Upcoming Articles

NOTE: Effective January 1, 2017, I will no longer post new articles since I am now fully retired.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Let's Define Best Practices



One of the most overused terms in business has to be: Best Practices. It seems everyone (including myself) is always labeling something as a “best practice.” Thanks to Hackett Benchmarking, a common definition has emerged for best practices. According to Hackett Benchmarking, a best practice must:

1) Place the company in a top percentile ranking within its industry.
2) Leverage and take advantage of technology.
3) Improve quality and speed, and also lower costs.
4) Give management more control and influence.
5) And finally, it has to be working; i.e. it can't be planned but not implemented.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Three Most Important Skills



It was said some 20 years ago by the Education President, George H. W. Bush that everyone should be able to: Speak, Write and Think. These are the three most important skills everyone should have. Why are these skills so important? Because they are the most transferable skills a person will use throughout their life. These skills also create the widest range of opportunities for people in a world where specific job related skills can become obsolete. And if you don’t think you need transferable skills, then consider that the average American will go through 10 to 14 jobs by the age of 38. One out of every four workers has been on the job one year or less according to the Department of Labor.    

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why Link Pay to Performance



If you expect to attract and retain the best people, you must have market competitive pay. Additionally, you have to be willing to accept some level of employee turnover. The key is to design your pay so that you have targeted turnover; i.e. you induce turnover of low performing personnel while re-enforcing a culture of high performance, enabling you to retain top performers. This is why every company should consider linking pay to performance.

The problem for many companies is the minimal spread between high and low performers. Most companies design their pay around a merit matrix that looks like this:

Performance Level Highest Above Below Lowest
Exceptional 3.5% 3.5% 3.0% 3.0%
Exceeds Expectations 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
Effective 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.0%
Development Needed 2.5% 2.5% 2.0% 2.0%
Unacceptable/Poor 2.5% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%

In the above example, the spread between the best and worst performers is a mere 1.5%. In today’s world where companies are fighting to attract and retain top talent, you must be much more aggressive with your merit matrix so that it looks more like this:

Performance Level Highest Above Below Lowest
Exceptional 6.5% 5.5% 5.0% 4.0%
Exceeds Expectations 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0%
Effective 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0%
Development Needed 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Unacceptable/Poor 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

In this example, people who don’t perform get no increase. This sends a strong signal to everyone that performance matters and for those who do perform, you will get a serious merit increase. This is one of the most powerful statements any company can make when it comes to retaining the best people. You should also think about the limited money you have to spread around. You want to allocate your limited resources to those people who deliver results. A merit matrix that has distinct differences between low and high performance will do more to communicate and create a culture of high performance than any speech or memo you will issue. 

“Variable pay budgets and spending have nearly doubled in the last 20 years, subsequently emerging as the pay-for-performance vehicle of choice now and for the foreseeable future. In a more robust job market, competition for talent exists in every sector. As a result, we are seeing industries that have traditionally shied away from providing bonuses, such as agriculture, higher-education and the federal government, realizing they must establish variable pay programs to compete for and retain the best talent.” - Ken Abosch, Compensation Leader for Aon Hewitt.

Trying to retain the best people is becoming increasingly difficult. According to a 2015 survey conducted by WorldatWork, over 80% of the people surveyed indicated they plan to leave their job. Contrast this to five years ago when the percentage was 60%. High performers are not going to stick around for the usual 3% raise while others get 1%. 

A final point concerns the traditional performance review. If you link pay to performance, you need to rely more on 360 degree feedback that has some anonymity. This provides an objective, open and honest review process that serves as your basis for administering your merit matrix. Additionally, your review process has to be on-going and not just once a year. It should be a cumulative reflection on how well someone has helped the company meet department and company goals. And the review process should be both quantitative and qualitative. For example, the Marketing Manager was able to help the company meet its sales targets (quantitative), but he also mentored and grew the capability of our marketing team (qualitative). If you can have a robust back-end review process coupled with a serious merit matrix (as described in this article) and combine this with a competitive benefits package, then you have established the foundation that should enable a high performing workforce.

