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How a Marketing Doctrine Overcomes the Flexibility Vs Consistency Conundrum

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Diversified or decentralized firm face a conundrum: How do you ensure that marketing decisions are consistent across the entire company without undermining the flexibility required to tailor marketing decisions to local circumstances? The answer: A marketing doctrine based on unique principles that guide without dictating. 

Idea #584
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Why the Chief Marketing Officer Matters

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The position of Chief Marketing Officer has come under fire recently, with some arguing that a CMO does not really add value to a company. A new research study counters this view; showing that companies with CMOs perform up to 15% better than companies who leave the CMO seat empty. 

Idea #581
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British generals, during the Battle of Gazala, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Scenarios to Open New Perspectives

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Well-known as a strategic planning tool, the scenarios methodology can drive potent academic research that shatters assumptions and reveal radical new perspectives on major issues and problems.

Idea #582
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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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Organizational Resilience Is Reinforced by These Two Variables

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Demonstrating the role of governance in resilience, a new study shows that employee-owned businesses (EOBs) are more likely to resist the damage from an economic downturn than non-EOBs — however, only if ownership is accompanied by a strong employee voice in company decisions at all levels. 

Idea #577
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Stakeholder-Focused Accounting: Value Creation and Risks

Idea posted: December 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance

Current accounting methods inadequately represent and reward stakeholder value creation. Value-creation stakeholder accounting (VCSA) — which combines the disciplines of accounting, value creation and stakeholder theory — is the theoretical foundation for new stakeholding-focused accounting. The best mechanism for implementing the theory is through value-creation stakeholder partnerships (VCSPs), derived from partnership accounting (as opposed to traditional entity convention accounting). 

Idea #571
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fMRI brain scan, 2010 (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Why the Best Strategic Thinkers Are Both Rational and Emotional

Idea posted: December 2015
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

The brain, through the magic of fMRIs (neuroimaging procedures), tells the true story of how the best strategic thinkers think: they deactivate their rational, linear prefrontal cortex, and activate the older, intuitive-sensing parts of the brain that triggers emotions and social awareness — the same parts of the brain on which creative artists draw their inspiration. Move over, Porter. Make room for Picasso. 

Idea #574
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‘Circle reflect wikipedia 2’ by Dachris, 2006 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Rise of Integrated Corporate Reporting

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Creating an integrated report enables companies to communicate an holistic picture of their prospects, one that is broader than offered by traditional financial reports. Integrated reports cover strategy, governance, performance and forecasts. A new framework for ‘Integrated Reporting’ (IR) has been created to help organizations bring these elements together. Integrated reports benefit both external stakeholders and leaders within the organization.

Idea #555
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What Influences Our Choices? What Others Prefer or What They Actually Consume

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

A series of psychological experiments reveal that people will imitate others’ preferences, but not their actions — a revelation that can have marketing implications. For example, Facebook ‘likes’ are more influential than lists of best-selling products.

Idea #556
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Jean Charles de Menezes, memorial plaque at Stockwell Station, London (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Framing Leads to Bad Decisions and Bad (Even Fatal) Actions

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision makers must frame or ‘make sense’ of events and situations, and then make their decisions accordingly. A groundbreaking analysis of an innocent civilian’s tragic shooting by anti-terrorist police reveals how groups of individuals commit, through the interaction of communication, emotions and material cues, to a single, common frame — in this case an erroneous frame. It is a cautionary tale for leaders and other decision makers, exposing how errors or assumptions can cascade into a complete misunderstanding of situations.

Idea #563
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Beware of Over-Optimistic Investors Skewing High-Risk Stock Prices

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance

Investor sentiment has a, sometimes erroneous, effect on stock market valuations. There is evidence that higher risk stocks become overpriced in periods of optimistic sentiment and undervalued when sentiment is pessimistic. Optimism attracts equity investment by unsophisticated, overconfident, retail investors in risky opportunities while such traders are less active in pessimistic periods. Thus sentiment can wrongly influence company share prices, and both investors and CFOs planning financial strategy should be wary.  

Idea #549
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The McDonalds sign in Times Square (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mapping Brand Strategy: Balancing Centrality Vs Distinctiveness

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

A new tool, based on scoring brands on their centrality (i.e. the brand of record) and distinctiveness (i.e. the brand that stands out from the crowd) can help marketers and strategists determine the best paths for growth and profitability. 

Idea #540
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Henry the Navigator leading Vasco da Gama, Magellan and others. Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal (Source: Wkimedia Commons)

What Does It Take to Develop Globally Competent Leaders?

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Most companies recognize the importance of training top leaders in global competence skills, according to a new survey of more than 300 HR professionals. Many companies, however, are unsatisfied with their leaders’ and potential leaders’ skills in this area. A variety of methods can help build multicultural sensitivity and other global capabilities. 

Idea #541
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CFO Survey: Most Hit by Hackers Otherwise Optimistic

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

New research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business global survey of CFOs reveals that 80% of companies have been hacked. Small and medium-sized businesses have been the hardest hit. Other results from the CFO survey include expectations of wage hikes and the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on U.S. exports.

Idea #534
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Adapt Your Choice of Product-Related Services to the Industry Life Cycle

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Different types of services — from ‘complementary smoothing’ services such as maintenance support to ‘substituting’ services such as leasing arrangements — can be more or less effective depending on the current phase (early ferment, middle transition, or late mature) in the life cycle of the product’s industry.

