Each month, When Growth Stalls examines why businesses and brands struggle and how they can overcome their obstacles and resume growth. Steve McKee is the president of McKee Wallwork + Co., an advertising agency that specializes in working with stalled, stuck and stale brands. The company was recognized by Advertising Age as 2015 Southwest Small Agency of the Year. McKee is also the author of “When Growth Stalls” and “Power Branding.”

SmartBrief offers more than 200 newsletters, including SmartBrief on Leadership and newsletters for small businesses and marketers and advertisers.

Beware the knights who say “NIH!”

 

When a company finds itself stuck in a rut, there’s a tendency for the management team to become insular, particularly if it’s feeling embattled by customers, employees or shareholders (and perhaps all three). That’s a road on which all sorts of bad behavior can arise.

Those who grasp the wheel may cling to it ever tighter, whether out of desperation to avoid losing control, denial that there’s even a real problem, or in hope that they can keep their issues to themselves. (read more…)

There is no shortage of articles about the troubles at Yahoo, which today has its quarterly earnings announcement. The core problem is the lack of a “big idea” that would represent new consumer offerings or dramatic changes to existing products that would generate genuine consumer excitement.

Unfortunately, Yahoo has basically been following a “me-too” strategy. Facebook and Google went big into mobile ads, so Yahoo eventually announced its efforts in this area. Netflix and others became huge in video streaming, so a couple of years later, Yahoo decided to spend $100 million on video, only to write off $42 million recently as the effort faltered.

Is it possible for big companies to find and achieve big success behind big ideas? You bet! Let’s look at two that did just that recently.

Ford F-150

Over the past couple of years, Ford made a bet on a key modification to its highly successful F-150 line of trucks. (read more…)

Each month, When Growth Stalls examines why businesses and brands struggle and how they can overcome their obstacles and resume growth. Steve McKee is the president of McKee Wallwork + Co., an advertising agency that specializes in working with stalled, stuck and stale brands. The company was recognized by Advertising Age as 2015 Southwest Small Agency of the Year. McKee is also the author of “When Growth Stalls” and “Power Branding.”

SmartBrief offers more than 200 newsletters, including SmartBrief on Leadership and newsletters for small businesses and marketers and advertisers.

“Vision or conceit? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…”

Most of the time it’s just difficult to face.

Ever work for somebody who’s convinced he’s the next Steve Jobs?

You know, the all-seeing visionary who was two steps ahead of the rest of us? The one who could never be dissuaded? Someone who believed that by sheer force of will he could change the world? (read more…)

How thinking better and differently can be taught and learned to maximize and enhance an organization’s performance

Business design thinking can not only transform a business, but also help an organization catapult to greater levels of success. These organic, flexible and inclusive methods are the path to enhanced performance and greater prosperity. Business design thinking draws upon the lessons of design, humanistic management and system’s theory, effectively integrating complexity into a coherent and elegant experience.

There are a number of key principles for business design thinking, but for this post, we will discuss three of the most important ones:

  • “Discover-Craft-Build” iterative cycles
  • Employ a cross-functional / team-based approach
  • Build a culture of collaboration

The “Discover-Craft-Build” iterative cycles

Iterative cycles based on design thinking have many benefits. Think in terms of cycles, not linear “1,2,3” steps. Problem-solving is better tackled in small bites of exploring, designing, building and testing, then adjusting.

Create your iterative business design thinking process for the problem-solving phase by following a model of DCB: Discover-Craft-Build. (read more…)

They’re caring. They also get $tuff done.

It’s often the great debate of what defines an exceptional executive, the discussion of EQ (emotional intelligence) versus IQ (intellectual intelligence).

Go Google it and you’ll find plenty of mixed reviews and articles that point in different directions and various forms of measurement of both EQ and IQ. With all of the compelling arguments around both, the common sense answer is balance. Of course, this is the easiest answer, perhaps a cop-out, but the reality is that the most effective executives have a holistic leadership DNA. They combine the cognitive ability (which drives things like revenue) with the caring nature that resonates genuinely with the employees of the company.

The concept of IQ relates directly to business results, practices and execution. Smart capable leaders get down to efficiencies and the numbers of the organizations. It’s how things get done and the financial gains of the organization are directly produced. (read more…)