Strategy

What Airport Noise Complaints Teach Us About Time Management

As a consultant, I spend so much time on planes that the noise of a jet engine is a soothing lullaby. But for the people who live near the airport, those same noises can keep them awake at night. Most airports have noise abatement programs in place to balance the needs of community members with the economic benefits a community gets from traveling business people and leisure travelers. Recently, two economists at George Mason University, [...]

By | October 25th, 2016|Leadership, Strategy|

My Three Favorite Books For Professionals (Or Anyone)

If I were to create a book group for professionals at any level, whether you're just starting out or you're leading a firm, I wouldn't use books written about management or leadership, or books written for their respective industries.  Instead, I'd pick the three general non-fiction books here, on which I've built a large part of my practice. The Upside of Down by Megan McArdle At some point in our careers, we all have to [...]

By | September 13th, 2016|Leadership, Strategy|

Your Industry Is Dying, The Solution is Reinvention

The typewriter industry died when it was supplanted by the personal computer. But the typewriter company that realized they were actually experts in selling business machines is now a multi-billion dollar global behemoth. The internet and e-mail destroyed the market for postage meters, but Pitney Bowes is still around because the internet also created new commercial opportunities for an expert in tracking and moving physical goods. It's been decades since telegrams were meaningful, but Western [...]

By | August 30th, 2016|Careers, Strategy|

Do Professional Services Firms Have Legacy Costs?

When we talk about legacy costs, we usually think about aging capital-intensive industries. Car manufacturers have legacy platforms, facilities, processes, or healthcare costs. Airlines have legacy contracts, aging aircraft, or route networks. We assume that professional services firms can't have legacy costs: there's no fixed capital, and the people involved are smart, dynamic thinkers. But as I look around, nearly every firm I've worked with, from scrappy start-ups to large multi-nationals, has some sort of [...]

By | August 11th, 2016|Strategy|

Gretzky vs. Bezos: Responding to Change With Resilience and Adaptability

Whenever I have a conversation about strategy, it's one of the most common quotes that comes up.  Firm leaders want to be like Wayne Gretzky and "Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been."  But in business, there isn't just one puck, and rather than following a straight trajectory, it's bouncing around in a thousand directions at all at once.  We now live in a world where change is constant and [...]

By | July 25th, 2016|Strategy|