"It is very difficult, but not impossible, to put a price tag on losing key people and their smarts. As if to emphasize the intangible yet dire nature of these costs, some executives were unable to provide a dollar figure, but simply responded 'incalculable' or 'priceless.' So even if you can't quantify the costs of knowledge loss, you might agree that the cost is often a lot, enough that you would like some options to avoid or minimize these costs. Despite the acknowledged threat, a surprising number of organizations are doing nothing or little about it." - Critical Knowledge Tools by Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap and Gavin Barton

Download PDF Copy of Article 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Recognizing Intellectual Capital



The traditional accounting model with its financial statements is increasingly inadequate in helping us understand what drives value in our business. These value drivers are highly intangible and the accounting model is not setup to measure and report these critical assets. Part of the problem is simple – it’s hard to measure intangible drivers of value. They can include things like:

  • Your ability to retain and have loyal customers
  • The fact that your workforce is highly motivated and requires minimal supervision
  • Having strong leadership that creates the right culture for performance
  • Obtaining brand recognition that makes it harder for others to compete against your company
  • Turning ideas into real product improvements for continued market leadership
  • Leveraging your know-how against the assets of others in a shared economy

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Better Way to Grow



The consensus amongst most is that bigger is better. With increased pressure on our natural capital (soil, water, oceans, etc.) and an ever increasing gap between rich and poor, it’s time for all businesses to re-think what growth is really about. Take for example inequality - the United States has the fourth-highest income inequality among the world’s developed countries; only Chile, Mexico and Turkey rank higher with trailing countries represented by Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon.

In their book The Big Enough Company, authors Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams make the argument that owners should be true to themselves and grow a company to a size where they can still enjoy running the company. You should not grow just for growth’s sake. A “big enough” company delivers benefits to a broad audience and continues to have a positive impact as the owners originally envisioned.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

Is Knowledge Really Power?



We all recognize (at least I hope most of us) that knowledge is instrumental to value-creation and that knowledge as an asset is far more important than traditional assets such as equipment, real estate or buildings. And to a great extent, every organization must become a knowledge organization and every employee must become a knowledge professional.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Three Frameworks for Higher Productivity



Increasingly we live in a world where we have to get a lot done and since no-one can change time, the key is to get more out of the time we have available. The good news is that several frameworks can rapidly increase your productivity. This article will discuss three: 1) Eisenhower Box, 2) Lewin’s Equation, and 3) the Zeigarnik Effect.   

Certain people seem to get a lot done in an effortless way. One such person was Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower followed a simple principle based on what he once said:  “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Measuring Human Resource Capital



One of the most under measured parts of a business is the human resource capital and it represents one of the biggest challenges facing business; namely finding the best and brightest people. It is these human resources or people who ultimately create value for the organization. People generate value through their application of skills, talents, and abilities. The key is to invest in people so that human resources are productive, knowledgeable, effective, and efficient. This is what separates the average company from the exceptional. Getting a return on this investment or ROI is extremely important.

Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Capture Useful Feedback



Capturing feedback is important to the success of every business. Feedback represents a conversation with your employees and your customers. These conversations keep you within a zone of reality and best of all, these conversations create relationships. And in the world of business, relationships matter.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Organizing the Competitive Intelligence Effort



The development of strategies to compete is essential for the survival of every organization. Competition is increasing from everywhere, ranging from small startups to global companies leveraging resources in the shared economy. Understanding this external global environment is now part of how you must strategize. Competitive Intelligence (CI) is the process by which you collect and analyze information to understand the external environment. The product of Competitive Intelligence is knowledge that facilitates decision making, both strategic and operational. Therefore, CI is both a process and a product.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Use the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)



Over the last few years, successful entrepreneurs have pointed to the Minimum Viable Product or MVP as a roadmap for creating long-term success. MVP is about creating a product or service with just enough value to make it attractive to a small group of customers. In some cases, the product or service is released on a test basis. This allows you to move incrementally without committing huge resources. A strong development team will be needed to capture feedback and turn out new releases. If you are releasing something very unique, you should validate the offering with a private or internal group well in advance of going to a larger test market.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Appreciating 'Appreciative Inquiry' (Part 2 of 2)

