Strategic Management for Competitive Advantage

cwaFor the better part of a decade, strategy has been a business buzzword. Top executives ponder strategic objectives and missions. Managers down the line rough out product/market strategies. Functional chiefs lay out “strategies” for everything from R&D to raw-materials sourcing and distributor relations. Mere planning has lost its glamor; the planners have all turned into strategists.

All this may have blurred the concept of strategy, but it has also helped to shift the attention of managers from the technicalities of the planning process to substantive issues affecting the long-term well-being of their enterprises. Signs that a real change has been taking place in business’s planning focus have been visible for some time in the performance of some large, complex multinational corporations—General Electric, Northern Telecom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Siemens A.G., to name four.

Instead of behaving like large unwieldy bureaucracies, they have been nimbly leap-frogging smaller competitors with technical or market innovations, in true entrepreneurial style. They have been executing what appear to be well thought-out business strategies coherently, consistently, and often with surprising speed. Repeatedly, they have been winning market shares away from more traditionally managed competitors.


Why Team Building Is The Most Important Investment You’ll Make

Team building has a bad rap. In most companies when a supervisor says, “We’re going to do some teamqt building!” employees start re-running old episodes of The Office. It’s one thing to see it on TV, but getting a real-life taste of your manager mimicking Steve Carell’s insanely-awkward-try-hard leadership style just isn’t as funny.

Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.

At O2E Brands, we’ve earned a spot as one of the country’s best places to work and team building is a big part of that. Here are the ground rules that apply when it comes to planning activities for your people.

Don’t force the corporate stuff

The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office.


No Science Is Not Faith Based

Even the most well-learned scientist, working within the frameworks of the most robustly tested and verified bqtheories, can never be certain that the next experiment or measurement will continue to provide the results that we expect. Last month, when the LIGO collaboration announced the direct detection of gravitational waves for the first time, it confirmed a new aspect of Einstein’s general relativity: one that had been predicted and whose consequences had been seen indirectly — through the decay of neutron star orbits — but one that we couldn’t be sure about until we validated it directly. But writing in the Wall Street Journal, Matt Emerson makes the erroneous claim that science is faith-based, too. Here’s the crux of his argument, followed by why it falls apart.

He quotes physicist Carlo Rovelli, who wrote that the discovery of gravitational waves was the realization of a “dream based on faith in reason: that the logical deductions of Einstein and his mathematics would be reliable.” He quotes Paul Davies, who wrote, “Just because the sun has risen every day of your life, there is no guarantee that it will therefore rise tomorrow. The belief that it will—that


Why need an expert advice to select investment plans.

No business can flourish without adequate investments. The market abounds in various corporate houses. In order to remain competitive in the market and maintain an edge of others, the basic ingredient is to have a robust infrastructure and proper marketing strategy. But to achieve all these goals, investment is required at every level business operation. Thus right from starting a business to its expansion, the entrepreneur must have the desired amount of fund to serve all these purposes.

Often it has been observed that all business houses, irrespective of size and type of business, have to go through both good and bad times. Sometimes it may so happen that an ambitious product launched by any brand does not get the expected response. Thus in such cases, the company has to incur huge loses. If investment plans are correctly implemented by any business entity, then they can provide the required support to the business house in such crisis period. Thus choosing the correct investment plans is very essential. In this regard, a good investment firm will help an entrepreneur to select his or her investment plans so that they can withstand any financial crisis situation. It will also help them to take

The right approach to time management

How good you perform in life and at work depends a lot on your ability to manage time. Time management is not only about accomplishing tasks on time but it has much deeper connotations because tasks and activities have to be completed in a manner that does not conflict with each other. The activities should complement each other so that multiple tasks can be performed with a specified time frame. In plain words, time management enhances your ability to become an accomplished performer that gives you confidence in bettering your performance and productivity.

