2013 Churchill Club Awards and A Lesson

September 30, 2013

Churchill Club logoNote: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: giving back

This past week, I joined a Churchill Club dinner here in Silicon Valley as a guest of Nair & Co. The Churchill Club offered the following awards:

  • Game Changer Award: Telsa Motors for indispensable technology and business innovation. “You changed how things are done or viewed and there’s no going back.”
  • Legendary Leader Award: Peter Diamandis for inspirational leadership and contributions to others’ success. “Couldn’t have done it without you.”
  • Magical Team Award: NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Team for collaborative breakthroughs that resulted in an irresistible product or service:  “You guys nailed it!”
  • Global Benefactor Award: Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, for irrepressible vision and impact on society: “Thanks for thinking big.”

I want to extend my heartiest congratulations to these very worthy award winners and to the Churchill Club for putting on such an inspiring event. I want to touch on the point Marc Benioff made.

Marc believes that entrepreneurs and large enterprises alike owe it to give something back to the world and instantiate that notion of giving in your company culture from Day 1. If you’re starting late, Marc would urge you to start now. Make giving back a priority. You can learn more about this at the Saleforce.com Foundation website. One of my favorite giving sites is B1G1.

Marc’s point is that giving back helps him and his company thrive in dimensions beyond financial performance. He’s right.

Thought for the week:

“Hit a speed bump fast enough and it becomes a launch ramp.” – David Newman
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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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Preventing businesses from stalling and crashing

September 23, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: preventing businesses from stalling and crashing

Like Kodak, Polaroid, Blockbuster, Sears, Pan Am and many others, Blackberry has finally made the list of corporations that consumers will be able to live without. This PC World headline says it all: New 5-inch Blackberry Z30 Carries Same Old Stench of Death

What does failure look like? At first, it happens slowly and then gains greater and greater speed. Watching these legacy companies fail is like watching a car crash in slow-motion. Quarterly reports reveal the struggle.

For the aforementioned companies, their demise was forseeable. What are the ingredients of their demise?

  • Executives and their boards are in denial and non-responsive to the obvious realities their companies face
  • The leadership teams believe“we’re too big to fail”
  • Being too wedded to the status quo
  • Missing or sitting out market transitions
  • Too much incrementalism in products and services
  • An internal focus rather than a customer focus
  • Blind spots with respect to what the competition is doing
  • Defending markets rather than driving innovation to stay fresh and vibrant in ways that truly matter to customers
  • Taking customers for granted
  • Delivering half-baked new products and services in spite of the fact competitors have already set a much higher bar
  • Assuming customers don’t mind paying premiums for their products and services in spite of the fact there is no obvious difference in value

There are companies we see everyday who face an uncertain future: HP, Dell and Yahoo are top of mind. Marissa Mayer seems to be leading a healthy charge at Yahoo. I have great confidence in Michael Dell and the reinvention he is leading. HP has yet to find a solid footing.

Has your company lost its luster? What actions are you taking today to ensure you thrive?

Thought for the week:

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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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Being Sought After Accelerates Growth

September 16, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: being sought after

One of the desired states I have for my clients with respect to “why” I’m in business is:

  • My clients become sought after by prospects, customers, potential employees and investors

Is your company sought after by these critical constituencies? What does “sought after” really mean? It means being in demand or to be desirable. It also means:

  • your company is top of mind with prospects and loyal, committed customers
  • potential channel partners are reaching out to you–they want in!
  • potential employees are lined up not just because they are looking for work but because they want to be part of what you are doing
  • investors see tremendous upside in what you are bringing the marketplace and want to help you realize that success in a win-win partnership with you
  • less resistance and friction in achieving your business objectives
  • less price resistance
  • you are creating excitement about what you are doing

Are you sought after? Are prospects, customers, channel partners, potential employees and investors chasing you? Or, are you chasing them?

Are doing all the right things to establish and ensure that you continue to be sought after? Or are you just going through the motions? If you aren’t sought after, it’s a lot harder to thrive.

Thought for the week:

“I am in awe every day of the power of words. The ones we say, the ones we omit, the ability of elegantly assembled ones to move us.” – Amber Naslund via Twitter
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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.


Seamlessness Accelerates Growth

September 9, 2013


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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: seamlessness

One of the desired states I have for my clients in my “why” I’m in business is:

People, processes and systems seamlessly and tightly connect my clients and their teams to their customers and partners

Does this statement reflect the state of your business? For the vast majority of businesses, the answer is “no.”

What does “seamless” really mean? Seams are always noticeable and usually undesirable. They are supposed to close gaps and are points of coming together. Seams can often be points of friction and/or rubbing. Seams may inhibit flow. That’s why you must strive for seamlessness between people, processes and systems.

