This last article of 2014 will cover one of my favorite topics because in my experience it can be so misunderstood. How fast and agile is your organization? These are huge drivers of firm valuation.
We go to the fitness center to build muscle strength and flexibility. Research on the brain and how it functions and improves suggests we go to the “brain gym” to build the brain’s strength, flexibility and endurance. We used to think that a person’s brain capacity for problem solving and creativity was set by the time we are eight to ten years old.
Last month’s article described the Lean StartUp Movement. But what happens next after launching your venture using Lean StartUp principles and gaining some initial traction with early adopter customers? Last month I discussed the customer or the demand side of the Lean StartUp, where it all begins. However growing or “scaling” the Lean StartUp is mostly about the supply side of the equation.
Entrepreneurship is a very hot topic globally. And it is growing in importance in Northwest Louisiana. Witness Gregory Kallenberg’s first StartUp Prize in June and July 2014 at John Grindley’s Cohab here in Shreveport. Seventy-five would-be entrepreneurs will go through one or two qualifying events to possibly earn $50,000 in prize money and/or have their ideas funded.
What do you think are the attributes of an Exceptional Organization? Do exceptional firms stay that way for long? My opinion is no – periods of sustained performance will be followed by times of trial and tribulation. This sets the seed for improvement or even turnaround before growing again.
Leadership is a topic like the Hydra’s Head from Greek mythology – cut off one head and two grow back. There are more theories of and approaches to leadership than you can possibly count. John Donahoe, then president of eBay, said “Leadership is a journey, not a destination. It is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a process, not an outcome”. So why tackle such a diverse and hard to pin down topic?
This article will discuss the evolving views behind why a single product business should diversify into more different kinds of businesses. As I look at our great businesses here in the Northwest Louisiana region, I notice that most are single product or a bundle of tightly related products. Perhaps this article can stimulate thought about whether or not they should consider diversifying. The payoff is high in terms of increasing firm valuation but so are the risks.
One of the best CEOs I have been honored to work for was Clarke Johnson, then CEO of McGregor Sports. He told me while discussing strategy in 1990 that the hardest part of his job was to tell his people “no”. I was perplexed and asked for more insight. That insight and those of others are the topic of this article.