Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

Bob regularly writes blog posts and articles with his areas of focus being leadership, organizational effectiveness. Below you will find the titles and hot-links of his most recent efforts:

Sears: Ignoring What the Turnaround Icons Teach Us!

It was 2013 when the current CEO took over the leadership of the classic retailer Sears. His task was to stop the share price decline; virtually a straight line from $120/share in 2007 to $45 when he took over in 2013. Unfortunately, he has been unable to halt that decline and it is now fairly clear that Sears is on its way to bankruptcy. It just announced it will be closing 100 more stores in 2018, and its stock price is currently in the $2.25 range.

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Giving In to Peer Pressure: A Deadly Example

The book called Rescue of the Bounty is an exciting, true story of an ill-fated, 2012 voyage of a fifty-year-old, 180 foot, wooden ship called Bounty. It was a replica of the HMS Bounty, a classic three mast ship of the late 1700’s, and was used in movies such as Mutiny on the Bounty and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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GE:  A Reminder of the Leadership Killers!

In 2006 General Electric launched a four-day training program called Leadership, Innovation and Growth (LIG) at their famous management development center in Crotonville, New York. In the next few years, thousands of GE managers were put through this program. The core focus of this program was the importance of teams and consensus in accelerating the pace of change.

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Microsoft: Leveraging the Learning from Advertising Research?

When the current CEO of Microsoft took the job in 2014, the company stock price had been floundering for the past 13 years in the $25-$37 range. He quickly moved into action to focus the company’s future on cloud infrastructure. The task of getting the employee base and customers on board required constantly delivering the cloud message. This single-minded focus and constant communication of the cloud direction was critical in the evolution of Office to the cloud service Office 365 and the emergence of Azure, an open, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform. Today, Microsoft web services are a strong and fast growing #2 behind Amazon’s web services and Microsoft’s stock price is in the $88 range.

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Netflix – Acting Like a 9-Year-Old Kansas Kid!

It was very recently announced that the percentage of Americans who subscribe to Netflix is now equal to the number that subscribe to cable TV services. To understand what has made Netflix so successful, let’s first consider the following story often told by Gary Burnison, the CEO of Korn/Ferry.

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Gillette: Fat, Happy and Vulnerable in Its Own Fiefdom

A recent article in Fortune magazine discussed the massive loss of market share by Gillette; moving from 71% when it was acquired by Procter and Gamble in 2005 down to its current 59%. It points out that a key reason for this was that Gillette simply missed the growing consumer interest in an adequate performing, and very reasonably priced, razor. Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s and Schick jumped on this trend. Meanwhile, Gillette simply stuck to its decades-old game plan of evermore sophisticated and complex razors at ever-increasing prices.

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Delta Airlines: A Great Turnaround Example

It is not much fun to be a part of an organization that is at best treading water with no clear roadmap to break out and get on an exciting path of progress. That certainly was the case for employees of Delta Airlines when the company filed bankruptcy in 2005.

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N.Y. Yankees Fire Manager – Learn from His Mistakes

The New York Yankees baseball team had a great year in 2017. Given that several of their starting players were very young, they were not predicted to make the playoffs, but to show big promise for the future. Instead they not only made the playoffs, but came within one game of going to the World Series. So…why would the Yankees manager of the past ten years, which included a World Series championship, be fired after the end of a very successful 2017? The General Manager of the Yankees answered that question directly: “he simply could not connect and communicate well with the players.”

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Retailers: Most are Lethargic Road-Kill!

It’s amazing to see many of the major retailers simply stand by and watch their business atrophy. On the other hand, there are a few that work hard to get out in front of the key trends/changes impacting retailers. Best Buy is an amazing example of doing exactly that. While facing bankruptcy in early 2013, with its stock price down to $11.80, it watched its competitors such as CompUSA, Circuit City and Radio Shack fall by the wayside.

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Learn from Amazon: Talent Is Critical

Amazon is paranoid about hiring and developing top talent! For example, it has hired 97 MBA’s from MIT over the past 5 years, more than twice any other tech company. Stepping back, given the amazing speed of change in most industries today, it is clear that having top talent is a necessity. Hence, the subject of spotting such individuals at a very early stage and acquiring that talent for your organization should be a very high priority task.

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