Understanding time management

It would be a mistake to think that by only making a sequential list of tasks to be performed within specific timelines it is enough to help you in time management. This has been highlighted by Marty Hale, the noted Management Consultant in the U.S.A. with more than two decades of Executive Management experience in Direct Sales and Network Marketing besides IT systems Integration and Internet Service Provider. The objective is not about completing tasks on time but to make better use of time. This adds a new dimension to list making when the nature of the tasks and your personality traits have to be

Fitness Tips For Drivers For A Long Road Journey

Travelling for long is not an easy task and it can be more tiresome if you have to spend all your time on the road and transferring the materials from one place to the other. It happens in the case of the truck drivers who have to travel miles transporting the cargo of the companies from one state to another. These drivers need to stay physically and mentally fit so Petroleum Wholesale LP gives some suggestions and it will prove fruitful for them.

Ways of keeping oneself healthy

As it can be seen that driving for long is not an easy task and most of your time is spent seating on the driver’s seat. Even the drives cannot stop for long distances because of the shortage of relaxation points at the fuel stations, no good pitstops or any massage centers present in that place. So, the drivers can stay at Petroleum Wholesale LP which provides entertainment, food and relaxation under one roof only. They have given many professional points for keeping the lifestyle of the drivers healthy which they can follow.

Intake of water and fluids

The health problem which drivers can face during long road travel is of dehydration which can create

Hospitality Management Training- A Career for the Youth.

The part of the service industry that brings in money and generates more jobs than any other profession can be broadly defined as hospitality management. It usually involves management of profitmaking establishments like hotels, restaurants, spas, cruise ships and resorts. Individuals face no problem in acquiring an administrative position in this expanding field if they earn a degree in hospitality management.

One cannot deny after looking at the present scenario the fact that the hospitality and hotel industry is very wide and varied and commonly include a group of businesses encompassing resorts, hotels and restaurants. Managing these hotel industries is not a calm job and largely requires great efforts and skills. An individual managing any luxurious hotel or restaurant or any other service sector must have proper potential and knowledge to administer every day to day task effectually. These days many colleges and universities in United States are offering hospitality management programs to meet these upcoming challenges.

In Singapore, Patrick Imbardelli In his role as Chief Executive and President of PPHG or Pan Pacific Hotels Group, has brought effective and new management policies to his firm. At the rudder of an expansive network of resorts and hotels across the Asia-Pacific Region

Features Forex trading Monday

Despite the fact that the currency market is open around the clock with a break for the weekend, the dynamics of quotations of many couples is significantly different on weekdays. I’ll tell you about the forex trading on Monday, because it is the day of greatest interest among traders, rested after the weekend.

The paradox, but the fact is – Forex trading on Monday, is one of the most peaceful (and for aggressive scalpers even boring) days, the only thing that can disturb the tranquility – this weekend GEO. To find out what the gap look forex trading guide.

And since we are talking about gaps, there would like to warn the newcomers on the application of strategies aimed at closing it. I am skeptical about such techniques for several reasons:

  1. This tactic was copied from the stock market, where the price is formed on a completely different principle, at least for the reason that the algorithms of major market makers and market operators differ from the strategies of major banks on FOREX.
  2. On the Stock Exchange GEO often closed, as it is formed in the course of trading on the so-called low liquidity “Market”.
  3. And the last is the most important point –

5 Business Strategies You Need to Know About in 2015

As a business owner, you’ve probably noticed many of the core business ideas and strategies stay the same year after year. However, throughout the last couple of years technology and a surplus of information has changed the landscape for businesses. We can now reach our audience in essentially every corner of the world, anytime we want. And, we not only have the resources to connect with our audience, we also have the means to create personalized content for them.

Because of how quickly technology and information spreads it’s more important than ever to make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest business strategies, like the following five business strategies…

1. Think Mobile First

In 2014, research showed that smartphones and tablets made up 60% of total digital media time spent – which was up 50% from 2013. This upcoming year we can expect mobile usage to continue to increase. Between tablets making a surprise comeback and smartphones decreasing in price, it’s anticipated that there will be around 2.97 billion mobile internet users, approximately of all 91% internet users, by 2017.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you need to fix that immediately – remember, over half of your online visitors are doing so on a mobile device. Going forward, you

The Evolution Of Strategy

When we think of great strategists in history, from Sun Tzu to Alexander the Great to Napoleon to Patton, we think of master chess players, leaders who personify timeless principles and can think two or three moves ahead.

