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Saturday, 4-Jan-2014 21:18 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Growth Gamble








The Growth Gamble
Submitted by editor on Wed, 03/20/2013 - 15:16
Why Business Leaders Need a Vegas-Mindset to Successfully Grow
By Professors Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka
"The first thing top-level leaders need to understand about growth is that the only certainty about growth is its uncertainty."
Have you ever watched a professional blackjack player in Las Vegas? They usually have a specific process they use to up their chances of winning big. First, they pick the right table. Then, they test the waters. They make small bets to see where the game is going. As they watch the cards and learn more about the game and address manager their opponents, they periodically increase their bets or they fold certain hands. It all happens fast, and they understand that they’ll lose a lot of hands in this "testing the waters" phase of play. But the information they gain during the process allows them to increase their bets and win big later on. Business growth is a lot like playing blackjack.
Unfortunately, most top-level CEOs don’t realize it. When it comes to growth, most managers, sadly, are like the little old ladies with the cups of quarters playing the slots, They just pull the handle and hope for the best. Sure, they may spend millions of dollars on consultants trying to create the right strategies, but in most cases the results are anemic. Strategies by themselves are not enough. What many CEOs and leaders think they know about growth is wrong.
GROWTH’S UNCERTAINTY
The first thing top-level leaders need to understand about growth is that the only certainty about growth is its uncertainty. Growth takes people into unchartered waters, and the processes used for daily operational excellence do not work. Likewise, the management mindset to eliminate variance and to strive for standardization is counterproductive to growth and innovation.
Venture capitalists (VCs) seem to be the most comfortable taking on the gambler mentality needed to grow successfully. They understand that the force at play here is uncertainty. They see themselves as managing portfolios of growth opportunities. They also know that their ability to predict at the early stages which of two ventures will succeed is poor. They do not attribute this to their personal failings; instead, they recognize that the inability to predict is a property of the uncertainty surrounding any new business.
Like professional gamblers, VCs develop a set of practices that acknowledge this reality. They bet heavily on the individual leader of a new business and look for people with experience; they try to keep their bets small and affordable until they have better data; and they develop approaches that help them get in and out of new ventures intelligently and swiftly. Their goal, in other words, is to succeed —or fail fast and cheap."
THE GROWTH GAMBLE
As you can see, new growth requires a different way of thinking and different processes than most managers use every day to run their daily business. Growth is a different game from operational excellence. To play the growth game well, one has to learn the rules of the game and use the proper tools. Hess points out a few important factors about the growth gamble to keep in mind:
Growth — particularly innovation — is a probability game. When large organizations pursue growth, their mindsets are often completely out of sync with the reality that guides professional gamblers and VCs. Chances are that these organizations expect ten out of ten projects not only to win, but to win big. They demand that their managers and employees produce growth, inadvertently thwart their attempts, and uphold a system in which pulling the plug on a failed growth opportunity is a career-threatening act. Would-be growth leaders in this environment are like professional gamblers who are unable to act independently but instead receive instructions from on high — from a source that has little information about what is happening this minute in this particular game. Not a formula likely to win in Vegas — or in business.
The reality is it takes on an order of magnitude about 1,000 growth ideas to produce 100 good growth experiments. And doing 100 growth experiments may produce 10 viable growth initiatives worth investing in. Growth is an iterative learning process characterized by detours, zigzags, and remakes.
Growth is a learning process. Good growth companies understand the realities of growth. Growth requires the right mindset — a learning mindset — and the right processes designed to make small bets, learn critical information quickly, and then assess next steps.
We call that process Learning Launches. Not only is the right learning mindset needed, but also the right attitude is needed individually and organizationally about failure. When you are exploring growth — when you are entering areas where you have not played before — by definition you will make mistakes and have failures. Remember, so long as you make small bets and use the right rigorous process in exploring growth, there is no real failure so long as you are learning.
Growth can be messy and inefficient. Most companies can’t stomach the uncertainty that comes with growth. It violates their dominant no-variance operational mindset. Well, guess what — growth and innovation are high-variance processes by their nature. If you do not accept that fact, then your growth initiatives will be limited to small incremental improvements, which at some point will not produce enough growth to keep your stakeholders happy.
Operational excellence strives for 99 percent defect-free performance. Contrast this to growth experimentation that can result in failure rates of 90 percent. In operational excellence environments, managers are rewarded for stamping out variance. Yet, in growth environments, variance is the norm.
STEPPING UP TO THE GROWTH GAMING TABLE
Pick the right table to play. Get in the game with a lot of small bets and learn. Upon learning, quickly decide whether to fold or double down on each hand. And if you fold, take that learning to the next hand. Having a growth mindset, using the right growth experimentation process, and having a culture that understands that managing growth and innovation initiatives is different from managing daily operational excellence are "table stakes" for playing the business growth and innovation game. HBM
Edward D. Hess is coauthor along with Jeanne Liedtka of the new book The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System, and Processes (Stanford University Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-8047847-7-1, $12.99, www.EDHLTD.com ), available at Amazon.com. The book helps readers understand how to create growth in today’s business environment, providing them a roadmap and a set of practical tools to navigate its challenges. Edward D. Hess is a professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia. He is the author of ten books, over 60 cases, and over 60 articles. His work has appeared in over 200 media outlets around the world including CNBC, Fox Business News, Dow Jones Radio, WSJ Radio, MSNBC Radio, NPR, Forbes, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, CFO magazine, Financial Executive, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Big Think, the Washington Post, and Financial Times. His book Smart Growth: Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-2311505-0-7, $27.95, www.EDHLTD.com ) was named a 2010 Top 25 Business Book for Business Owners by Inc. magazine.
 
