Professor, Consultant, Doer. Founder/Publisher of The IDEA Publishing (http://www.theideapublishing.com/) & Modern Business Press (http://www.modernbusinesspress.com)
The Challenges and Opportunities of Virtual Selling
Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed so many aspects of the way we not only do business, but the way we carry out our daily lives. Study after study shows that working from home (WFH) will continue to be a part of many, if not most, of our work lives. There are a multitude of factors involved as to why WFH “works” for people - saving time and money, better balancing work and family needs, being just as productive at home as in the office, etc. While there are certainly drawbacks to having one’s home also be the place where one does business - including blurring the boundaries between work duties and family duties and the sometimes serious mental health concerns due to the isolation involved with working remotely, on balance, both workers and companies are fast coming to the realization that the benefits of WFH outweigh the costs. And companies see that while they have serious concerns in trying to coordinate and collaborate remote workers effectively, they also see that with WFH, they have both the ability to save a great deal on office costs (since they don’t need nearly the office space that they did prior to the pandemic) and the newfound capability to attract - and retain - the “best” workers to meet their needs, regardless of where they are located. Thus, working from home - and the cultural changes, both in terms of organizational cultures and the culture at large - appear to be here to stay long after the coronavirus has faded away (or at least when it will - hopefully - become an endemic, rather than a pandemic!).
Defeating the “Don’t Look Up” Mentality in the Corporate World
The movie of this holiday season didn’t turn out to be yet another reboot of The Matrix or one more Spiderman sequel. It didn’t turn out to be the next Disney animated musical made for young and old alike. No, the film that generated the most buzz wasn’t even a movie that you had to go to a movie theater to see (and yes, your local multiplex may well be on its way to extinction quite soon because of a whole host of factors!). Instead, the movie that has everyone watching and many folks talking about it on social media is a cheery flick, “Don’t Look Up!” It has all the ingredients for what we used to term “box office success” - a fantastic team behind it (led by director and writer Adam McKay, who has given us “The Big Short” and a whole host of other films in recent years), a star-studded cast (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, Mark Rylance, Ariana Grande and more) to rival those old “buddy movies” of the 1970’s and 80’s, and yes, an uplifting, “feel good” plot - where the entire planet’s population is wiped out!
Is Management (and Management Education) Dying?
A few weeks back, I had a friend post an article on my Facebook timeline. Now, he’s the kind of distant (in miles) friend who gives me a good amount of kidding online, and he had read an article that he thought basically meant the end of what I do for a living. See, my “main job” is as a management professor in a college of business, and he had just read an article, the thesis of which was this: America's got waaaaaaaaay too many managers today! And if we, as a country, already have too many people in managerial roles, then being in the “business” of producing more managers is baaaaaaad business! Michael basically was saying, “Goodnight to your career!” - in that serious, but sarcastic and almost loving way that guy friends do, both in real life and virtually. But yes, he had basically read this article and thought, “Hey, he’ll be having to decide between driving a truck and being a Walmart greeter in a few years, as there simply won’t be a need for him to be educating and developing young people to be managers anymore quite soon!”
Leadership Under the Gun: What the Alec Baldwin Situation Teaches Us About What It Really Means to Be a Leader
Alec Baldwin. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (without WiFi) for the past few weeks, you certainly know the story. On October 21st, the actor was filming a scene in New Mexico for a Western movie. “Rust," that he was not only starring in, but producing as well. He was practicing a scene inside a rustic church, holding a gun that had been checked for safety by the independent film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Somehow, the gun discharged a live bullet - a bullet that was not supposed to even be on the movie set. The bullet struck and killed acclaimed cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza.
The Great Christmas Tree Debate: Is a Real or an Artificial Tree Better for the Environment?
Introduction America today is a country divided. There is the great political divide of our times between the “Red Team” and the “Blue Team.” There are the “vaccinated” and the “unvaccinated” when it comes to COVID. There are those who intensely follow sports, celebrities, crypto...whatever, and those who feel that such pursuits are a waste of time. And more and more, our positions are hardening on seemingly everything, where we see fellow travelers as being with us and those who see things in an opposite, or even neutral way, as being against us.
