tomorrow's challenges

MEMO TO CEOs: SCRAP THE CUSTOMER VISIT

If you want to be a customer-led leader follow these 4 steps

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." - John Le Carré CEOs and senior executives have long heeded the advice of spymaster bestseller John Le Carré. For most, their weekly or monthly ritual of spending a day or three in the market calling on customers and consumers is a non-negotiable fixture on their generally hectic schedules.

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TOMORROW'S CHALLENGES

HOW TO MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH SWEET SPOT EVEN SWEETER

No-frills companies are becoming more likeable. That's bad news for their mid-range competitors.

Rationality has its limits. Behavioral economists have shown us that we don't think as much as we think we do. Instead, we are instinctive beings who rely on emotions and biases to navigate the daily decision-making jungle. Smart companies, therefore, know that being liked can be valuable.

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TOMORROW CHALLENGES

FROM CORPORATE NIMBYs TO MANAGEMENT PROGRESSIVES

3 lessons from an essential transformation challenge

Louis, a 45-year-old chemical engineer, had been part of XySAX's amazing growth story for the last 20 years. The company, which produced and marketed chemical compounds to several industrial customer segments globally, had successfully weathered unprecedented market turbulence. Its finances were robust, its customers happy and its employees proud. Louis had risen to the senior ranks because he knew what mattered and how to get the job done. He had a tremendous grasp of his industry and the trends shaping it. He was passionate about XySAX's contribution to its tens of thousands of customers and the many times more end consumers they in turn served. As he saw it, XySAX's upside opportunity was huge. Louis was also respected.

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TOMORROW CHALLENGES

Don't Waste the Crisis

Professor Seán Meehan and Dr Bernie Jaworski

As we adjust to the mixed economic signals of 2009, we are on the cusp of the biggest opportunity to come along in a lifetime. Stock markets around the world greet the return of those investors strong and brave enough to ride what looks like a rollercoaster recovery. We're advised, however, that on average the recovery will be slow and dependent on so many imponderables that we should be cautious in order not to put it in jeopardy. On average that's as good a guess as any. But executives need to be wary. Investors don't invest in the company offering average returns, customers don't want to buy average products and the best employees don't want to invest years of their lives working for an average employer. Forget the prevailing wisdom contaminated by the doomsayers; average is not for winners.

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TOMORROW'S CHALLENGES

How A.T. Cross rewrote its future

The recent $270m acquisition by Essilor of Costa Inc, which owns the sports sunglasses brand Costa del Mar, was the culmination of a remarkable and unlikely transformation of AT Cross, the 165-year-old US company known for making fine writing instruments.

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IMD PROFESSOR REACTS

Web Owners Beware

Professor Seán Meehan

It is disappointing that rule one of commerce so frequently gets lost in the hype of shiny apples. Rule One: Customers demand value - they would like more for less until they get everything for nothing. In a world of overly-hyped shiny apples, rule two usually prevails. Rule Two: I'll 'lend' you my capital if you can figure out how to reconcile my needs for a return with customers appetite for value. This tug of creation playing out among purveyors of news provides important insights to all WOwners (Web Owners) struggling with the free or pay model question.

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Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives

High Impact Change Management & Leadership

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Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives