11 02, 2019

Rhythms – Can you feel them?

2019-02-11T08:58:56+00:00By |Strategy|

When business leaders slow down and sense where they are, they can decide whether to advance, stay put or withdraw. If a business regularly senses how favorable and attractive conditions are becoming, decisions about future strategy and actions are much easier and usually more accurate. Encyclopedia Britannica is a classic example of a legacy business that lost touch with its marketplace. A thirty-two-volume set sold for $1500, at a time when rivals were selling the same information on CD-ROM for $200. Today Wikipedia offers one-hundred times more information for free. There is a rhythm a business needs to have to survive and thrive. This is a regular pattern of sensing the changing conditions that our business needs to act upon.  Yesterday, Ari, a 16-year-old friend of my son, asked if he could drive us, as he was learning. I said yes and Ari put his learner plates on the car. Ari was a confident driver and kept a safe distance from the traffic in front and beside us. I complemented Ari on his safe driving and he seemed pleased. After driving for a while on a long stretch of road, I asked Ari to tell me without looking in his [...]

28 01, 2019

The Second Wave

2019-01-28T12:47:21+00:00By |Results, Strategy|

My friend Mario and I used to drive for hours out west in Australia. We would visit and advise local communities on strategy and risk. At sunset, thousands of kangaroos (roos) would be on the move. At sunset, we moved at a steady watchful pace to avoid a collision. The less common and more dangerous animals were emus. When we saw an emu, we literally stopped our car until we spied the second one. These ostrich-like birds traveled in pairs often roaming around 150m apart. If an emu raced across the road in front of us, there was a good chance, out of nowhere the second emu would come speeding past the front of our car to be with its mate.  With each new wave of technology, there is a second and far more significant wave that follows. People often overestimate the initial impact of technology but underestimate its impact in the long run. Mario and I were very cautious of the emus we could see. In the long run, we knew it would be the emu we couldn’t see that would have the greatest impact.  From 2014 to 2017 there was a lot of talk about self-driving cars. Many [...]

14 01, 2019

The Search for Contrast

2019-01-14T10:30:35+00:00By |Strategy|

Thirty years ago, when I trained as a school teacher, one of the skills I mastered and applied to enhance student learning was that of stimulus variation. Stimulus variation reveals the importance of contrast. I found that teacher mobility, pausing, storytelling, hypothesis testing, changing classrooms, the use of gestures and unstructured student interactions, all helpful. I still use contrasting methods today with audiences as a keynote speaker. Our brains are quite fixed (preferring to see reality as we are, not as it is) and lazy. Our brains are also efficient and are great at taking shortcuts. A little stimulus variation is good, too much is counterproductive.  In the 1870s, life for Thomas Edison had become counterproductive. While still in his thirties, Edison’s inventions had brought him great wealth and even greater notoriety. The constant stimulus of outside ideas and stream of ‘would be’ inventors overwhelmed him. He needed to use time differently and he needed a different space. Edison moved from his New York City Lab to the quiet and secluded New Jersey countryside at Menlo Park. A location that offered him a different time and a different space, with a short train ride to New York, when he needed [...]