Jeanne Liedtka is the United Technologies Corporation ("UTC") Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business and former strategy consultant at Boston Consulting Group and chief learning officer at UTC. She is the lead author of two recent books, The Catalyst: How You Can Become an Extraordinary Growth Leader (Racom Communications) and Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (Columbia University Press), and a leading expert on the use of design thinking tools to create growth strategies and opportunities.
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Friday, 3-Jan-2014 11:12 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Newforma And Axium Integrate Pim And Erp Software








Newforma and Axium Integrate PIM and ERP Software





We are delighted that these two essential vendors have joined forces to simplify our workflows and make our processes more efficient. Flowing jointly held information from Ajera to Newforma will reduce keystrokes for our customers, further reducing administrative work, Axium Chief Executive Officer Chris Heim said. We are specialists in project management and accounting software for the A/E industry and Newforma specializes in PIM software for the AECO industry. It makes sense that we partner together for the benefit of our mutual customers. Newforma Chief Executive Officer Ian Howell said, Successful project delivery requires reliable information, and one way to provide accurate information is to consult a single source of truth. Our customers have asked us to provide a more seamless experience with leading ERP systems such as Ajera, which provide a single source of truth for key information about projects, contacts, phases, and companies. Our partnership with Axium is a great example of how we are providing our customers with access to more reliable project information. About Axiuim Axium, a developer of ERP and business management software, provides business intelligence to more than 60,000 users in 1,900 architecture and engineering firms across the United States and Canada . Axium is one of Oregon Business Magazines Top 100 Companies to Work For and on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies. Axium has offices in Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana ; and New York City. For more information about Axium, visit http://www.axium.com , or phone +1 800-637-2727. About Newforma Newforma develops, sells and supports project information management ( PIM) software for architecture, engineering, and construction firms worldwide, and the owners they serve.









The integration of PIM and project management and accounting software will allow key information about projects, phases, contacts and companies in Axium Ajera to populate similar fields in Newforma Project Center . Joint customers who set up projects in Axium Ajera will no longer have to re-enter the information into Newforma Project Center because the available product integration will allow them to have that data flow seamlessly into Newforma Project Center. RMW architecture & interiors is a joint customer of Axium and Newforma. Chief Financial Officer Lisa Smith said, "Ajera has simplified project management at the same time that it has given us more accurate, reliable information on which to base decisions. Newforma PIM software has become equally mission-critical to project delivery. We are delighted that these two essential vendors have joined forces to simplify our workflows and make our processes more efficient." "Flowing jointly held information from Ajera to Newforma will reduce keystrokes for our customers, further reducing administrative work," Axium Chief Executive Officer Chris Heim said. "We are specialists in project management and accounting software for the A/E industry and Newforma specializes in PIM software for the AECO industry. It makes sense that we partner together for the benefit of our mutual customers." Newforma Chief Executive Officer Ian Howell said, "Successful project delivery requires reliable information, and one way to provide accurate information is to consult a single source of truth. Our customers have asked us to provide a more seamless experience with leading ERP systems such as Ajera, which provide a single source of truth for key information about projects, contacts, phases, and companies. Our partnership with Axium is a great example of how we are providing our customers with access to more reliable project information." About Axiuim Axium, a developer of ERP and business management software, provides business intelligence to more than 60,000 users in 1,900 architecture and engineering firms across the United States and Canada. Axium is one of Oregon Business Magazine's Top 100 Companies to Work For and on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies. Axium has offices in Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and New York City. For more information about Axium, visit www.axium.com , or phone +1 800-637-2727. About Newforma Newforma develops, sells and supports project information management ( PIM ) software for architecture, engineering, and construction firms worldwide, and the owners they serve.



