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.

Apple: Why Wall Street Is Calling It Boring!

Recently a popular financial analyst on Wall Street took a cold objective look at Apple’s most recent financial results and then boldly stated: “Apple, a boring stock? As boring as they come!”

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How to Escape the Status Quo

In the past two years, General Electric has done a good job of facing the fact that its business model of the past several years had run out of gas and that it needed to break out of the status quo and prepare for the future.

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Is Your Organization Paralyzed Like the Post Office?

Recently it was announced that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) lost $5 billion in their most recent fiscal year which ended Oct 1, 2015. The last year America’s post office earned a profit was 2006. Since that year, total mail volume has fallen 28%. The biggest decline has been in first class mail, its main moneymaker. Probably the biggest financial problem at the USPS is its unfunded liabilities related to health care and other benefits of retirees, which stand at $125.2 billion. The think tank called Tax Foundation doubts it can ever cover these promises.

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Beware: You’re Biased and You Can’t Detect It!

Our ability to make good decisions is a critical determinant in our long term success in both our personal and professional lives. A few years ago a group of academic researchers got interested in why good leaders occasionally make some very bad decisions.

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Best Buy: The Comeback Story of 2015!

From 2005 to 2012, we saw a major shake out of the consumer electronics retail business. CompUSA, Circuit City, and Radio Shack all went bankrupt and the lone remaining player was Best Buy who, by 2012, was really struggling. All of these retailers were hurt significantly by the emergence of online shopping for consumer electronics products via outlets such as Amazon.com. While Best Buy continued to operate during that period, picking up a lot of customers from their peers as they bankrupt, it has not been easy. The stock price of Best Buy during that period went from $36 in 2005 to a low of $13 in 2012.

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What Leaders Can Learn from Private Equity

General Motor’s faulty ignition switch saga, which has been a major story for the past year, made us all aware of just how bureaucratic a company can become. The problem began in 2005, when the faulty switches were first installed in some GM models. The switch could accidentally flip into accessory mode, thus disengaging the […]

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Yahoo: Will It Finally Get Put Out of Its Misery?

In last week’s blog, I talked about the leadership problems at Yahoo. In the past week the discussion of what the troubled company should do emerged as a hot topic, as the Yahoo board met to work on exactly that topic. In the midst of all this, I was invited to discuss the situation on CNBC on Dec. 7. Below is the link to that interview in which I discussed alternative futures for Yahoo. Since the interview, the Yahoo board of directors has come out with a statement that it plans to keep the Alibaba shares, but jettison the web-based business via one of the following options: spinning it out as a separate company, selling it to a company like Verizon, or selling it to a private equity firm.

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Three Confidence Destroyers That Strong Leaders Avoid!

It is amazing how Yahoo’s top management just keeps providing us with lessons on how a strong leader should NOT act. The latest wave of negative articles about what is going on at Yahoo was spawned by the recent exit of dozens of Yahoo executives.

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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 Art.com.

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