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Tag: organization

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At Issue } essential reading

Conversations Can Save Companies

Boris Groysberg & Michael Slind
Apr 12, 2013

Each period of business history has its own representative corporate type. The 1960s were the age of the conglomerate. In more recent decades, the startup has achieved iconic status. But the kind of organization that marks our own historical moment is, arguably, the turnaround company.

The Gap Logo Debacle: A Half-Brained Mistake

Umair Haque
Oct 11, 2010

Here's a thought: 21st century organizations need not just half a brain — but a whole, full, complete brain, where both halves work in unison and harmony. Let me explain, by way of an example. It hurts your eyes to look at it. It's making designers world-wide recoil in amazement and horror. The latest installment of Aliens vs Predator? Nope — it's the Gap's new logo.

Who Should Own Social Media?

Oct 5, 2010

When part of my garden fence fell down this week, my dog was delighted, my neighbor exposed, my wife mortified and my impatiens completely flattened. After spending a couple of hours jerry-rigging the crumbling wood back into place, I realized this experience was a convenient if not appropriate metaphor for the challenge marketers face in dealing with social media within their organizations. Like a dog with a bone, consumers are thrilled with the tumbling divide between themselves and the brands they choose to engage with. Unfortunately, big companies do not necessarily share this enthusiasm, treating social media as yet another channel to be managed by an existing department like marketing or corporate communications and, in doing so, limiting the opportunity for a truly new approach.

Why Sales and Marketing Are at Odds — or Even War

Steve W. Martin
Sep 30, 2010

Struggling companies all share something in common. Their sales and marketing efforts are at odds. Sometimes, they are even at war. The marketing team lectures the sales department, saying that if only the salespeople would follow their advice, their problems would be solved. Meanwhile, the sales department always says it needs something else from marketing. The salespeople are clamoring for the silver bullet that will convince the most ardent skeptic to buy. The root cause of this situation is that sales and marketing have different views of the world.

SNAFU: The New Normal

Sep 3, 2010

Last week I heard this in a meeting: "We're in the middle of tremendous change. The organization is going through the biggest transition in its history." The line is usually delivered with a mix of desperation, a touch of helplessness and an apologetic tone. The admission comes, with the predictability of a carefully timed script, as I'm trying to assess where companies are in terms of their digital marketing maturity. Just a few years ago there was a lot of brash boasting about how cutting-edge companies were, but it's been a long time since I've heard that confidence. Even former dot-com rock stars are realizing that they have a lot to learn. They know things are messed up and they think it's their fault. Somehow things have gotten fouled up in the execution machinery of their company. They're not smart enough, nimble enough or gutsy enough.

Marketing Myopia

Apr 22, 2010

I’ve been mulling over a debate for the past few weeks and haven’t been able to resolve it, so I thought I’d share it here and get your input. The issue is whether marketers should try to increase the marketing function in the organization or whether they should try to increase the marketing capability of the entire organization. The debate was prompted by an op-ed written by Larry Light, marketing guru and former McDonald’s CMO, in Forbes a few weeks ago.

The Organization Is Alive

Art Kleiner
Apr 7, 2010

To change an organization from within, it helps to understand four basic circulatory systems, analogous to the channels of communication in a living body.

That’s the CMO’s Job

Denise Lee Yohn
Apr 2, 2010

Author Peter Drucker’s adage that a business enterprise has two basic functions—marketing and innovation—certainly resonates in the quick-service industry today. Marketing and innovation serve as critical drivers of growth at a time when the limits of cost cutting have been reached. While the innovation function is steady across all chains, marketing strategies vary greatly.

Time Management: Urgent vs. Important

Feb 26, 2010

In a comment to last week's post on what (worries you) and why, Dan Naden writes: I am concerned about effectively managing my time. Focusing on the important sometimes gets shoved aside for the 'urgent'. This is an issue we're all more all less wrestling with to one degree or another. Thank you, Dan for surfacing it for us. People often ask me how I manage to produce so much content and to be (seemingly) everywhere, will holding a full time job. I have no life. Seriously, though, let's take a look at definitions and go from here:

Open Innovation's Next Challenge: Itself

John Hagel III and John Seely Brown
Feb 4, 2010

Are companies, with all their good intentions, getting the most from open innovation? We suspect that the initial successes, encouraging as they are, represent only the beginning. What if open innovation were defined more broadly and more ambitiously? Could even greater value be realized? If so, what would the next wave of open innovation look like?

Do You Live Social?