Simple things often work best – easy to design and implement. When it comes to strategic planning and getting the organization to move, Appreciative Inquiry can be the preferred approach because of its simplicity. In an effort to get Appreciative Inquiry working, we can follow the 4 D Model: Discover > Dream > Design > Deliver.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Appreciating 'Appreciative Inquiry' (Part 1 of 2)

In order to plan and look forward in a meaningful way, we need to first look back, appreciating the things we do well. It is those things that we excel at that gives us a strategy for a bright future. In a rapidly changing world, traditional approaches to planning often don't work. We assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, developing strategies to address a multitude of issues, only to have wasted resources and time trying to address issues that are difficult to control. Instead of this long exercise in planning, we need a much more rapid and direct approach to getting the organization and its people mobilized for the future. When we focus on the “positive” things that we do well, not only do we galvanize our resources better, but we also energize our people around things that they can accomplish. This simple and powerful approach to planning and change management is called Appreciative Inquiry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Everyone Should Have a Dashboard



Distinguishing high and low performance often requires a common set of metrics. Applying standard metrics across different positions can drive exceptionally high levels of performance across a company. This is often found in the world of sports. Examples include a baseball pitcher’s ERA (Earned Run Average), a football quarterback’s passer rating (QPR), or the average per game metrics applied to basketball players – Points per Game, Rebounds per Game, Assists per Game, Steals per Game and Blocks per Game. This standard framework binds the company, allowing managers to quickly size up individual players and identifying those who need coaching.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Want a Superior Workforce? Hire Women



It goes without saying that people make the difference in great companies. Author Jim Collins brought this point home in his book: Good to Great. One reason this can be challenging is that people are different and they may not work well with others. So how do you reduce the selection process and find people who can add the highest value across the entire workforce? Well you may have to be somewhat bias in favor of women.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The ABC's of Competency Models

As you drill down the drivers of performance for most organizations; things like great customer service, efficient processes, and empowering technology, you reach a base level for making these drivers happen. This gets you back to the qualities of your human resources – knowledge, expertise, experience, and those things needed for successful execution. And the combination of skills, expertise, knowledge and other intangibles will vary from job to job, function to function. For example, what we need for executing for securing new customers is not necessarily the same as what we need for efficient processes.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cyber Security 101



One of the most profound challenges facing every company is Cyber Security. Many of us, including myself, are ignorant about the threat. Some of the largest companies are experiencing massive data breaches. Examples include:

·         Target Department Stores - Debit and credit card data stolen impacting 100 million customers
·         J. P. Morgan - Customer data compromised affecting 76 million customers
·         Home Depot – Reported 50 million customer email addresses stolen

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Understanding Your Value Proposition



Getting your value proposition right and knowing when and how to tweak it is extremely important. Intense competition and change are forcing many companies to re-visit their original value propositions. The best value propositions are those that solve major pain points for lots of people. Start by looking at how your customers spend their time – what frustrations do they encounter?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Science Explains Creativity

With so much emphasis on creativity and innovation, it helps if we can all cut directly to the chase – namely what's behind creativity? Thanks to various scientific studies and author Jonah Lehrer, we have great insights into where creativity comes from. In his book, Imagine: How Creativity Works , Lehrer highlights some very important research that explains creativity.

For starters, creativity is not one train of thought. It is about how people can switch their thinking from one mode to another. For example, we all get stuck on some problem, struggling to break through and reach a solution. What creative people do is they switch gears from say analytical thinking to day dreaming and imagination. Knowing when and how to make these switches is critical to creative problem solving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Elevating the HR Function - Part 2 of 2

Part I of this article addressed the issue of elevating the HR Function into a more strategic type function, as opposed to an administrative type function. Part 2 of this article will describe several strategic ideas for moving HR into the strategic function it must become.

In Part I, we mentioned the importance of HR as it relates to core competencies. Organization's need to maintain and build their core competencies since this is the source of competitive advantages in the marketplace. Core competencies have a lot to do with recruiting and retaining the best people. Obviously, HR should play a lead role in this mandate. However, we do not want to stop here since there are numerous other strategic issues related to HR.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elevating the HR Function - Part 1 of 2

Organizational capabilities are developed primarily through the development of human resources. Despite the enormous importance of human resources, many organizations treat the HR (Human Resource) Function as just another administrative function with high overhead costs. As a result, the HR Function is often targeted for outsourcing and downsizing; crippling it from its real potential for value-creation within the organization.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do You Know Your Vital Few?