Idea #531
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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram 1809, Horace Vernet, 1836 (Courtesy: Palace of Versailles)

Ensure the CEO Gets the Right Information at the Right Time

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

CEOs must be informed at all times about all internal and external facets of the company relevant to his or her performance as leader of the company. A personal knowledge infrastructure, based on the right practices, relationships and tools and aligned with the needs and personality of the CEO, can make the difference between leadership success and failure. 

Idea #532
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Composition VI, Wassily Kandinsky, 1913 (Courtesy: The State Hemitage Museum, St Petersburg)

A Symphony of Agency and Stewardship Values Ensures Family Business Success

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Agency theory describes a contractual relationship between managers and shareholders who have divergent interests. Stewardship theory describes a collaborative relationship between managers and shareholders toward shared goals. Which works best for family businesses? New research reveals that a combination of the two, changing as the business moves through its lifecycle, offers the best recipe for success. 

Idea #518
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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos at his desk, Francisco Goya, circa 1798

How to Use Compensation and Team Composition to Manage Procrastination

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Project managers must manage the tendency of project workers to procrastinate, which leads to delayed efforts and, subsequently, quality problems. Understanding the behavioural biases of project workers leads to solutions to procrastination — solutions related to compensation, team composition and the management of information. 

Idea #519
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Playing cards from the French Republic (1793-94), revolutionary images replace Kings and Queens

The Role of Identity When an Organization's Purpose Changes

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

How do organizations respond to multiple business logics with conflicting sets of rules and norms? New research based on a study of four French business schools reveals that institutional and organizational identities will guide an organization’s response.

Idea #514
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Millennials 2: Concerned about Opportunities for Growth and Quality of Life

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

A new global survey shows Millennials from different regions of the world have different fears about their work lives. On average, the number one fear was getting stuck in a job with no development opportunities. In Latin America, however, the fear of not realizing their career goals dominated, while North Americans feared working too much most of all. (Editor's Note: This article is based on Part 2 of the survey)  

Idea #516
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Six Skills for the Social Media-Literate Leader

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A scholar and an Executive Fellow from the Drucker School of Management present a six-dimensional framework of what they call ‘organizational social media literacy’. It outlines critical capabilities — from creating content and managing the flow of information to spreading social media competence throughout the organization and creating a social media infrastructure — that today’s leaders and their organizations must master to capitalize on the full potential of social media.

Idea #503
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A Meeting of the School Trustees, Robert Harris, 1885 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Canada) 

Corporate Governance: The Power of Outside Directors on CEO-Only Boards

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Once packed with company insiders, corporate boards are filling up with outside directors, theoretically resulting in greater independent oversight. New research shows, however, that paradoxically having the CEO as the only insider on the board actually enhances the CEO’s power and undermines outside oversight.

Idea #506
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When Does Downsizing Hurt Customer Satisfaction?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Past research based on B2B industries show an intuitive link between downsizing the workforce and lower customer satisfaction. A new study focused on B2C industries reveals that the link is more complex, depending on factors such as organizational slack, labour productivity, and the emphasis on innovation. The study does confirm that downsizing reduces customer satisfaction, which then reduces financial results.

Idea #507
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The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563 (Courtesy: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

The Language Challenge for Social Media in Multinationals

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The growth of social media in business enables and enhances a company’s communication among employees and with outside stakeholders, including customers and partners. The diversity of languages within a multinational, however, can hamper communication and collaboration both externally and internally. 

Idea #500
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Five gantry cranes, built at ZPMC, destined for Hamburg, on the vessel Zhen Hua 20, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Lesson from China: Growth Is Not Eternal So Be Prepared

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) was a high-flying builder of large-scale container cranes whose decisions — such as lifetime guarantees on all parts and ambitious diversification — reflected a belief that growth would last forever. It didn’t.

Idea #495
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Promotion Vs Compensation: Managing Employee Careers to Benefit the Organization

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The best companies recognize that personnel policies are interdependent. The decision to promote worthy individuals, for example, cannot be made in a vacuum. Is there room for more managers at the next level? A new mathematical model reveals how decisions on hiring, demoting, promoting, retaining and compensating employees must take into account factors such as the organizational chart and firm size.

Idea #501
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'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler, 1877. Portraying William Brydon, the only survivor the evacuation from Kabul in January 1842. Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Learning from Expatriate Experience After the Return Home

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

Expatriates who return home bring with them the knowledge benefits of the relationships that they made during their international assignments. New research shows that these knowledge benefits continue even after the assignment because the expatriate still has the connections with his or her former colleagues in the international host office. 

Idea #493
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Cyber-Attack Catastrophe: Lessons from a Plausible Risk Scenario

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge University has developed a detailed risk scenario describing a slow-burning cyber attack on a fictional software developer that has global consequences. The improbable but plausible scenario, based on a variety of real (but smaller) cases, is intended as a ‘stress test’ for organizations and public policy bodies and offers lessons in how to mitigate the impact of such attacks.

Idea #491
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Harness Big Data Using Visualisation Software Tools

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: NUS Business School

The phrase “big data” puts the emphasis on quantity — and it’s true that the data available in the world continues to grow exponentially every year. But for businesses wanting to make the most of big data, it’s not quantity that counts, but what you do with the data. Companies are losing millions of dollars because they are not fully exploiting the data they are already gathering. Given the complexity of big data, visualisation software tools are required to help companies avoid this mistake.

Idea #474
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CAVE installation, Internet and Virtual Reality, Maurice Benayoun (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Leaders Emerge in Online Communities

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Without a formal hierarchy, members of online communities are often able to work together effectively and efficiently collaborating to create vast founts of knowledge such as Wikipedia. This research looks at how leaders emerge in online communities, and what companies can learn from this. 

Idea #470
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