Category Archives: Management

Sustaining top-line growth: The real picture – McKinsey Quarterly – Corporate Finance – Performance

Sustaining top-line growth: The real picture – McKinsey Quarterly – Corporate Finance – Performance.

Finally an honest and factual article that shows the disconnect between the target growth rates of most public companies and what they can realistically achieve on the long run. For long I have been wondering whether I was the only one to find such growth performance objectives disconnected from the market reality and old good common sense. Ever-increasing top line growth rates are illusion: all businesses follow a development cycle, which will ultimately gets to maturity and decline if no actions are taken to diversify the portfolio through M&A or internal innovation. In that context, ever-increasing top line growth rates means that management boards have become Masters at anticipating business maturity and decline by proactively  managing on an ongoing basis a portfolio of internal innovation and M&A that will be used to more than offset the stagnation and/or decline of mature businesses. I’m sorry but it sounds too good to be true, I’m afraid that no matter how high an opinion they have of themselves,  they are not that good despite their laughable attempts to make us believe that success was long planned through a linear process… I’m a strong believer that success is like many other things in this world based on entropy. It is not based on continuous improvements and linear evolution, it is based on collisions and disruptions. It shows up at a time when you did not expect it any longer and through paths that you did not know where they will take you when you started them because at the time the outcome was simply not predictable. Unfortunately, with success a lot of people lose humility and a sense from where they started and what they had and what they truly knew when they were there… Way too often, I have seen people justifying and planning success after the facts. It certainly makes a nice cover story but does not qualify as a methodology…

It’s time to reinvent Management by Gary Hamel

Interesting 15min video during which Professor Gary Hamel navigates through the history of Management over the last 120 years. He then rightfully argues that yesterday’s management mantra’s do not work in today’s world of constant change and innovation. It is time to reinvent management, management for the future, management for the human beings. For him, management innovation will not come from Fortune 500 companies, it will come from the fringes and will become mainstream steadily over time. As employees, we can only wonder: How much time will it take for us to get there? Are we talking years or decades? Do we need a new generation of fresh leaders to see some of these disruptive ideas picking up and becoming main stream? Last but not least, how can we contribute to speed up that process? How can we become Management Innovation Champions?

If these questions ring a bell for you, then you should become a member of the Management Innovation eXchange forum: the MIX

Come and join us to grow the community of Management Innovators !

Capitalism for the Long Term – Harvard Business Review

Capitalism for the Long Term – Harvard Business Review.

Is there an oxymoron right in the title or has the capital market slowly diverted the attention of the capitalistic system from long term value to quarterly earnings?If you are interested in the answers to such questions and what we shall do about it, this HBR article is for you !

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Power and Influence in the Collaborative Age

I found 2 interesting statements in this 6min interview of Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor at Stanford University of Organizational Behaviour:

#1: Power is potential Influence, Influence is Power in use

#2: Power is 80% taken and 20% given… No, I did not mess up with the numbers: 80% taken and 20% given.

In other words, you have almost as much power as you are willing to take. If you have none and keep waiting for your boss to give you some, you may wait for ages and never get any…

Food for thought !

Recovering from information overload – McKinsey Quarterly – Organization – Talent

Recovering from information overload – McKinsey Quarterly – Organization – Talent.

If you are a teenager, a young adult or a busy manager and you believe you are doing really great at multitasking, well, you know what, … read this article first and think again !

The era of cheap capital draws to a close – McKinsey Quarterly – Corporate Finance – Capital Management

The era of cheap capital draws to a close – McKinsey Quarterly – Corporate Finance – Capital Management.

Here is another short article that is predicting that as demand for capital is growing to finance the growth of the global economy and as available funds are becoming scarce, this will trigger a new era where capital costs more than before.

The question then becomes: is this going to reshuffle the growth agenda and how it is distributed across the globe? Unfortunately no, as a country like China is not only a big money saver but also attracts a lot sovereign wealth funds, they will continue to enjoy economic growth way above the global average. So the winners of today seem to be the winners of tomorrow for the foreseeable future…

Managing for improved corporate performance – McKinsey Quarterly – Strategy – Growth

Managing for improved corporate performance – McKinsey Quarterly – Strategy – Growth.

Here is a fascinating article, which is 2003 old, and is as relevant today as it certainly was by then. Reading it really made we wonder what we learnt between now and then and whether we put into practice some of the key lessons and recommendations shared by the authors.

I read through a lot of business articles, not that many have that level of pertinence and candor in the analysis of a  macroeconomic situation. Once the assessment was done, the prescription was very straight forward. Interestingly enough though, we did not see that many major corporations since then re-balance their priorities between corporate and operating management.

The question has often been asked: “Does humanity take the lessons of the past or do we keep repeating the same mistakes again and again…?”