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Leadership Insights - July 2020

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt


26th President of the United States

(One of my all-time favorite quotes!)

Peter Drucker (and other demigods) on Work from Home..and related topics

One of the biggest challenges arising for C-Level executives is what the workplace will look like in the post Covid world. With Work From Home (WFH) having proved its viability in recent months the question is not whether to allow WFH, but how.

Wouldn't it be great to ask some late, great management thinkers like Peter Drucker ("the man who invented management"); W. Edwards Deming (the father of Total Quality Management); and Frederick Taylor ( the founder of "Scientific Management" over a century ago) for their take on WFH? They may be long gone but they actually do have some advice for us. Their ground breaking management principles, while not specifically anticipating Covid and WFH, took into account not only the goals of a business, but the realities of human beings in the workplace.

This article from Chief Executive, "Leading a Distributed Workforce: Keys from Collins, Christensen, Drucker and Deming", summarizes lessons from great management thinkers of the past including the aforementioned luminaries and suggests the questions they might ask you were they across the desk from you as you create your WFH strategy and other aspects of post-Covid strategy.

The article also includes advice from the recently deceased Clayton Christensen ("The Innovators Dilemma") and from the legendary Jim Collins ("Good to Great') who, thankfully, is still with us. Study their lessons before you decide the future.

"The Forever Transaction"

One of the most compelling and valuable business models is one that is subscription based. Predictable income and brand loyalty reinforcement make a subscription strategy the envy of those who don't have one, or don't think that their business lends itself to so doing.

Well, it turns out your business can be a subscription business too! Robbie Kellman Baxter in an HBR podcast explains how. This podcast offers a good overview her book "The Forever Transaction: How to Build a Subscription Model So Compelling, Your Customers Will Never Want to Leave" . Take 27 minutes to rethink your business.

"Pencils Down, Pencils Up? "

When Covid struck, much of the activity in the M&A world came to a screeching halt or as they say in that business "we've gone pencils down." One hopeful sign for the economy would be the resurgence of private equity ("pencils up!")

Andrew Weinberg, Founder and CEO of Bright Star Capital Partners (a private equity firm focusing on middle market (ie Vistage sized) companies) shares his views about PE's resurgence; in particular what will stay the same...and what will change in the private equity world. CEOs who are starting to once again entertain looking for the exits should read this short article from Forbes "Private Equity Will Show Its True Colors in the Covid-19 Recovery."

Econ Recon

Optimism and Opportunity: Forecasting the job market is hard enough when it's just about the usual economic dynamics. Add in "exogenous" factors like Covid from outside the economy and it gets very difficult . Even so, ITR Economics Analyst Alex Chausovsky sees reason for optimism and highlights avenues for opportunity. Check out his one page posting "Job Market Signals and a Call to Action. "

See the Latest CEO Confidence Index here."


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