Thursday, 2-Jan-2014 08:53 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Video: Low-overhead Ways To Grow Your Home-based Business


Video: Low-Overhead Ways to Grow Your Home-Based Business
Submitted by editor on Sat, 04/30/2011 - 13:13
You have more options than ever to grow your business without jeopardizing the bottom line with overhead costs. But like any business, there are wise measures to take go!! in pacing the growth. From www.howcast.com
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Thursday, 2-Jan-2014 04:48 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Next Generation Of Contact Management Software












Head: I may be a little biased in this regard, but I think that Microsoft will have to make some fundamental changes to develop the level of trust that is required for people to track, share, and leverage social network information in a Microsoft-hosted world. In fact, even centralized public directory services such as Plaxo might not be able to meet every users' needs because of concerns with privacy and inconvenience. These services might be useful for the user -- but are not so useful for the recipient of the "update your contact information" request. As the centralized nature of some of these become known, people will be even more reluctant to send their contact data off across the Internet. FC : But a lot of people already have. How can people better manage the rolling flow of commitments that our contact management software, our to-do list, and our email clients all generate? Head: The majority of salespeople and businesspeople are still fighting the first phase of this battle: just tracking all of their follow-up and project commitments in a address book software reliable system. Contact managers provide the tools, but the habit of tracking all commitments and managing them effectively can be different for each person. People should start with the principle that you will meet all of your commitments -- and then make sure you have put aside the time to manage these activities. It is illogical and inconvenient that all of the thousands of people in your personal network have a separate, and often contradictory copy of your cell-phone number, email address, and so on. You were the original source of that data, and ideally, you should be able to update everyone automatically.





What is Business Contact Manager for Outlook?





Microsoft Outlook 2013 with Business Contact Manager is a great customer relationship management (CRM) tool for small business owners because they can use it to help them improve the effectiveness of their customer service, sales, and marketing efforts. Business Contact Manager for Outlook is an add-on to Outlook, so small business owners can use Outlook 2013 to store personal information and manage their calendars, while using Business Contact Manager for Outlook to help them run their businesses. Business Contact Manager for Outlook is optimized for Microsoft Outlook 2013, but will also work with Microsoft Outlook 2010. Get started using Business Contact Manager for Outlook For information about how to get started using Business Contact Manager by creating individual records, or importing business data or Outlook contacts, see Get your business records into Business Contact Manager . How small business owners can use Business Contact Manager for Outlook to help run their businesses In this latest version, you can:



Thursday, 2-Jan-2014 02:04 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Flirting With The Uninterested: Innovating In A Sold, Not Bought



Flirting With the Uninterested: Innovating in external link a Sold, Not Bought Category
Submitted by editor on Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:52
By Maria Ferrante-Schepis and G. Michael Maddock
Do you sense that the insurance industry is headed for an upheaval? Do you suspect that there is some brilliant, forward-thinking entrepreneur in a garage somewhere about to reinvent the game?
Do you find it hard to make your case for leading change, while everyone else is still talking the same way, doing the same things, and getting the same results?
More important, when you raise the issue, do those around you look at you like you are crazy? Do they tell you that this category is different because the product is “sold, not bought”?
You are not crazy. The industry IS ripe for reinvention, and the sold, not bought paradigm is ready for a shift.
The question is, how can YOU lead the shift versus having someone outside the industry do it, AND have the organizational support you need along the way? Flirting With the Uninterested: Innovating in a "Sold, Not Bought" Category is a book that can help leaders like you begin the journey to innovating in a “sold, not bought” category. Available at www.amazon.com . HBM
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