Recent Posts


  • Chipotle Cultivates Thought

    Chipotle introduces the Cultivating Thought literary packaging series (cups and bags). Jonathan Safran Foer, author of "Eating Animals" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", was having lunch with the CEO of Chipotle and suggested using the surfaces of their cups and bags to give more to their customers to help customers feel more engaged while eating lunch. He suggested putting together a series of two-minute essays written by different authors and then published on the sides of Chipotle's cups and bags. You can read "the words and whimsy of thought-leaders, authors, and comedians through unique, you'll-only-find-them-at-Chipolte essays, each illustrated by a different artist." What do you think of the Chipotle CEO Steve Ells 's decision to give customers something to learn instead of giving them a blank bag or cup? All are interesting reading. How does Michael Lewis's approach to time management help you manage time?
  • Digital Strategy

    In this video, McKinsey director Paul Willmott, discusses six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution. Are you in the right industry? What technology solutions do your customers want to use? Should we attack or defend? What is the right balance of attack and defend? Should the CEO lead the digital transformation? Or, Should the CEO delegate to a chief digital officer? Or, Should the CEO delegate the digital agenda? How is digitization altering the nature of competition?
  • Jeff Bezos on Regret Minimization

    When Jeff Bezos was trying to decide whether to start Amazon or to stay with his Wall Street job, he created his "Regret Minimization Framework" to use for making the decision. Basically, he decided to start now to avoid regret later. The fear of regret helped Bezos to decide to start Amazon. What might you regret when you look back on your life at age 80? How might the "Regret Minimization Framework" help you to make management decisions?
  • GM CEO Vows Changes Because of Recalls

    General Motors (GM) Chief Executive Mary Barra says the company will change. It took too long to tell owners to bring the cars in for repairs. The company learned about the ignition switch problems over 10 years ago, but failed to recall the cars. Ms. Barra did not know the details of defective cars until December or January, as she became CEO on January 15. Her first change was to appoint Jeff Boyer as the new global safety chief in charge of recalls and other safety issues. He will meet with her once a month to discuss issues. In addition, she discussed the issue in a news conference, as seen in the video below, and started an internal probe of the problem. Ben W. Heineman, Jr. in a post on HBR blog network questioned why these delays occurred in the first place and recommended that business leaders have "robust systematic processes in place for personally leading or overseeing these threats to people and to the company." He gives the following as an approach to managing this type of health and safety crisis. Preventive systems and testing should be in place to reduce the issues to an absolute minimum. As GM has belatedly done, the CEO should appoint a head of safety and rapid response teams to receive reports of serious harms to persons or property that may be linked to product issues. Just as the general company ombuds system reports concerns to the top of the company about serious commercial, legal or ethical issues, the rapid response team should take any issue of potential consequence to the CEO or other high business leaders. Most importantly, the CEO or top business leaders should then form appropriate multi-functional teams relating to: design problems and solutions; internal personnel and processes; duties to regulators; management of litigation; a communications strategy with various constituencies; and any other relevant functions. The CEO or top business leaders must have prompt, periodic, direct reports until there is a good understanding of the interrelated issues. Then they must make decisions on an appropriate response. On these important safety issues, the CEO should also keep the board informed. Both during formulation of the strategy and after, the CEO or top business leadership must ensure that all communications to all constituencies must be strictly accurate. It is better to say nothing—and develop accurate facts—than to issue deceptive or incomplete statements. Once decisions are made about strategy, the CEO must oversee implementation to make sure, as appropriate, that it is meticulously carried out, changing systems both with respect to specific issues and more broadly as necessary, dealing humanely with people injured, and communicating fully and transparently with regulators, media, and other constituents. Questions: What do you think about the CEO's attempts to become the voice to reassure customers that the crisis will be resolved? Are there ethical issues associated with the company's failure to deal with the ignition problem when it was first discovered? The past GM bankruptcy limits its financial responsibility to compensate victims. Should victims be compensated? How might the CEO make this decision?
  • Trade-offs on Minimum Wage

    The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but in his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed an increase to $10.10 per hour. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported, "Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly." Managers may decide to use more technology to reduce labor costs. For example, you can order a product and never talk to a person. You use your iPad, computer, or telephone. Raising the federal minimum wage would have advantages and disadvantages. What impact might a higher minimum wage have?
  • The Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Turns 50

    Chick-fil-A celebrates 50 years of of its chicken sandwich. The video above highlights 50 years of milestones in U. S. history. While much has changed, the chicken sandwich has remained the same. Why do you think the managers at Chick-fil-A have decided to keep the core menu the same for 50 years? What could other managers learn form Chick-fil-A?
  • Failed New Product Launches