Assessing business health is no different than assessing your own personal health. It resides in a set of key metrics or vital few. For example, if you want to size up your personal health, you look at vital indicators such as blood pressure, glucose number, cholesterol, and pulse rate. You continue to monitor theses on a regular basis and if something goes outside the normal range, you take corrective action. So the question is why aren’t you doing this for your business?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Keep on Bootstrapping



Regardless of where your company stands in the growth life cycle, you should always consider some form of bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is the use of little or no money by leveraging available resources. Bootstrapping enables you to control cost by getting things done without committing cash. This approach is viewed favorably by current and potential investors since you are setting priorities around maximizing value.   

Monday, April 27, 2015

Leveraging Knowledge Management

It is ironic that so many companies have an abundance of knowledge, but fail to use it for managing the business. Knowledge is a critical resource that warrants much more attention. If we are serious about managing knowledge, then we need to embrace the concepts associated with knowledge management.

“Businesses, especially large ones, have little choice but to become information-based. To remain competitive, maybe even to survive, businesses will have to convert themselves into organizations of knowledge specialist.” – The Coming of the New Organization by Peter F. Drucker

Monday, April 6, 2015

Find Your Aggregation Points



The world is full of aggregators who can bring enormous value to your business. For example, you may hire great designers in Italy, enlist programmers from India, manufacture your product in China, and manage the business from the United States. Aggregation is the bringing together of different parts to meet important business objectives.  Aggregation often involves broad and global participation. And the use of aggregation results in higher value as opposed to doing everything in-house.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Start Measuring Intellectual Capital

Increasingly, businesses need to pay attention to growing the intellectual capital of the business. Hard assets (facilities, vehicles, equipment) lose value over time and may not provide the highest returns for the business. The soft stuff (talent, leadership, patents, innovation, etc.) creates the most value and return.

A good way to frame this challenge is to think in three’s. Start with the three main types of intellectual capital and the corresponding metrics:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Managing Complexity

You Must Understand Crowds to Manage Complexity
With so much change and uncertainty before us, one way to throw out the noise and traditional viewpoints is to aggressively manage complexity. When you start to manage complexity, you immediately gain some control over the change and uncertainty that you feel you have no control over. For example, “complexity theory” recognizes that crowds are a big factor related to complexity. Knowing something about the psychology of the crowd can be important to how you manage complexity.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Value through Motivation

Motivation is Critically Important to Business Success
So much of what drives value and greatness in any organization resides in how the people are managed. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great , has repeatedly emphasized the importance of attracting and retaining the best people. However, a big part of this has to do with motivating your people. When you focus on this single element of value, namely motivation, you can really unleash so much value and performance within any type of organization.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why More Companies Should Consider OpEx over CapEx

The OpEx Approach Provides More Flexibility
Increasingly, businesses need to improve their focus by doing a few things exceptionally well as opposed to owning each and every long term investment. The level of in-house expertise required to support major investments simply does not exist within most companies. Couple this with the fact that we now live in a world driven by intellectual assets and not hard assets.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Humanizing the Financial Mindset

Why finance should take a more human view
Financial Statements, Organizational Charts, Employee Handbooks, and all those traditional things that go into running the business are increasingly unreliable, out-of-date, and ineffective in a world driven by human and intellectual capital. If leaders of organizations are honest about high performance and creating value, then they must pay close attention to the human side of running the business.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 360 Degree Performance Evaluation

360 Feedback is Critical for Objective Evaluations
Managing human resource capital is now mission critical. One of the most effective tools for managing human resources is the 360-degree evaluation process. Traditionally, an employee is evaluated from a sole source (1 degree), namely the immediate supervisor or manager. However, employees interact with numerous sources: Co-workers, customers, Managers outside the employees department, vendors, contractors, and others. The 360- degree evaluation process relies on these multiple sources, providing a more balanced and objective approach to measuring employee performance. This leads to higher productivity, better customer service, and enhanced organizational performance.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why Games Belong in the Workplace

Games elevate productivity and innovation
Suppose the world had a workforce that was highly skilled at solving some of the most challenging problems. This workforce is motivated, hard working and highly collaborative with others. And to make matters even better, this workforce is not driven by traditional rewards such as money, but more by the thrill of accomplishing something great. Such a workforce exists and it is estimated to be 500 million strong and growing rapidly. It's the workforce of gamers. People who play games are perhaps the most untapped resource on the planet. 

