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Restoring leadership to the leaders
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Sunday, September 26, 2004 @ 07:50 PM
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Robert Paterson has a link to a review of a book called Hope is Not a Method written by Gordon Sullivan and Michael Harper. It is considered to be one of the most important books in military and business management.

The book is an illuminating account of what it actually takes to build a learning organization in practice. Contrary to most conventional thinking, which says results come from good plans of planners executed by trained and compliant managers, it suggests that a learning organization is one designed to be successful in spite of plans which are imperfect, even though they are the best possible in an atmosphere of rapidly changing missions and resources. Good plans in a changing environment are those evolved during their accomplishment by those mandated to fulfill them, who must be willing to examine and learn from what worked and didn't work at each stage of the way.

The authors articulate some rules for successful renewal. The first three of these bear repeating here.

Rule One: change is hard work. "Leading change means doing two jobs at once - getting the organization through today and getting the organization into tomorrow. . . . Change will not spring full blown from the work of a committee or consultant. . . You have to spend a lot of time communicating, clarifying, generating enthusiasm, and listening (including listening to negative feedback, resistance and general disagreement)."

Rule two: leadership begins with values. "Shared values express the essence of an organization." They are what binds an organization together when practically everything else is changing.

Rule three: intellectual leads physical. "Strategic leadership is the front-end work- the in-depth, serious thinking by a leader and his or her team- that results in the creation of an intellectual framework for the future. . . Without the tough up-front work of intellectual change, physical change will be unfocused, random, and unlikely to succeed."

And the final pearl of wisdom that will resonate with most CEOs...

The toughest part of starting is starting. This is especially so for leaders pre-occupied with incidents and situations which are pushed to the top of the decision tree because the old strategic framework is far out-of-line with the actual demands of the time. Leaders are apparently too busy to lead. Thus, the first phase of the renewal journey could be called: "Restoring leadership to the leaders."



Technology trap
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Sunday, September 26, 2004 @ 12:25 AM
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A very interesting 'matrix' for understading the issues associated with introducing innovation based on technology. Dave Wilcox has developed a framework for clarifying the challenges and explains:

The point of it is that you need to deal with cultural change as well as technology change at the same time. If you try and bring technology in without commitment from the top, regard to working practices and so on, you'll get resistance... or lots of systems that don't work. And if you try and innovate without using appropriate tools you could be frustrated in your purpose.

technology trap.jpg

He also makes a valid but frustrating point about introducing blogs and similar collaborative tools to companies:

In discussion about the barriers to introducing blogs and similar tools, there was some amazement that senior management could possible fail to see the benefit of such powerful collaborative tools. My feeling was that these managers weren't so dumb, and could spot something that potentially challenged their control a mile off, even if they didn't quite understand how it work.

Yes, but the point is that command and control don't work no more...




We are doomed...!
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Saturday, September 25, 2004 @ 10:57 PM
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David Weinberger blogs his impressions from a World Economic Forum meeting in NYC earlier in the week. He was asked to talk to the Entertainment and Media section, and boy, he did not like what he encountered:

...these people are thrashing. They're floundering. They're desperate to find a way in which their organizations still add value. They are in denial but, it seemed to me, they know that there's just about nothing that the market wants from them. For example, at one point someone said, "Content is king." I replied that judging from the content they're producing, marketing is king; that's where their real value is. Further, I said, on the Internet, connection is king. But then they want to know how to "monetize" connection. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as you understand how monetizing it can kill it.

...

Third, they believe they're responding to the market. They do not recognize that their market has abandoned them. They think that file-sharing is an aberration. In some unthought way, I think they actually believe that the legislation they're back[ing] is something the market wants. They maintain this thought this by not actually thinking it out loud.

There is much more and it is depressing. The conclusion?

These are smart people and I liked talking with them. They were willing to listen. Some, in fact, even agree to varying degrees. But they are riding beasts that are in agony, and the Internet will be a sticky stain on the bottom of their massive hooves.

We are doomed.

But in his talk, David represented the Net well. He made a point to the BigCon (big content) companies that they do not really understand the "customers" and probably the whole 'internet thing':

I said that I understand that to them the Net looks like a medium through which content passes, some of which people aren't paying for. But, (sez I) their customers aren't "consuming" content. We're not consuming anything. We're listening to music, We're watching video streams, We're talking with friends. To call it content is to miss why it matters to Big Content's customers.

By the way, the official topic of the session was how to "monetize communities". David is right, that's evil.




Pirates of the Brand
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Thursday, September 9, 2004 @ 02:45 PM
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It's more fun to be a Pirate than to join the Navy.

A quote from Steve Jobs has been taken on as a metaphor for brand culture and brand building by Adam Morgan in his book The Pirate Inside. I just finished reading the excerpt from the book, the Introduction: Necessary Pirate.

