Whole Foods’ first store opened in 1978 in Austin, Texas. National expansion began in earnest in 1984 and it has grown to 500 stores in North America. In October of 2017 it was acquired by Amazon. Whole Foods’ amazing growth was due to three points of differentiation that it used to attract its […]
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:
Subscribe to Bob's Blog by email
Back in 2006 when Apple was developing the iPhone, Steve Jobs decided that while the original plan was for the iPhone to have a plastic screen, like the iPod, it would feel much more elegant and substantive if the screen was glass. He set about finding a glass that would be strong and resistant to […]
With people stuck at home, it is no surprise that Netflix is having a great year. On the other hand, there is a whole bunch of new streaming options, such as Disney+, that are also thriving. You would expect them to be taking some business away from Netflix, but instead, it has seen revenue climb […]
Strong leaders push consistently to make sure their people and organizations are focused on achieving something of significance. An environment of achievement requires an exciting vision and clear plans to make it happen. It requires well-understood measures so that there is pressure to perform and to see those measures demonstrate genuine progress. It requires accurate matching of people to jobs to maximize impact.
Anytime there is a significant change in an organization, it can have a very unsettling effect. Examples of the kind of changes I am talking about are reorganizing to better meet the needs of the marketplace, new technologies that lead to new products or new ways to execute the business or new bosses who have different value systems and want to reconfigure things.
One financial analyst calls IBM’s last ten years its wasted decade. In that period, the company’s annual revenue dropped from a tad over $100 billion to under $80 billion and net income for the decade dropped from $14.8 billion to $9.4 billion. In comparison, in the past ten years, Microsoft’s revenue grew from $69 billion to over $143 billion and the company has been totally reinvigorated by the move to a cloud emphasis about 6 years ago.
Brooks Brothers is a classic name in retailing. The 202-year-old company pioneered ready-made suits and its clothes have been worn by dozens of U.S presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as tycoons ranging from the Astor’s to the Vanderbilt’s. As one retail industry analyst put it, “Brooks Brothers has been a way […]
One of the hardest things to do in a large organization is to stop an effort that has been on-going for years. Microsoft provided a great example recently of doing exactly that. It takes a lot of guts for a leader to take such an action.
One thing that really confuses employees is when the manager pursues a long, painful “values/mission/charter/vision/strategies/objectives/goals” exercise. First of all, what does all this stuff mean, and second, why take many months when the problems/opportunities are typically obvious. The strong leader cuts out all that complicated jargon and simply explains that the vision is WHAT we […]
I am reading the book Tombstone, by Yang Jisheng, whose father was one of the thirty-six million people that starved to death during 1958-1962 in China. The devastation was driven by the program called the Great Leap Forward engineered by Mao Zedong. The leap forward was to achieve increases each year in food production since food was scarce. Quotas were set up in each village and county and continually raised, while all peasants were stripped of their land and possessions and assigned to highly ineffective commune farms where chaos caused the food production to drop each year. Peasants were to eat at commune kitchens, which soon ran out of food. Anyone caught hoarding any food suffered severe physical punishment.