David Armano
Jan 2, 2010

Some have asked, Where does social media live? Is it marketing? Is it public relations? Is it IT or corporate? Is it a combination of multiple business units and functions, and if so, who leads the efforts and how does an organization choose partners? These are valid and complex questions, currently with no simple answers. Social media is still emerging and being defined in real time. There's a question missing from that litany, one that organizations or individuals rarely ask themselves: Do you live social? Many organizations simply skip this question because they assume that they themselves don't have to be social (open and collaborative) to reap the rewards (cost savings, marketing ROI, effective reputation management, and search engine juice) they think they might get from social media.

Tweeting at the Speed of Scale

Nov 16, 2009

From a holistic perspective, we talk about the need for organizations to become more socially calibrated—able to adapt and respond to changes both externally and internally. The three areas where emergent outcomes can manifest are, participation with your customers, collaboration between your employees and optimization in the interactions/transactions between your business and its partners. Digging into customer participation, it’s clear that in a networked economy customers demand engagement, information, support and ultimately, value and ecosystems such as Twitter are beginning to deliver here.

The Über-Connected Organization: A Mandate for 2010

Jeanne C Meister
Nov 11, 2009

Think about your organization and ask yourself these two questions: Are external social media sites restricted or blocked while at work? Is the use of social media in the workplace inhibited or frowned upon? If you answered yes, then your organization is one of the majority of firms with over 100 employees that have yet to embrace the use of social media in the workplace for the average worker. In a study conducted by Robert Half Technology entitled "Whistle But Don't Tweet At Work," many organizations are struggling with how to integrate social media into the workplace.

What Would Peter Say?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Oct 26, 2009

Heeding the wisdom of Peter Drucker might have helped us avoid—and will help us solve—numerous challenges plaguing communities around the world: restoring trust in business in the wake of accounting scandals and the global financial crisis; attracting and motivating the best talent without creating crippling financial commitments; addressing societal problems such as climate change, health care, and public education; dealing with trouble spots in central Asia and the Middle East. If Peter Drucker were here today, what would he have to say about such pressing matters?

Re-designing Your Business Culture

David Armano
Sep 10, 2009

When thinking of any Social Business Design problem, it's important to realize that there are three areas which will define all of the challenges which will need to be resolves in order to move any business toward a more open, collaborative model which benefits all constituents (employees, customers, partners). These areas are: People Process Technology Right now the industry is focused on technology, which is understandable since advances in it have enabled us to do so much more with less. However, I wanted to focus this short post around a subset of people. It's a thing commonly referred to as "corporate culture".

Can't You Come Up With Anything Better?

Sep 4, 2009

When asked about the efficacy of your latest marketing efforts, do you have an elevator pitch? I know the conventional wisdom is that you need some punchy, data-rich, confident spiel to throw at all those questions you get from nosy fellow C-suiters, but I have a contrarian thought for you: You risk sounding like an idiot.

Big Blue's Global Lab

Aug 28, 2009

How Big Blue is forging cutting-edge partnerships around the world.

Forget Design Thinking and Try Hybrid Thinking

Dev Patnaik
Aug 26, 2009

When A.G. Lafley was named CEO of Procter & Gamble during the summer of 2000, the task of turning the organization around looked overwhelming. The price of a share in the consumer packaged goods giant had declined by nearly 55% in just two months. The company was missing revenue and profit targets as it learned to grapple with the Internet and new global competitors. To remain the world's preeminent maker of useful stuff for the house, P&G needed to make a lot of changes very quickly. Lafley saw design as being central to P&G's transformation. Design promised to unleash the creativity of the organization and find new ways to unlock value that a marketing-driven company might not have discovered.

The CMO's Role in a Customer-Centric Organization

Aug 25, 2009

Deciding whether to adopt a customer-centric orientation is a significant decision for organizations, not to be made casually. It results in debates defining customer centricity, often with the question, "How customer-centric do we need to be?" Inevitably, it means organizing around the customer and the further proliferation of the types of marketing needed to do so effectively. The many companies that have embraced a customer-centric orientation have experienced some real and often unexpected challenges. At the center of these challenges is the role of the chief marketing officer -- the person who needs to deliver thought leadership, lead the strategy debate and reorganization, and then integrate the various marketing types into a company-wide, customer-centric orientation.

How Real Innovation Moves the Needle

Dev Patnaik
Aug 25, 2009

Up until a year ago, innovation was the toast of the business world. Companies around the world were investing heavily in design, launching new products, and even building virtual retail stores in Second Life. Then the financial crisis erupted, destroying shareholder value, corporate budgets, and family income alike. In the wake of that disaster, it's entirely legitimate to wonder: is innovation relevant anymore?