You see, what is interesting to me is that he [Steve Jobs] doesnít talk about processes; he talks about a type of people. He doesnít talk about saying; he talks about being. And I find those two distinctions interesting and important. The idea that perhaps itís the kind of people that we are or choose to be, individually or collectively, that will make the difference to our futures. Perhaps we shouldnít focus so much on the processes we use, or the tools we have, or the architecture we discuss, or the organizational structure we find ourselves in but on who we are and how we behave.

Brilliant, simply brilliant. And compulsory reading for all around me. Please indulge me while I am having my 'told-you-so' moment. :-)

via Brand Autopsy here and here.




Skype lives up to hype
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Wednesday, September 8, 2004 @ 10:41 AM
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I have been using Skype, the popular VoIP application. We run parts of our business using it, talking to our designers and techies in different countries. I have introduced several friends, clients and associates to it, who after initial incredulity, happily joined the ranks of the Skyping.

So, I was not surprised that James Fallows gave it the thumbs up.

Skype's distinction is that, for now at least, it is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way for individual customers to begin using VoIP. It works this way:

First, you download free software from skype.com. Skype runs on most major operating systems, including Windows XP and 2000, Linux, Pocket PC for portable devices and, as of this summer, Mac OS. On three of the computers on which I installed it, it ran with no tweaking at all. On the fourth, I had to change one setting for the sound card, following easy instructions on the site.

What is the secret of Skype's success? Network effect and open and free access, which despite being the watchwords of the dot.com fiasco, are increasingly validated in this dot.net era.

Skype illustrates network economics in the purest form: free connections within the network become more valuable to each user as more users sign up. Because of the system's peer-to-peer design, loosely related to the Kazaa file-sharing program that Mr. Zennstrom and Skype's other co-founder, Janus Friis, invented four years ago, the system scales well - that is, it doesn't bog down as more users join. The peer-to-peer design also allows it to work behind most Internet firewalls.

However, there seems no reason for Skype not to make it even bigger, other than eager regulators and entrenched telecoms rising to the VoIP 'challenge'.

In the meantime, let's Skype into the sunset.

via Boing Boing




Pause for thought
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Sunday, July 18, 2004 @ 01:38 PM
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Alan Moore of SMLXL goes all philosophical on technology and mankind. And iPods, Sony Walkmans and Buddha... Just the thing for a Sunday afternoon. :-)




End of the command and control?
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Saturday, July 17, 2004 @ 12:27 PM
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I recently came across A VC blog through a Buzzmachine link. I have found it easy to read, succinct and full of thoughts that are refreshingly clear. The latest post is about how technology is changing the modern corporation, describing the last pannel attended by the blogger at the Brainstorm conference.

We are at the end of the command and control world. We are at the beginning of the coordinate and cultivate world. The main points can be summed up as:

  • Movement toward human freedom in business that may be as fundamental as democracy was in government 200 years ago
  • Lower transaction costs and globalization are creating enormous efficient and dynamic markets
  • Large corporation allows 100% of the workforce to represent it in the marketplace. (Sun Microsystems and its 32,000 employees)
  • Globalization and technology trends taken to their logical conclusion means that eventually corporations will trump nations.
  • Large online auction site can be described as a community with a mayor at its head (eBay is the community of 40 million people and Meg Whitman is the Mayor)

Read the whole thing, lots to think about indeed. I am particularly intrigued by the first development.




Future of Advertising
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Saturday, July 17, 2004 @ 12:07 PM
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A VC blog has a record of a session about future of advertising at Brainstorm conference in Aspen, where the CEOs of WPP, Aegis Media, and DDB, the guy who runs marketing for Coke's brand, the CEO of William Morris, a couple of great Internet entrepreneurs, and a even a dog were present.

It's clear that "image" ads are struggling to compete with "call to action" adds and its going to get even harder as digital media develops better tools to target these action oriented ads to the right audience at the right time.

Itís also clear that marketers (like Coke) are becoming media and media (like Fortune) are becoming marketers.

The most interesting part of the panel though was the heated debate that developed between the big agency guys and the Internet entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs were arguing that we are experiencing a major transition in the world away from big brands and big media. They argued that individuals no longer trust the establishment and that credibility, authority, and connections among individuals is what matters most.

It was fun to watch the fireworks.

I bet.


via Buzzmachine




Future of Advertising
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Saturday, July 17, 2004 @ 12:07 PM
Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A VC blog has a record of a session about future of advertising at Brainstorm conference in Aspen, where the CEOs of WPP, Aegis Media, and DDB, the guy who runs marketing for Coke's brand, the CEO of William Morris, a couple of great Internet entrepreneurs, and a even a dog were present.

It's clear that "image" ads are struggling to compete with "call to action" adds and its going to get even harder as digital media develops better tools to target these action oriented ads to the right audience at the right time.

Itís also clear that marketers (like Coke) are becoming media and media (like Fortune) are becoming marketers.

The most interesting part of the panel though was the heated debate that developed between the big agency guys and the Internet entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs were arguing that we are experiencing a major transition in the world away from big brands and big media. They argued that individuals no longer trust the establishment and that credibility, authority, and connections among individuals is what matters most.

It was fun to watch the fireworks.

I bet.


via Buzzmachine