Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 30AUG10

August 30, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: economy

Recent reports indicate China’s economy has moved into the #2 position ahead of Japan and behind the United States. The reports state that China is poised to catch up and will eventually surpass the United States.

What the stories are not stating is the U.S. economy is currently three times the size of China’s.

It is impossible to thrive if you see yourself, your company or country about to become the victim of some economic calamity.

As the late President John F. Kennedy stated, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Growth in China’s economy and the global economy as a whole is an opportunity, not a threat, which will help global companies thrive.

Thought for the week:

“Being a warrior is not about the act of fighting, it’s about being so prepared to face a challenge and believing so strongly in a cause that your are fighting for that you refuse to quit.” – Richard J. Machowicz, Unleash the Warrior Within
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 23AUG10

August 23, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

From the terrific book How to Castrate A Bull—Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business by Dave Hitz, Founder and Executive Vice President of NetApp, comes this gem about winning in business against a larger competitor:

“[The competitor’s] key selling point was that their systems were faster, so that was where Brian attacked. He fixed every problem he could find. To motivate others to help, he awarded a bottle of wine to anyone who improved performance 1 percent. With each bottle, a little piece of [the competitor] died.  One percent sounds small, but big improvements come in small increments, and Brian gave away many cases of wine.”

The competitor Brian targeted is no longer in business. His relentless focus on improving performance 1 percent at a time positioned his company to thrive.

What improvements are you working on to make your company, department or team thrive?

Thought for the week:

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.”Charles Schwab
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 16AUG10

August 16, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: configurable products and services

A small business owner contacted me about needing a configurator system to handle his anticipated volume of business.  He wants to spend “as little as possible” to resolve his mission-critical challenge.

His business is about configuring, pricing and quoting configurable pump systems. His prospective dealers have told him that they might fail without an effective configurator tool.

The business owner has focused on the product design and product features, not the support system required to seamlessly drive the business from quote to cash.  In this instance, the support system is as important as the product itself.

Why are companies with configurable products reticent to invest in critical infrastructure so their businesses will scale?

A go-to-market strategy and budget must address critical infrastructure as well as the product or service. Businesses that thrive anticipate and address all challenges in their go-to-market strategies pro-actively.

Thought for the week:

“I’ve never made a secret of what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s the challenge.  It’s the brand.” – Sir Richard Branson in Business Stripped Bare

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


The HP Future Without Mark Hurd

August 10, 2010

There’s been a flurry of media activity surrounding the departure of HP’s CEO Mark Hurd.  Here’s what I wrote about this matter on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” released today, August 9th:

I’ve long been concerned about HP’s CEO Mark Hurd being so focused on execution that he lost sight of the need to innovate to ensure a sustainable, viable business. Now, in light of Hurd’s unplanned departure from HP, others are suddenly writing that it is time for a new HP CEO who embraces the need to innovate.

The CEO’s role is to create and deliver a compelling strategy. The COO’s role is driving execution. HP does not have a COO, a structural problem in the company’s leadership team that may have distracted Hurd. Hurd acted like an extremely effective COO, not a CEO.

Great strategy and great execution are required to ensure a company thrives.

Others may not agree with my view. While under Hurd’s leadership, HP’s stock price doubled—quite an achievement. My sense is that the stock price alone doesn’t reveal the entire picture. I look at a company more holistically. HP has been weak in the innovation area. The recent acquisition of Palm was hopefully the beginning of a refreshing trend.

Question I received today:

Can you explain how the acquisition of Palm is seen as the beginning of a new trend? The only thing I know about Palm is/was their Palm Pilot. They were at the front of the game until others like HP came along and took this device to the next level. I just tossed my HP I-PAQ into the trash, as my iPhone now does everything (and more) that my Palm and HP did.

My response:

Palm’s new operating system (which they rolled out on the Palm Pre) apparently has some wonderful attributes that Palm would never have been able to fully exploit due to its internal problems. Palm had hoped that this OS would become as big Android. But, given poor marketing and an inability to get strong support from firms like Verizon, Palm was dying a slow death.

HP acquired Palm for this operating system and was looking forward to creating other products around it, e.g., an iPAD-like tablet. This OS would also enable HP to get into the smart phone business and, using their reach, make an impact that Palm never could have on their own. This acquisition was a win-win: great for Palm, great for HP. This acquisition looked like an opportunity for HP to get its mojo back.

HP focused more on execution than innovation under Hurd–I didn’t believe the balance was appropriate. I believe at one point Product Development investment had been about 6% of total revenues, substantially less than other corporations in their space that invest about 9%. It is true that HP would have invested far more in real dollars than anyone else just based on their size. How has HP benefited from that investment?

Frankly, HP hasn’t captured excitement with new products for years. Can you name one standout HP product in the last 5 years? I can’t.

When you live in Silicon Valley as I do, it is easy to compare HP with Apple. Apple is about buzz and excitement. HP has begun to look like little more than a provider of commodity products competing with Dell, Acer, etc.

HP used to be the premium provider of innovative products. The HP35, one of the first scientific calculators, came on the market in 1970 or 1971 and was priced at $400, about 4-6 times what other calculators sold for. Engineers and engineering students craved the HP35. “Real engineers” moved from slide rules directly to the HP35. It was a dominant, sought-after product. Price didn’t matter.

Apple is in that space today–Apple is thriving in a down economy. HP is playing a different game than Apple.  I’d like to see HP offer value-laden, innovative products again that create buzz and excitement.

Let the innovation begin!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting


Always fasten your seat belt

August 9, 2010

Here’s a fantastic video by Embrace Life.  It’s about 90 seconds long.  It just might save your life or the life of someone you care about.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 09AUG10

August 9, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership & innovation

I’ve long been concerned about HP’s CEO Mark Hurd being so focused on execution that he lost sight of the need to innovate to ensure a sustainable, viable business. Now, in light of Hurd’s unplanned departure from HP, others are suddenly writing that it is time for an HP CEO who embraces the need to innovate.

The CEO’s role is to create and deliver a compelling strategy. The COO’s role is driving execution. HP does not have a COO, a structural problem in the company’s leadership team that may have distracted Hurd. Hurd acted like an extremely effective COO, not a CEO.

Great strategy and great execution are required to ensure a company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“It’s only a dream until you write it down. Then it becomes a goal.” -Emmitt Smith, NFL Hall of Fame Induction Speech, August 2010

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 02AUG10

August 2, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: innovation

Business process innovation can be as value laden as product or service innovation.

The San Jose Fire Department just laid off 50 fire fighters and will close a couple of fire stations due to budget constraints (and, frankly, the unwillingness of their unions to make concessions to save the jobs).

Sunnyvale, California, a major city in Silicon Valley, has an entirely different and revolutionary approach and, as a consequence, will lay off no one. Sunnyvale’s Public Safety Department combines fire, police and emergency medical services into one department. Those in police roles carry the equipment to take on fire fighter roles at a moment’s notice. Everyone is cross-trained to assume different roles. The officer in a police squad car this week might be stationed in a fire house next week. Sunnyvale’s lean approach drives great efficiency, agility and cost-effectively leverages total resources.

What process innovation is your team or company ignoring that can change the game and help you thrive?

Thought for the week:

“It’s a law of nature. Success breeds arrogance.” – Richard Martin, Alcera Consulting

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.