    In this video, Joan Schneider, the president, and Julie Hall the executive vice president, of Schneider Associates, discuss lessons learned from new product launches . Managers must understand the customer in order to develop products that will sell. How does a new product launch relate to management planning? What does Apple "do right" in product launches, such as with the iPad? Pick a failed product (Microsoft Windows Vista, Coca-Cola C2, Fabreze Scentstories, or Segway) and try to identify the reasons why they failed If you worked for the guilty company, what changes would you suggest to make sure similar incidents did not happen again?
  • Green is the New Red this Valentine's Day

    Happy Valentine's Day! Social/cultural is an important element in the external environment of business. Managers consider social/cultural trends before making decisions. The infographic above depicts the new Valentine's Day trend of consumers choosing "green" or eco-friendly products when buying gifts to give on Valentine's Day. What "green" or eco-friendly trends are emerging? Choose a business product and suggest how it might change to become more "green" or eco-friendly.
  • Technology in 2014

    15 Tech Companies That Will Define 2014 from The Motley Fool Managers don't control the external environment, but elements in the external environment influence the decisions of managers. An easy way to remember the external environmental elements is to think PEST or STEP. The external elements might be a threat (PEST) or an opportunity (STEP). P is for Political/legal; E is for economic; S is for social/cultural; and T is for Technology. In the slideshare above, The Motely Fool, looks at 15 technology companies that they think will be successful in 2014. Read through the slideshare above. How might the technologies be threats or opportunities for existing businesses?
  • Black Friday Cyber Monday Blur

    Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers become profitable. Stores were closed on Thanksgiving (Thursday) and then opened early on Friday. After Black Friday, when people go back to work, many shop on Cyber Monday (on their work computers). But, this year, since Thanksgiving came in the last week of November, the shopping time until Christmas is shorter. In order to increase sales over last year, many managers made the decision to open their stores on Thanksgiving Day. Nielson reported, "While shopping tendencies among all consumers didn't shift dramatically between 2011 and 2012, there were some significant changes among multicultural consumers." See the infographic below. Nielson states, "The line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is blurring, as many U.S. consumers are going online for holiday deals on the biggest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers." What is wrong with the in-store shopping experience? Why do people want to shop online? If you were a store manager, would you change the in-store shopping experience? If so, what would you change?
  • McDonald's Drops Heinz Ketchup

    The fast food industry is very competitive. Two major competitors are McDonald's and Burger King. Duane Stanford, Bloomberg reporter, says that McDonald's plans to stop using Heinz ketchup. The new CEO of.Heinz is Bernardo Hees, former CEO of Burger King. This decision makes sense, because companies don't want to depend too much on any one vendor Can McDonald's decision to drop Heinz ketchup be explained by game theory? (See the attached presentation on Game Theory by Barry Nalebuff, Yale School of Management.) Game theory analyzes the interplay between competition and cooperation. It is explained by the Value Net . What part does Heinz play in McDonald's Value Net? Is Heinz a complementor or a competitor?
  • Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Brand Officer of Chobani, Expands the Yogurt Market

    Peter McGuinness, Chief marketing and brand officer of Chobani, discusses the decisions Chobani managers made to expand their yogurt market.. They are increasing items on the menu , inspiring people to eat yogurt beyond breakfast, and encouraging people to use yogurt as an ingredient in recipes . Do you eat yogurt? What about Greek yogurt? What would you suggest to Chobani managers to penetrate the market (strategy to sell more yogurt to present customers)?
  • A-B InBev Drives Results from Social Media

    In this video, Lucas Herscovici, Vice President Digital of A-B InBev , talks about measuring results in social media. "You can't manage what you can't measure." Managers need information to make decisions. In control, they measure actual performance against the plan and if necessary, take action. How does A-B InBev measure results in social media?
  • The 10 Skills Employers Want

    Can you work in a team? How good are you at making decisions and solving problems? Can you plan, organize, and prioritize work? Those are all skills taught in management classes. Those are the skills employers want most, according to results of a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The Job Outlook 2014 report will be released in the fall. Employers rated “ability to work in a team structure,” “ability to make decisions and solve problems,” “ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work,” and “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” as the most important candidate skills/qualities. (See Figure 1.) These are followed by candidates’ “ability to obtain and process information” and “ability to analyze quantitative data.” Choose some class projects where you have been a team member and/or leader and when you have planned and prioritized. Describe those skills. Add them to your résumé and cover letter. Be ready to talk about them in your interviews. In this way, you will demonstrate that you have the top five skills most employers want in employees.
  • Bill Gates admits "Control+Alt+Delete" was a "mistake"

    In this discussion at Harvard on Sept. 21, Bill Gates talks about the rise of Microsoft, his current philanthropic efforts, and his friendship with Warren Buffett. Around 16:30 in the video, he admits "Control+Alt+Delete" command was a "mistake." "We could've had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button." . . . "When you turn your computer on, you're going to see some screens and eventually type your password in, you want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signaling to a very low level of the software – actually hard-coded in the hardware – that it really is bringing in the operating system you expect." His goal was "a computer on every desk running our software." But, his company didn't make computers. What was so visionary about this goal?
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