October Insights 2018

A collection of interesting thoughts, readings for your Leadership.  

“The Excellence Dividend”
If you began your career in the 70’s or 80’s, the business book everyone read was Tom Peters’ “In Search of Excellence” which looked at how successful companies executed strategies in an enduring way.   With several decades of additional study of successful companies under his belt, Mr. Peters is back with a new offering:  “The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs that Last.”   This short blog posting reviews the book and points out five practices that C-Level executives routinely screw up….and  two massively underserved markets that may deserve your attention. 
Days of Disruption: (No.12) : More than Catching a Wave
Netflix comes to mind when we think of disruption of established business models;  in this case the Hollywood Studios.  Netflix’ success seems to some as just being in the right place at the right time and as surfers say, “catching a wave.”   It’s always hard to untangle the relative influence of luck versus skill, and luck had to play some role for Netscape, but this short blog posting from HBR summarizes how the company deliberately, systematically, and intelligently entered 190 companies in seven years.  
Learn about its two-step process of how it decided where and when to expand, and how it worked with each market it entered.  These are challenges every CEO has to face in some form. Is there a process like this in your company?
It’s not the Peak, but the Prep
Great performance is seductive because great performance looks easy.  It’s easy to forget that all we see is the performance, not the preparation that went into it
In 2017, Alex Honnold free-climbed (i.e. no rope or safety gear)  the nearly vertical 3,000 ft El Capital peak in Yosemite National Park. You may not be contemplating something as physically dangerous as scaling El Capitan but hopefully you have something in your life as important as conquering this cliff was to Mr. Honnold..  In a 12 minute TED talk, hefocuses less on the exhilaration of the  achievement itself, but on the journey of preparation that made it possible.   His experience offers lessons for all of usregarding the price of success whether it’s climbing a mountain, building a business…. or making a life.
If the TED talk whets your appetite for more about this remarkable feat,  currently, there is a 100 minute movie,  “Free Solo”,  of Mr. Honnold’s story playing in theatres across the US.
Econ Recon:
Wholesale Blues?:   Wholesale trade has been enjoying unprecedented strength….andITR Economics President Alan Beaulieu is concerned about it.  Find out why…..and what do to about it in his most recent blog posting.
A Slip or a Slide?:   Recent roller coaster movements in the stock market have many people worried about their portfolios.   Remain calm,  says one of the best market watchers in the world, Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel.   Recent equity market volatility says Dr. Siegel is more “slip than slide”.