Strategy is the sexy part of business, where boring Word documents and endless Excel spreadsheets give way to glorious PowerPoint decks.  Here drudgery ends and corporate generals can sit back and formulate their plans for world domination.

For better or worse, those days are over.  As Rita Gunther McGrath explains in her new book, The End of Competitive Advantage, strategy is now a game that looks more like World of Warcraft then the game of kings.  You never actually win, but are always questing, gaining new skills and resources along the way and continually seeking the next challenge.

The Last Thing We Need Now Is A Vision

Many strategies start with a vision.  For instance, Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines had a vision that air travel could compete on price with ground travel. Therefore his main objective was to become “THE low cost airline” and decisions were undertaken based on that one overriding principle.

However, sometimes a clear vision can blind management to

Why Distinctive Customer Targeting Is a Smart Strategy

When former NBA superstar Magic Johnson was opening Starbucks coffee shops and a TGI Fridays restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1990s, he made changes to the product offerings. “I had to take the scones out of my Starbucks and put [in] sweet potato pie, pound cake, sock-it-to-me cake, peach cobbler,” he told attendees of the October 2015 Stanford University Graduate School of Business “View from the Top” speaker series. “I was the first Fridays in the nation to ever serve Dom Pérignon, Cristal, and all the high-end liquors…. That’s what my customer base wanted.”

Here’s what Andy Jassy, founder and current leader of Amazon Web Services (the Amazon business that rents out computing power and data storage), told the Financial Times about how he built that business: “We were targeting developers and startups who were not very well-served at the time [2003].” He went on to explain that he designed AWS to be pay-as-you-go because his target customer could not afford an expensive monthly subscription, which was then the standard model.

These examples both illustrate an aspect of smart strategy that companies often overlook: choosing a unique definition of their target customer to gain a

Safety in the Cloud

or most businesspeople, the word cybersecurity suggests a shield. When people think about protecting their enterprise from intrusion with information technology, they typically think of the much-publicized breaches of the past few years: those at Target, Sony, JPMorgan Chase, Goodwill Industries, Snapchat, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and a wide range of other organizations. It’s understandable that most companies take a defensive posture with respect to digital security. They know there are hackers from around the world probing corporate networks continuously, looking to steal data of value — information about customers, personnel, finances, proprietary research, trade secrets, and other critical assets — and to compromise their technology in other malicious ways.

But imagine a different kind of cybersecurity, one that no longer depends strictly on the IT department’s engagement in a desperate, never-ending arms race with intruders. Instead, it would use cybersecurity as a way to better understand its business environment. It would defend itself by monitoring activity across all its online systems, studying not just the moves of hackers but the actions of legitimate customers as well. Both types of visits, after all, are forms of repetitive human behavior, opposite sides of the same coin.

This approach would use technology

The 5 Strategy Rules of Bill Gates Andy Grove and Steve Jobs

If there were a Mount Rushmore for technological innovation, Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs would be the faces looking outward. The longtime CEOs of Microsoft, Intel, and Apple have done more than anyone to popularize the modern-day personal computer, and in doing so, also created three of the most highly valued companies in the world.

But how were they able to steer their companies through the volatile ups and downs of decades of changing technologies? What did they have in common? And what can we learn from them about successful strategy?

“The notion that you could brand a product that no one had ever seen and that no one understood what it did was brilliant”

Those are the questions David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano address in their new book, Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs. “I have known all three of these individuals,” says Yoffie, the Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School. “By looking at what they had in common, I thought there was a great opportunity to understand what distinguishes a really great strategist from your average CEO.”

Raising Your Digital IQ

Like most other executives today, Thomas Okke Frahm thinks about how his organization can better exploit digital technology. But the biggest challenge he’s pondering at the moment doesn’t involve engaging customers through mobile devices, migrating applications to the cloud, or even beefing up cybersecurity. He’s thinking about cheese.

