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:

IBM: Finally, A Bold Move Provides Some Hope

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.

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Brooks Brothers: The Latest Casualty Due to Ignoring Key Trends

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 […]

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Microsoft – Finally Killing a Marginal Project!

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.

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A Powerful Lesson from Hyundai 

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 […]

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Learning From China’s Chairman Mao: Avoid Generating Fear!

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.

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Beware of Assumptions!

The America’s Cup yacht competition held in Fall, 2013 featured only two yachts, one from New Zealand and one from the U.S. Both used exotic technology enabling the boats to attain speeds of 50+ miles per hour. Specifically, each had the capability, when they get to a certain speed, of lifting literally out of the water, moving along on four foils, like surf boards, reducing drag and causing speed to dramatically increase.

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Mornings with Maria interview: The Google antitrust case and the new era of working from home

Today I had an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business News where we discussed the apparent upcoming antitrust lawsuit focused on Google.  We also chatted about the learnings from folks working from home.  You can view it by clicking here.

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The Lesson From Neiman Marcus – Beware of Complacency!

The news that Neiman Marcus has hired a restructuring firm to help them prepare for bankruptcy has been expected for the past several years. While clearly the virus problems have pushed them to finally make the move, it was only a matter of time. Let’s face it, you could hardly find a more complacent company. As one industry expert put it recently: “If you go to a Neiman Marcus store today, it looks just like it did years ago. It’s got no energy at all. Today’s millennial customer does not relate to Neiman Marcus or the brands it carries. For years, nothing has changed”

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The Boeing CEO, the Governor of New York, and Crisis Communications

During the past few weeks, we watched how the Governor of New York managed the coronavirus crisis, and how the Boeing CEO dealt with the various issues hitting the planemaker. There are some very clear learnings coming from the two in leading and managing during a crisis.

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Fakebook, I Mean Facebook, Has Fundamental Problems!

The term “fake news” has become part of the popular vocabulary. In the world of “fakeness” there is no doubt that Facebook stands out from the crowd. Specifically, users can post anything thing they want to whatever audience they can assemble Also, anyone can create independent ”fake” accounts, and use these to initiate all kinds of “fake” political, social, or individual mayhem. These two kinds of “fakeness” are now becoming very problematic for Facebook.

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