The idea of tightly connecting speaks to transparency and information availability–being system and process dependent, not people dependent, to service and accommodate the needs of those who rely on you for support.

Customer and partners operate outside the firewall of an organization. They can’t walk down the hall to quickly get answers to questions. Customer and partner success is central to your success.

You need to ask yourself “Do our people, processes and systems seamlessly and tightly connect our teams, customers and partners?” I suspect is there is room for improvement. Call me–I can help you.

Thought for the week:

Secret to productivity is not finding more time to do more stuff, but finding the strength to do less of the stuff that doesn’t need doing. – David Heinemeier Hansson

Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:

Fast Company: What Is The Value of Happiness?

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadscanners/

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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Are You Boxed In?

September 4, 2013

Boxed In

When you or your company becomes known for something, the marketplace draws lines around what you represent to the world effectively boxing you in. Over time, you may grow the size of your box many times as you add new products and services. However, be aware — it is harder for the marketplace to grasp that your box has really grown and evolved, particularly if you have name recognition and are known for being in a particular space or area. Getting the marketplace to understand your company’s new box versus the original box is a pretty steep hill to climb.

For example, one of the things that drives me batty is analysts lamenting the decline in PC and laptop sales at Dell. They suggest that, based on the current metric of declining PC and laptop sales, the future is all doom and gloom for Dell. But, what really confounds me is the analysts failing to recognize that their claims of doom and gloom for Dell could only be true only if all Dell offered the marketplace is PCs and laptops. Their offerings have grown by an order of magnitude. And, of course, these analysts very words negatively impact the stock price and the perception of Dell being able to be relevant to its customers and make money in the future.

Analysts who track Dell seem to be trying to keep Dell in a box — the box of “all they do is manufacturer PCs and laptops.” It is not accurate and does not come close to properly characterizing how Dell has evolved. PCs and laptops represent but one dimension for Dell. The conclusion ignores their growing strengths in enterprise software, services, health care, government, education, small and medium businesses and large enterprises. Dell has grown its box yet the analysts continue to focus on a single metric which is what Dell represented a decade ago.

YouSendIt recently changed it’s name to HighTail as it grows its capability and offerings. The name change is more than a mere name change — it is a recognition that HighTail is offering far more in functionality and capability than YouSendIt did. While it is likely that it is costing a small fortune to make this name change, it is crystal clear that more than the name is different. That just may be of great interest to existing customers and thereby keep them coming back for more. They did not try to grow the box — they actually jumped into a new box that enables them to tell a new and a fresh story.

In my consulting practice, I have always eschewed “the flavor of the month or year.” Why? If I had associated myself with total quality management (TQM) or business process reengineering, I would be considered irrelevant to prospects and clients who are no longer drawn to those programs and/or approaches. I did not want to be boxed in by concepts that would ultimately loose market traction and then be forced to reeducate my marketplace about what I am doing today.

What box are you sitting in? Is it serving your present needs or is it making you appear old and dated? Does the box allow you to continue expanding your future? Or, are you going to have to do what Dell is now having to do — reinventing yourself under the same name? Perhaps it Is time to consider a name change much as what YouSendIt is presently going through? In other words – what is going to best communicate that your box is continuously expanding?

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/

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Why Humans Cling To The Status Quo

September 2, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: change is seldom easy

The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” is bringing important history to the forefront.

The movie Lee Daniels’ The Butler shows us discrimination that is difficult to watch, fathom and, at times, makes me wonder how we could have been so cruel, heartless and lack compassion for people simply based on the color of their skin. That we’ve been at this place in the U.S. during my lifetime is all the more remarkable to me.

One of the most interesting things I heard in the news accounts this week were calls by white leaders to “slow down” Martin Luther King’s movement. There were cries that he was “moving too fast.” Why should Martin Luther King have have allowed injustices that had prevailed for years to continue even one more day?

On NPR radio this week, I heard about a teacher’s union in Mexico opposing changes in the way teacher efficacy is measured, changes the teacher’s union said are being pushed “too fast” and need to be “slowed down.” This was all the more interesting to me in light of the calls I was hearing for MLK to slow down 50 years ago.

What drives human to cling to the status quo? Fear–the fear that life is going to be different, that a person is going to have to give up something that is familiar to them, that their entitlements are going to fade, that they are going to have to change in ways that aren’t comfortable.

Change is hard. And, for some, some changes are really hard. Martin Luther King’s dream still isn’t fully realized. Yet, his magnificent vision will live forever.

Thought for the week:

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, & you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – Anaïs Nin

Recent Blog Post That May Interest You:

That Awkward Moment When You Learn #3

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 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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