The Great Divide

Aug 25, 2009

North of the Arctic Circle, a top priority for fishermen is to catch and dry enough char to last the winter. Fishermen near the equator race to market before insects and bacteria spoil their catch. Climate is the driving factor shaping these vastly different fishing practices. In many corporations, the same is true for marketing and IT departments.

Listening Literacy For Nonprofits

Beth Kanter
Aug 20, 2009

I am an early adopter of social media and set up my listening post 5 years ago to scan for people, trends, and ideas related to social media and nonprofits. Listening and engaging with people has been critical to any success I’ve achieved as a social media practitioner – whether I’m blogging or fundraising for Cambodian children. For the past five years, I’ve been teaching social media workshops for nonprofits and lately doing deeper dives on the techniques of listening both for nonprofits and in my role as Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Packard Foundation. This is a four-part series about listening for nonprofit organizations summarizes the insights I’ve learned about listening.

How to Build a Culture of Innovation

Aug 20, 2009

India's Tata Group has made innovation part of its DNA, setting up a way for handling new ideas and making creative thinking a performance criterion.

Does Your Company Support Consumer Experience Innovation?

Steve McCallion
Aug 18, 2009

A few years ago, we were asked by a regional coffee roaster to redefine the coffee experience for fine dining. We knew that Americans drank coffee after dinner for functional purposes (to wake/sober up), but we wanted to understand how we could create a more emotional experience. We grabbed our notepads, went into the field, drank a lot of coffee, studied coffee rituals from different cultures and ultimately crafted a compelling coffee experience that could have resurrected the after dinner coffee ritual in America. The client loved it, but never brought it to market. Why?

5 Challenges Social Business Will Face

Aug 15, 2009

A recent survey conducted by Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had terminated employees due to social media usage (common causes including sharing sensitive information on a network). And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to transform business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for right now. If you aren't you will be.

Marketing Meddling Sparks Brain Drain at Chaotic Pepsi

Aug 11, 2009

It all started with Pedro the Dog. Early in 2008, Pepsi marketers were still figuring out their new top executive, Massimo d'Amore, recently named head of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. But they quickly got a taste of what was to come as Mr. d'Amore did an end run around the brand's marketing team and then-Gatorade agency Element 79 by working with Peter Arnell to create a Super Bowl ad. The spot, which consisted of little more than a big, black dog lapping Gatorade from a bowl, was widely criticized. Since then, an exodus of key marketing and brand executives has plagued a company once known for incubating top talent.

How to Design a Flat Organization

Aug 7, 2009

Conventional wisdom says that to be successful, our ideas—be they designs, strategies, products, performances, or services—must be concrete, complete, and certain. And when it comes to managing a company big or small, we need organizations to be highly ordered, with a strong and well-defined structure. But what if that’s wrong?

How Whirlpool Puts New Ideas Through the Wringer

Aug 4, 2009

In 1999, Whirlpool's (WHR) then-Chief Executive David R. Whitwam set a goal: He wanted the leading maker of big-ticket appliances to be No. 1 in innovation as well. Whitwam's pronouncement kicked off a flurry of ideas. Not all of them were sensible. "There were some wacky ones—bicycles, tennis shoes," recalls Moises Norena, director of global innovation. Whirlpool needed a system to evaluate and screen ideas, advancing promising concepts and culling out those that were better forgotten.

Latest Starbucks Buzzword: 'Lean' Japanese Techniques

Aug 4, 2009

Starbucks Corp. built its business as the anti-fast-food joint. Now, the recession and growing competition are forcing the coffeehouse giant to see the virtues of behaving more like its streamlined competitors. Under a new initiative being put into practice at its more than 11,000 U.S. stores, there will be no more bending over to scoop coffee from below the counter, no more idle moments waiting for expired coffee to drain and no more dillydallying at the pastry case.

Escaping the Zombie Economy

Aug 4, 2009

Umair Haque yet again demonstrates thinking that's pushing the envelope with regards to strategy and economy. Umair's presentation centers around the problem with corporations that generate value by exploiting resources in an unsustainable manner.

Break Through the Bottleneck

Larry Oakner
Jul 31, 2009

After months in development, the new product is ready for worldwide launch. The product manager tells the creative team to use a picture of a globe. "But our brand is about what we do for people. Our brand guidelines specify images of humanity," the designer pleads. "I don't care. Use the globe," the product manager demands. Unfortunately, there's always the need to balance business objectives with branding goals. Says the VP of Global Branding for a major commercial information data base company, "It's not that product managers ignore branding. They don't understand how to leverage it."