Inflation is Everywhere, But Should We Be Surprised?
Overview Inflation. You can't turn on the TV without hearing about it. You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing it. You can’t have a conversation with family, friends, or colleagues without the subject coming up. Today, there seems to be no bigger story or pressing concern - well, except for that pesky COVID virus that just won’t seem to go away - than inflation. Seemingly everywhere we turn today, from buying food for our families...
The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing
Overview Recent research has shown an almost complete disconnect between what marketing execs think “works” and what really works to actually make consumers buy their products or services. Despite all the emphasis on new media and new ways of marketing, satisfied, talkative customers are still your best promotional tool today! Here’s why - and how - to start putting the power of word of mouth marketing to work for your company today.
Why Retailers Are Smart in Camouflaging Today's Supply Chain Crisis
Introduction Nothing in the retail environment is random. When it comes to big box stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc., major chains arrange their stores in very purposeful ways. The goal, of course, is simple: To have you buy more! Decades of solid research into consumer behavior informs how most retailers - outside of your small “Mom and Pop” stores and boutiques - are laid out. Major retailers spend many millions of dollars annually to better understand how shoppers shop, and they use that knowledge to organize their stores in an optimal fashion. The overarching goal of all of this work in merchandising is not to make your shopping trip faster and easier. Rather, what they want you to do is spend more time in their stores, as the longer you linger, the more you will spend! And specifically, they want to focus your attention on certain items, which naturally have the fastest turnover, and quite often, the highest profit margins! All of this is very deliberate, very strategic...and it works!
Why Investing in Training and Development Still Makes Sense in the Age of “The Great Resignation”
Wow! It is one tough time to be in charge of people in any organization today! Each and every day on your drive into work, one cannot help but see the signs of the times, as they are everywhere! Seemingly every business, small and large alike, not only has a simple “Help Wanted” sign out front. Today, those signs seem to be trying to “one up” one another, as all of these firms - from fast food restaurants to retailers to warehouses and distribution centers to manufacturers and every category of business in between - are engaged in a desperate struggle to attract new workers. Companies are touting starting pay of $10…$12…$15…$20 an hour for jobs that just a year or so ago paid nothing close to those levels. Firms are adding incentives beyond higher hourly pay, throwing in signing bonuses in the hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars! They are advertising that they will give new hires vacations, tuition reimbursement, and more!
Patagonia’s Big Advertising Fail in the Snow
Overview If you are at all involved in marketing anything, then you’ve been there. Whether you are marketing a product, a service, a hospital, a political candidate, or a university, you’ve been there. We’ve all been in a conference room with a group of people with a task of, well, creating something. Whether that be a branding message, a new packaging, a new logo, or an advertisement for any media, we’ve all been in “the room where it happens.” Sometimes, the ideas flow. Creative people are “on their game,” and the results can simply be magic. The “right” mix of creative talent assembled for such a purpose can create a successful marketing vehicle that can, in many cases, not just help the company for a month or for a season, but in the case of branding and logos, pay dividends for decades! The “best” advertisements - for the Web, for print, for audio, for TV, etc. - come from just such creative processes. Those ads do not just become memorable in the ad business and win industry awards. More importantly, they drive sales and help build a company’s brand image, recognition, and trust in the minds of consumers.
The Learning Curve at Work: Solar Energy Has Reached the "Tipping Point" for Wider Application Simply Because It is a Smart, Economic Choice Today
Overview As a strategic management professor and consultant, I have had the opportunity to be in “the room where it happens” on many occasions. Through the years, I have been in the conference rooms and board meetings where corporate leaders have worked through complex issues to make decisions that were far from routine. And on a few occasions, I can safely say that I have been a part of “make or break”-level decisions, strategic choices that could well determine the future of the company and all of the people that depend on it for their livelihoods.