Frahm is the vice president of global IT management at Chr. Hansen, an €859 million (US$940 million) multinational bioscience company based in Denmark. It produces natural food ingredients, microbiological cultures, and probiotics, mostly for consumer packaged goods companies such as food manufacturers. Now, Chr. Hansen is exploring the ways that sensors can help clients perfect their processes for making cheese, yogurt, and other foods that rely on cultures and enzymes. These foods are consumed by hundreds of millions of people daily.

Chr. Hansen (pronounced “Christian Hansen,” after the full name of its founder) has been operating continuously since 1874. One of the world’s oldest companies, with a heritage of consistent innovation, it is now being challenged by digital technology to leap ahead of its old ways of doing business. In the cheese-making project that Frahm oversees, sensors capture data about the pace and quality of bacteria development, thus improving production

When Hosts Attack The Competitive Threat of Online Platforms

In the online marketplace, oodles of retailers and developers rely on “platforms” such as, the Apple App Store, Facebook, and Twitter to get their products and services into the hands of users. Retailers, for example, sell items on Amazon to extend their reach to more potential buyers; application developers turn to the App Store for digital distribution. The platform providers are their selling partners, scraping off a little bit for themselves on each sale.

It’s a great arrangement for small businesses—until their hosts decide to start competing with them.

“Millions of businesses are building their services around these platforms,” said Harvard Business School assistant professor Feng Zhu, during a presentation at Future Assembly, an event at Harvard Business School where business leaders and academics discussed the challenges of operating in a digitally-transformed economy. “A platform owner may imitate them and enter their markets by offering similar products,” Zhu explained.

“Before you build your business model around platforms, you need to think about how to minimize the risk from these platforms”

History has documented many such skirmishes. Netscape, designed to run on Microsoft’s Windows platform, was the dominant web browser in the 1990s until squashed by

The ‘Mother of Fair Trade’ was an Unabashed Price Protectionist

As Harvard Business School professor Laura Phillips Sawyer sifted through historical documents to trace the history of competition policy in the United States, an interesting figure emerged: Edna Gleason, who became known as the “mother of fair trade” in the late 1920s.

Gleason, a widow, was a California pharmacist and drugstore owner who balked at the price-slashing practices of chain store competitors and spearheaded a local price-control movement to protect her own bottom line—a crusade that would ultimately gain such widespread support, it would alter both state and national antitrust policy.

“You have to acknowledge that [Gleason] was trying to fix prices. This is antithetical to how most Americans think of the US market operating”

“I thought, who is this plucky woman amongst men?” Sawyer recalls after seeing Gleason’s name and image pop up repeatedly in trade association publications and meeting minutes of pharmacist groups. “She was known as Mrs. Thomas Gleason until about 1934, when she begins to get introduced by her first name. In the story of California ‘fair trade’ I found this exceptional state jurisdiction for antitrust law and also this exceptional woman, who was a fascinating character to animate sometimes dry legalese.”

Bigbelly’s Big Bet on the Digital Trash Can

Bigbelly wants to transform its solar-powered trash cans into digital hubs offering Wi-Fi access, advertising, and data-collecting sensors. (Oh, and garbage receptacles, too.) A new case study by Mitchell Weiss explores the challenges of a bold strategy pivot.

Q: When is a trash can not a trash can?

A: When it’s a Wi-Fi hotspot, air-purity monitor, and advertising billboard—all in one.

Bigbelly solar-powered trash cans have been street corner fixtures in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and other cities around the world for the past decade—providing a self-compacting solution to keep streets clean. Last year, however, the Massachusetts-based company’s CEO shared plans to change its business model from selling a product—waste and recycling stations—to selling a subscription-based service that could include Wi-Fi access, sensors, and digital advertising.

“Government is a giant customer. They buy a lot of stuff”

Harvard Business School professor Mitchell Weiss explores this strategy pivot in a new case on Bigbelly, co-written with case researcher Christine Snively, that looks at the implications for technology companies entering the “smart cities” field.

