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Posted by on Dec 3, 2009 in Leadership | 0 comments

Focus, Focus, Focus

One of Mac’s most famous pioneers, Guy Kawasaki (behind Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak) and Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer go head-to-head in this video: The point Steve makes about Microsoft innovating on many different fronts is interesting. While Microsoft is developing MP3 players, mobile and desktop OS, gaming systems, browsers and search engines, the question becomes, are they losing focus? Are they concentrating on too many areas and diluting their efforts? Microsoft is suffering on several areas. The software giant lost 28% market share in mobile OS this past year, Internet Explore’s grip in the browser market is slipping to Mozilla and Chrome (down from 75.47% in January to as low as 64.13%) and the Zune is continuing to choke. The company faces even more competition from Google (beyond browsers and search engines) with their new Chrome OS. So while Ballmer says he wants to innovate on many different fronts, should they be instead re-tooling their strategy? One that brings more focus to their efforts? This is a similar...

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2009 in Business Development | 0 comments

Bonsai: A Lesson in Long-Term Planning

Recently, I bought a bonsai tree for my work desk. There are shoots sprouting up everywhere and it’s getting to the point where I need to start pruning — an essential element in developing a bonsai tree. As bonsai trees take a very long time to grow into beautiful pieces of art, planning and vision is essential. It’s not about what looks good now, it’s about what it will look like in the 10, 20, 30 years from now. The same is true for business. Though you need to overcome many hurdles now, what do you envision your company to be in 5 years? CEOs are often faced with this question. Based on the vision, it’s about finding practical strategy to get there. Just as clipping the new growth is an action that will make my bonsai tree beautiful 10, 20, 30 years from now, so too are the actions of business leaders. Industry, product, location, clients, team are many of the elements that make-up the vision. It is...

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2009 in Leadership | 0 comments

Narrating Your Company’s Future

Most quality programming gets pushed aside for subpar, “WipeOut” type shows. Arrested Development is one of those quality shows that was canceled to make room for “the next big thing.” Spending hours watching a show I never enjoyed while it was on air, in the early episodes, I noticed the narrator addresses himself. This started my thinking about the relationship between narrators and CEOs. The typical role of a narrator is to fill-in as an omniscient character–the all-knowing glue that holds the show together. A CEO has a similar responsibility. Knowing the market and your company within it are essential for CEOs to effectively create and follow their strategic vision. CEOs set the tone for the entire company, internally and externally. The characters (employees) in the show (company) provide most of the entertainment, while the narrator (CEO) updates the audience on the intricacies of the plot line (internal goings on). If your employees are anything like the characters in Arrested Development, surely you’re on the brink of disaster. However,...

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