The Challenge of Becoming Customer Focused

Real Customer Focus is Difficult
If customers drive business success, then becoming customer focus is mission critical. Trying to stay customer focus is considerably difficult. Here are some of the many challenges you will have to confront if you expect to be customer focused:

The Financial Argument for Great Design

Financially oriented people, such as myself, often focus too much on the numbers. If we can increase the bottom line by cutting cost, we jump all over it. This can lead to some big problems for growing the business. A good example of this is when a business spends money on design.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Smart Organization - Part 2 of 2

Ten key concepts for High EI
Part 1 of this article set forth the argument that “emotional intelligence” (EI) is the key to creating a smart organization. Since EI enhances individual performance, it also leads to increased organizational performance. In Part 2 of this article, I will outline some specific actions that every organization can take for transforming the company through emotional intelligence.

The Smart Organization - Part 1 of 2

Successful people and companies have high EQ's
Building a "smart" organization is a function of what many HR (Human Resource) professionals call Emotional Intelligence or EI. Unfortunately, many traditional managers think that a smart organization is full of highly educated people with high IQ's. In his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ , Daniel Goleman describes how Emotional Intelligence or EQ - Emotional Quotient is a much stronger indicator of organizational performance than IQ (Intelligence Quotient).

Creating Value through Ethical Behavior

Ethical Behavior equates to More Value
There is a growing body of knowledge to indicate that organizations that act in a socially responsible manner, following high ethical standards will in the long-run outlast and outperform companies that pursue profits at all costs. This connection between value and ethics has been around for a long-time, but several studies have confirmed it:

Creating Value through Information

What makes information valuable?
When you attempt to create value, you have to make a choice between alternatives and this requires reliance on information. Understanding how to create “quality” information is paramount to decision making. One way to improve the quality of information is to make sure there is a strong flow of external sources – looking at market trends, surveying the customers, pursuing new technologies, and of course, competitive intelligence. These external sources provide the “reality checks” we need to remove internal bias, common to so many organizations.

Creating Value through Innovation

Innovation: Critical Driver of Value
Peter Drucker, the father of modern management once declared that the one core competency every organization must have is the ability to innovate. One of the reasons innovation is so critically important is because of change. With change, you are forced to innovate and you can elect to be reactive, forcing yourself to innovate (change what you are doing) or you can be pro-active, purposely seeking to innovate so as to control the changes forced upon you. As you might expect, the latter, the deliberate pursuit of innovation is the “value added” option.

Lessons from the Entrepreneur - Part 3 of 3

What makes an entrepreneurial culture
It should go without saying that we now function in a world of intense competition. Additionally, those who invest in companies are becoming less and less confident in management's ability to create value. As a result, financial markets are becoming increasingly volatile. We also need to consider things like shorter product life cycles. Because of these factors and many more, it is absolutely imperative for every organization to build an entrepreneurial culture. This article will summarize some key components within the entrepreneurial culture.

Lessons from the Entrepreneur - Part 2 of 3

Seven key characteristics of an Entrepreneur
In our first lesson, we described a few basic concepts that entrepreneurs follow in managing a business. We will now expand on how entrepreneurs create value by looking at some characteristics of entrepreneurs. One common characteristic behind almost every entrepreneur is a strong commitment to a set of skills. Invariably you will find that entrepreneurs are extremely highly skilled in their chosen profession and as a result, they can attract customers based on this high level of expertise. Entrepreneurs are able to exploit this expertise and build a business around what they are good at.

Lessons from the Entrepreneur - Part 1 of 3

Three grounding principles
One of the best ways to create higher values is to simply think like an entrepreneur. If we can think like an entrepreneur, we can find numerous ways of changing how we manage and create wealth within an organization. Over the next three articles, I will summarize several concepts that I believe are paramount to creating higher values. All of these concepts come from thinking like an entrepreneur. Lesson 1 (which follows) will introduce some basic concepts. Lesson 2 will explore characteristics of the entrepreneur and Lesson 3 will outline the entrepreneurial culture.

