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:

What Do Apple and Netflix Have in Common?

Innovation is a topic that you hear a lot about these days. How does it happen? I think you can learn a lot by looking at examples that have occurred over the years that have had a truly significant impact. Here are two classics: Note how the leader had a very specific idea that he believed would have a very significant impact on the world.

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BlackRock: The Power of “Sense of Purpose”

Founded 25 years ago, BlackRock has quickly become not only the world’s largest asset manager ($5.7 trillion under management), but also the dominant leader in the fastest growing investment product; exchange-traded-funds (ETF’s). The company went public in 1999 for $14/share and today BlackRock’s stock trades in the $465/share range. Over the past 5 years, it is up +145%. Separately, a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article reported on research dealing with the role of “sense of purpose” in enabling companies to attract top talent and achieve strong results. They single out BlackRock as a prime example.

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Tesla Report Card: Innovation = A; Operational Excellence = F

The CEO of Tesla, who is also the Chairman and Co-Founder, is clearly an amazing visionary. The Tesla all-electric car has created a major inflection point in the automobile industry and with every passing day we are seeing more and more momentum shift toward the use of all-electric cars.

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Xerox: Avoiding Reality – A Losing Strategy!

Back in 1999, Xerox was the king of the document copying business and had just achieved its peak market value of almost $50 billion. In Asia, Xerox operated with a partner, Fuji, and their copying machines were sold under the name of Fuji Xerox.

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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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