You Can't Innovate Like Apple

Alain Breillatt
Jul 29, 2009

When what you teach and develop every day has the title “Innovation” attached to it, you reach a point where you tire of hearing about Apple. Without question, nearly everyone believes the equation Apple = Innovation is a fundamental truth. Discover what makes them different.

Designers in the C-Suite: Creating Value, Wrecking Havoc

Grant McCracken
Jul 24, 2009

Two items in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye today. Both show us the American corporation as it struggles to divine the mysteries of American culture.

The Growing Importance of Chief Commercial Officers

Jul 24, 2009

A new role is gaining prominence in the C-suite, as companies increasingly are hiring chief commercial officers to oversee sales, marketing and innovation. That's the finding detailed in a new white paper from executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles. According to the firm, 56 companies appointed CCOs in 2008, up from just five in 2001. And already in the first half of this year, 36 companies have appointed CCOs.

What McDonald's Can Teach Us About Recovery

Mats Lederhausen
Jul 16, 2009

With all the news coverage today on financial mismanagement, I can tell you from first-hand experience about a company that continues to prosper amid all the chaos. And I think it is worth trying to understand why.

Brand Thinking Keeps You Tuned-In

Jul 15, 2009

Things are changing at a pill-popping rate in today's marketplace. Marketing messages are mushrooming (try saying that three times fast) and people's preferences are changing rapidly, which turns today's peacock into tomorrow's feather duster. And that's really why branding is today's most powerful business concept.

Innovation Calls For I-Shaped People

Bill Buxton
Jul 14, 2009

It has become almost a cliché to say that cross-disciplinary teams are a key component for successful innovation. If certain problems are beyond the scope of any individual—and most of them are—the way to address them is with a team with complementary skills and a common language in which they can all communicate. But useful guidance starts to dry up rather quickly beyond that. Since there is no reliable secret formula that can be used by a hiring manager or someone trying to build up appropriate skill sets, I thought that I would share a way of thinking that I have found really useful.

SEO Success: Sign of a Healthy Corporate Culture

Jul 10, 2009

I've been working with companies on SEO for over a decade now, and there's one thing I've noticed: all things being equal, healthy companies with great cultures seem to do much better in organic search results. And by organic success, I mean the good, white-hat, Matt Cutts-approved kind of success. I bet that if you found the companies that do well in organic search, you'd also find companies that Jim Collins (author of "Built to Last" and "Good to Great") would be proud of. This correlation can't be coincidence, so I've outlined some reasons why this might be so.

True Efficiency Requires More Than Cutting Costs

Jul 10, 2009

The pressure to cut costs is stronger than ever, leading more and more marketing organizations, both advertiser and agency, to talk about how to reconfigure their marketing processes with one goal in mind: reducing costs. Typically the cuts focus on cutting the marketing/media budget, headcount and nonessential expenses by a certain percentage. Instead, companies and agencies need to take a close look at how their marketing organizations are structured as well as their processes for getting things done.

Every CEO Wants A Self Sustaining Culture Of Innovation

Laurence Knight
Jul 7, 2009

Recently, the CEO of a leading financial institution asked us, "How do we kick-start innovation throughout the organization and how do I make it self-sustaining?" This CEO seemed to be 'done' with hiring companies or consultants to do one-off innovation projects only to find that the momentum stopped the day they walked out of the door. And clearly she did not believe that one specific outside company could change the corporate culture by themselves.

Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis

Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
Jul 4, 2009

It would be profoundly reassuring to view the current economic crisis as simply another rough spell that we need to get through. Unfortunately, though, today’s mix of urgency, high stakes, and uncertainty will continue as the norm even after the recession ends. Economies cannot erect a firewall against intensifying global competition, energy constraints, climate change, and political instability. The immediate crisis—which we will get through, with the help of policy makers’ expert technical adjustments—merely sets the stage for a sustained or even permanent crisis of serious and unfamiliar challenges.

Debunking Social Media Myths

Jul 1, 2009

I recently spoke at and attended the Conversational Marketing Summit in NYC. On day two, I heard something from Brian Wallace of Blackberry that echoed thoughts I've been preaching for a while. He said "I was selling in the idea that social media is free, until the community manager headcount came in."

Six Rules for Brand Revitalization

Jun 30, 2009

Brands do not die natural deaths. However, brands can be murdered through mismanagement. Some brands are beyond hope -- but others can be revitalized.

In Search of Innovation

John Bessant, Kathrin Moslein and Bettina Von Stamm
Jun 25, 2009

If you want to understand why some companies lack innovative ideas, think about the man who can’t find his car keys. His friend asks him why he’s looking for the keys under the lamppost when he dropped them over on the lawn. “Because there’s more light over here,” the man explains. For too many companies, that describes their search for new ideas, and it pretty much guarantees they won’t go anywhere fast. While such a company can marginally improve what it’s already good at, it misses out on the breakthroughs—those eureka moments when a new concept pops up, as if from nowhere, and changes a company’s fortunes forever.

