement that began in…
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Design Thinking Requires Storytelling. It Is Both An Insight Tool And An Organization Culture Building Tool.

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Stories inspire, motivate, and shift the way the people think and work. Many civilizations throughout history understood the power of storytelling. From ancient Egypt to modern China story- telling provided the foundation for nearly everything. For business, often there needs to socialize strategies within executive management, the board and senior staff and they include telling innovaiton, survival and hero/heroine stories. Most survival stories are around when organization had to overcome big challenges from disruptive business models that threatened its existence. It is an important piece of organization culture building.

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There are a few universities offering storytelling degrees. I believe Columbia University offers a BA in storytelling an mythology and East Tennessee State University offers MA Storytelling, one…
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