Comprehending the IT Challenge

Desperate systems represent huge cost
For too long, finance has misunderstood and failed to comprehend the true costs and resources required for many IT (information technology) projects. Issues such as migration and integration are simply pushed off to the IT Department to handle. The two functions (finance and IT) struggle against one another. Additionally, finance does not define its role in relation to IT and vice versa; i.e. there needs to be a marriage of strategies. Likewise, some IT projects continue unabated with no supporting value analysis, leading to unacceptable ROI's (Return on Investment). According to Gardner Group, 51% of all IT projects go over-budget by more than 200%.

Creating Creativity - Part 2 of 2

Framework = Eight Creative Talents
One of the great misconceptions surrounding creativity has to do with new ideas. Most forms of creativity are not about new ideas. In reality, there are all types of creative talents that contribute to results. Creativity exists everywhere at all levels. The key is to understand these variations and know how to tap into them for creating value. Therefore, creativity is more about the full range of outcomes, not that one big idea. This broader approach to creativity is much more sustainable than the traditional and narrow approach of seeking some breakthrough idea.

Creating Creativity - Part 1 of 2

How to Create Creativity
All people and all organizations possess creative talent. However, the world we live in can actually constrain creativity. This can range from organizational boundaries that limit our freedom to learn and grow to a society that tells us what to wear, what to eat, and what to look like. The real world of creativity has few boundaries, placing a high value on the spirit of new ideas. This invariably requires a large influx of mistakes and failures. Contrast this to the “non-creative” world where success is placed in a huge spotlight and the notion of failure is greeted with great displeasure.

Learning to Think

The most important skill of all - being able to think
It has been said that everyone must possess three transferable skills – the ability to speak, the ability to write, and the ability to think. The most elusive of these three is probably the ability to think. Unfortunately, many organizations prevent people from thinking. For example, a lack of consistent standards throughout the entire organization may contribute to wide variations in results, making it difficult for people to make the right decisions. Many companies are plagued with compliance type thinking; i.e. people “go along” with decisions to avoid retribution, not challenging the bad decisions that are about to be launched. Instead, we need a simple and consistent framework for decision-making that allows everyone to think the way they need to think.

To Blink or Not Blink

Initial Impressions can be Powerful
In the last few years, there has been an infusion of psychological thinking into the business community. One such example comes from the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Csikszentmihalyi studied the most creative people and pioneered the concept of flow, how people get into the highest levels of productivity and creativity – recovering a sense of harmony, getting around the chaos, and controlling one's own experiences to obtain real happiness.

The Death of EBITDA

IC drives value and not EBITDA
Increasingly deal value is driven by Intellectual Capital. Intellectual Capital includes a wide range of intangibles: Talented Workforce, Ability to Innovate, Leadership, Loyal Customers, or Brand Recognition. These intellectual assets are flipping the traditional EBITDA model on its head. This is evident by acquisitions driven by intellectual capital (IC). Take for example a valuation of $ 10 Billion assigned to SnapShot which has no sales revenues. How can this company be valued at $ 10 Billion with no EBITDA? SnapShot is a social application now used by 9% of all Smart Phone owners. These types of examples are becoming common place. Take for example the acquisitions of highly innovative companies such as FlipKart, Dropbox, Square and WhatsApp. All of these deals were IC driven and not guided by EBITDA.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Welcome to the World of Complex Adaptive Systems

Every business is a system of parts
More and more, business is a function of increased specialization. We see this in the form of outsourcing. We also are witnessing how technology is used to respond instantly to the distribution of products. For example, Wal-Mart now requires its top 100 vendors to use smart tags to track inventory items. These smart tags, referred to as Radio Frequency Identification or RFID relies on satellites to pickup the movement of inventory items anywhere anytime. Eventually, we will see this technology at the consumer level, shopping carts displaying your items and amount due as you drop them into the cart.
So what's behind this trend? Many leading experts have characterized it as Complex Adaptive Systems – the next evolution beyond the so-called learning organization. Most businesses are bogged down in major planning activities – things like formal strategic planning sessions.