How the Mighty Fall

What, if anything, have we learned from Enron, WorldCom and other corporate failures?
What have we learned from the collapse of Bear Stearns and LehmanBrothers?
What have we learned from the alleged misdemeanors of media giants, Hollywood moguls, unicorn leaders, and others who we treated as icons till recently?
It appears that we refuse to learn anything.
When Carlos Ghosn arrived in Japan in 1999, many expressed surprise. After all, Renault was not in good shape and taking on the responsibility of the troubled Nissan appeared to be an unnecessary risk.
In fairness to Ghosn, he proved his critics wrong. With a ruthless focus on cost-cutting measures combined with engineering precision, he turned the company around.
The success of Nissan was instrumental in the acquisition of Mitsubishi. The conglomerate of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi became one of the world leaders in automobiles.
The success story was not without its downside. For a start, Ghosn’s lifestyle contrasted wildly with the…

Personalization and Marketing Strategy

Extraordinary changes have occurred in the customer experience landscape over the last few decades. The notion of standardized products and services for in inter-connected world has given way to the imperative for personalization as the key driver for marketing success.

The Problem:
Customers expect to be recognized on every channel.
Customers assume that any experience they initiate on one channel or device can be picked up right where they left off when they switch to another channel or device.
Customers expect to be able to interact with a company 24/7 – whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them.
The Challenge:
Organizations find it exponentially difficult to execute a personalized marketing strategy across channels and devices, because of the increasing number of technologies and the resulting complexity.
The Solution:
Organizations need to learn (and learn fast) how to declutter the marketing technology stack (please see BCG’s illustration below).

Speed-breakers along the journ…

Genius ≠ Great Leadership?

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is one of the most hyped characteristics while determining the potential effectiveness of an individual. Fanciful figures of 175 or more are associated with certain categories of people – Nobel laureates, chess prodigies, and corporate titans – among others. The truth is quite different. The “average” IQ is supposed to be 100 and a score of 120 is considered adequate for success in any field. Strangely, there is a consensus among experts that beyond a certain level, IQ by itself means nothing although the level is not fixed. Now, Emotional Intelligence (EI) guru Daniel Goleman argues that while there is a correlation between intelligence and leadership performance for leaders up to an IQ of around 120, there is none for an IQ above 120 – what is more, there is a negative impacton leadership effectiveness for an IQ above 128!
This surprising research finding from the University of Lausanne surmises that the super-high-IQ leaders may not know how to tune into ho…

Complicatedness and Firm Performance

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote in The Age of Diminished Expectations that “a country’s ability to improve its standard of living depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.” At the peak of its economic prosperity, Japan had the highest human productivity in the world. Today it is in the 7th position – even though the average Japanese works 80 hours a week and 100 hours a week is not uncommon. Japan ranks at the bottom among countries on the vacation dimension. Unfortunately, there is no relationship between hours worked and performance. In a desperate attempt to encourage people to spend a little time away from work, Japan introduced a “Friday Premium” program under which employees were required to leave their workplace at 3 PM on the last Friday of every month. The result? Nothing. In a culture that places the welfare of the group far ahead of the individual, no one wanted to be the first to leave. 
Contrast this with countries that literally force people …

Better Decisions - In 3 Steps

We can all be wise in hindsight. How about being wise looking into the future? Managers make decisions every day, often several times a day.Have you ever thought how you could significantly improve the quality of your decisionsHBR editor Walter Frick has some sage advice – in three simple steps.