“I wanted to explore the opportunities and challenges of selling to government in a company that is moving from

Where Product Market Fit Breaks Down

A tweet from GrowthHackers caught my eye recently — “Our #product market fit and NPS are off the scale, but we’re struggling to grow. Any ideas why?”

Like most tools in a well-stocked tool chest, a specific tool is only good for a specific problem or use.  Product/market fit is no different. It’s not a panacea for getting products right, where “right” is defined as commercially viable and successful. The product is only one piece of the puzzle, and many entrepreneurs are surprised by how many other pieces impact their products’ market success.

So let’s run down the potential causes for the “why are we struggling” question posted on GrowthHackers:

1. You have happy ears – You don’t actually have a good product/market fit. It’s one of the many frustrating realities of product marketing, but what customers say they want, and what they actually want or will accept aren’t always the same.  Many, many consumer products, from cars to movies, have been launched following extensive consumer testing, and flopped badly.  Getting product/market fit right is part research, and part really knowing your customers and the problem you’re addressing.  And being a very, very active listener,

Why Essentialism Is The Key To Avoiding Decision Fatigue

Whether you’re running your own business or managing a team, it’s easy to fall victim to decision fatigue. Leaders face so many stressors and decision points throughout the day that at some point the quality of the decisions being made begins to deteriorate rapidly. There is a common but false belief held by many in the entrepreneurial community that strength of will is the key to avoiding the impact of decision fatigue. Strong leaders, it is believed, can simply muscle through fatigue and continue making good decisions. I would argue that this belief couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I’ve struggled with decision fatigue at many points throughout my career, but its impact on my life has been felt more acutely as of late. Leading a company in hyper-growth mode, raising capital, and balancing the demands of private life have taken their toll. Rather than descend into a stress spiral or pretend that I can simply muscle through things, I decided to look deeper into the problem and find a solution. That solution, it turns out, is a concept known as essentialism.

There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers

One of my favorite quotes comes from President Ronald Reagan, who

What Every Successful Woman Entrepreneur Should Know Advice From Five Unstoppable Women

By Lisa Morales-Hellebo, Deepti Sharma Kapur, Chantal “Taly” Russell, Jalak Jobanputra, and Andrea Jung

The Center for an Urban Future recently released “Breaking Through: Harnessing the Economic Potential of Women Entrepreneurs”—a new report exploring the economic impact women founders have today. The report was made possible through Capital One’s Future Edge initiative, a $150-million, five-year effort to help more American workers and entrepreneurs succeed in the twenty-first century economy.

Through Future Edge, Capital One works with hundreds of leading community and nonprofit organizations in NYC and beyond, including microfinance and microlending organizations empowering women entrepreneurs such as Accion, Kiva, and Grameen America.

As illuminated in the research, women of all ages, races, and ethnicities are creating jobs, bolstering economies, strengthening families and communities, and providing creative solutions to twenty-first century problems. Fueled by advances in technology and lowered barriers to entry, women throughout the nation are starting and growing new businesses at a remarkable clip—flooding into every industry from construction and manufacturing to healthcare and information.

In an effort to inspire and empower more women across the country, below five successful women entrepreneurs share the unique tips that helped them get ahead.

Lisa Morales-Hellebo—Executive

Does Your Office Need To Ditch The PingPong Table

Tech startups have become famous for their “cool” office spaces replete with “adult toys” like climbing walls, razor scooters and ping-pong tables. But how can companies strike the right balance between creating a fun, collaborative office space and one that is too lax and distracts employees from being productive? While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some sensible guidelines from leading office designers and workplace experts:

  1. The Key Is “Balance”

“Ping pong tables, nap nooks, and other flashy office design features symbolize how creativity has taken center stage over rigid traditional management practices. Employers value ideas and are eager to design spaces that not only attract creative thinkers, but also stimulate them enough to ignite innovation. This leads to better products, services and processes, which gives the company a competitive advantage,” explains Steve Delfino, vice president of corporate marketing and product management at Teknion, an office systems furniture company that specializes in workplace wellness.

He continues, “Regardless of which industry we work in, we all operate in a variety of modes throughout the day — we create, converse, analyze and share — all activities that require different settings to be successful. The