Bob's Leadership Blog

Bob regularly writes blog posts and articles with his areas of focus being business leadership, organizational effectiveness, and U.S. competitiveness. Below you will find his most recent efforts. To read these, please click on the following links.

Volkswagen – Fear Leads to Stupidity

Smart people are capable of doing some very dumb things! Volkswagen is the latest example.
For the past decade, automobile manufacturers have been hustling to satisfy increasingly tough emission standards set by various countries. California has been setting the pace over the years with the U.S. EPA not been far behind. Through new technologies related to catalytic converters and computer controlled fuel mixtures, the automobile manufacturers have generally been able to meet these new regulations, except for diesel engines where the technical challenges have been huge.

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The Secret to Leaving a Bad Impression: Arrogance!

Costco, the warehouse retailer, has been fabulously successful over the years. For perspective, its stock price has gone from $48 in 2005 to $155 today. An integral part of that success has been its phenomenal focus on cost reduction and efficiency. The business world knows well the stories of Costco’s efficiency. An example is the company’s headquarters in Issaquah, WA; a plain, three-story building with internal decorations like Van Gough reproductions purchased from

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Is Dell Ignoring the Future?

The technology world was surprised on two fronts by Dell’s effort to acquire the storage company EMC. First, it was the largest acquisition in the technology world ever ($67 billion). Second, it involves two companies that primarily market traditional tools that are experiencing declining demand.

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Lesson from Yahoo: Face Reality and Develop a Plan!

A recent Wall Street Journal article about Yahoo pointed out that if you strip away the value of the Alibaba shares which it owns, then “the market is assigning little to no value to Yahoo’s core business.” Further evidence of this is the recent movement of the Yahoo stock price. Specifically, 11 months ago Alibaba hit its all-time high at $115 a share. Since then it has dropped 40% down to $69. Interestingly, Yahoo’s stock price reached a high at $52 per share on the same timing as Alibaba, and it has dropped 38% to $32 since then; virtually the same percentage drop as Alibaba.

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Proud and Comfortable? If So, Beware!

Regarding the use of the internet, which we are all becoming very dependent upon, I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the intrusion and the delays caused by internet advertising. It’s everywhere! It’s a bother whenever you attempt to make some use of the internet, no matter whether you are on your PC, your tablet, or your smartphone.

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Credibility – Why Risk It?

In a recent statement to the press, the CEO of Tesla made it clear that it now looks like Tesla would ship about 50,000 cars in calendar 2015, not the 55,000 he had previously indicated. He then quickly boasted that he continues to be confident that Tesla will ship 500,000 cars in 2020 (a 10x increase in five years!). These statements spawned many articles in the press questioning the reasonableness of the CEO’s projections, particularly since he has a history of over promising.

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Is Your Big Idea Really Big? Really?

Early in 2015, there were numerous articles published about the problems being experienced by the fast-food chain McDonald’s. There were three problems in particular that most experts pointed to in explaining McDonald’s 3 years of weak sales and serious profit declines.

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Are You Intimidating? Here are the Traits

There has been a flurry of articles recently about the disarray of the San Francisco 49ers football team; players retiring early, jumping on offers from competitive teams, and rumors of star players being on the trading block. Also discussed has been the intimidating culture created by the front office leaders.

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Lessons from Amazon’s “Bruising Workplace”

The recent New York Times article entitled “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” has created quite a stir. Some employees have come forward to defend the place and others, mostly former employees, have piled on endorsing the negatives. No matter what side you take on this issue, there is plenty of learning in this peak into the culture of a very successful company.

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Lessons from Google’s Latest Announcement

Recently Google announced a major restructuring. A new holding company called Alphabet Inc. will include not only its major advertising businesses (Google Search, YouTube, Android and Chrome) to be called Google but also each of the individual development projects such as robots, self-driving cars, internet connectivity via balloons, and a variety of others.

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