A Mission is Not a Strategy

Tom Asacker
Jun 17, 2009

Times are tough. People are hurting. Your mission to help people is critically important. But please don't confuse "mission" with "strategy."

Results Follow Understanding

Jun 16, 2009

Ask any businessperson what marketing is about and they’ll answer with clichés about satisfying customer needs or “world class” service. Eventually they’ll get around to the 4 Ps, advertising, USPs, viral and social marketing, and a plethora of brand distinctions like: brand promise, brand identity, brand image, brand religion, brand essence, brand personality, and on and on.

Walmart, P&G, Unilever Learn from Their Mistakes

Jun 15, 2009

Paul Polman is the only senior executive to have worked at each of the three biggest consumer-product marketers on Earth in the past five years -- Procter & Gamble Co., Nestlé and Unilever. As such, he's seen a variety of takes on how to run global marketing, and his unique perspective is this: No single solution will work universally, even within the same company.

Why Success Often Sows the Seeds of Failure

Jun 9, 2009

In my last post I identified three things that can turn leaders into laggards: the practical difficulties of sustaining above-average performance, the natural obsolescence of once-vital strategies, and the corrosive impact of discontinuous change. Now let me add a fourth: success corrupts.

Companies Should Encourage Social Networking Among Employees

Jun 3, 2009

In all my years in the brand business I have yet to run into a company that doesn't have a set of brand guidelines. You know, the carefully crafted criteria for tone and manner, the graphic standards--colors, logo typeface, and the like. Some even include terminology, the voice and verbiage required for use in ad copy, speeches and collateral material. While this is all well and good, it's not nearly good enough at a time when "who" is increasingly trumping "what" as a crucial factor in brand success.

American Airlines Web Site: The Product of a Self-Defeating Design Process

Jun 2, 2009

Designer Dustin Curtis was so disgusted with the American Airlines Web site that he redesigned it, and posted the results as an open letter to the company. Guess what? One of AA's designers responded with a long defense about why better design dies a slow death at places like AA.

Why Networks Best Silos in the New Environment

Jun 1, 2009

"How should i change my marketing organization?" That's the most frequently asked question of members of the Association of National Advertisers. These are large, sophisticated companies. They're supposed to know what they are doing. So why are they asking the question?

What Role does Design Play within Your Organization?

May 22, 2009

Designers often wonder or whine about how their work is not recognized, accepted or even respected in their organization. What many designers don’t realize is how they or their designs are treated has to do with how the discipline of design is viewed within their organization. While most of the time I reference organizations that have in-house design teams, most of the topics of our discussion today can also apply to consultancies looking to service organizations that buy design services. There are many levels of how Design is viewed or integrated within an organization. This is what I like to call “The Design Functionality Axis” as illustrated above. The Axis stretches from a low level Supplier relationship at the base of the triangle to a Strategic Design Leadership relationship

P&G Makes a Bigger Play for Men

Apr 29, 2009

Procter & Gamble Co. is giving its beauty and grooming division a dramatic makeover. As sales falter in its $27.8 billion global division, P&G plans to restructure the unit to make a greater play for men and could develop new products for high-end retailers, salons and spas, according to an internal company memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

GM is Driving by Looking in The Rearview Mirror

Apr 13, 2009

U.S. News & World Report’s interview with Susan Docherty, North American Vice President for General Motors provided some valuable insight into the troubled car company. Her comments made it clear that GM is operating from a reactive, backward looking stance.

The Right Size

Seth Godin
Mar 25, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about issues of scale and units of measure. Many businesses that are in trouble are in trouble for a simple reason: they're the wrong size.

The Power of An Algorithm

Seth Godin
Feb 12, 2009

Algorithms in business appear to be magical, because they allow you to be smart about problems you haven't seen before. The 'angry customer' algorithm or the 'promote a book' algorithm don't always work, but they are approaches that work on a huge range of problems. All of which is a long way to wish Charles Darwin a happy birthday. The simple algorithm he described is often misunderstood but is robust and flexible and powerful, and it works for ideas and businesses as well as fruit flies and turtles.

Monday's Metaphor

Tom Asacker
Feb 9, 2009

The Postal Service has withstood challenges from the telegraph and telephone. It has adapted to stagecoaches, railroads, airplanes and other innovations that quickened the pace of American life; however, the economic crunch and digital mail may be forcing the postal service to change its operations.


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