• Graphic Management

    Lean Production uses the 5S system to create a visual workplace. Michel Greif defines the visual management triangle in his book, The Visual Factory.

    The visual management triangle comprises

    (1) seeing, as a group (what is the production status, what are inventory levels, and what is machine availability?);

    (2) acting as a group (concensus on rules and objectives, involvement in improvement activities), and

    (3) knowing as a group (delivery commitments, goals and schedules, management rules). 

    Over the years, visual controls, such as wall schedules, have been eliminated. Today, most jobs consist of sitting at a computer. Employees don't meet around the wall schedule to discuss it.

    But what about offices? What do they produce? How could managers use infographics (discussed below) to expand visibility?

  • BlackBerry Shifts Focus from Hardware to Software

    BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen said that the company's new strategy will focus on developing software instead of hardware. Chen was appointed interim CEO in November 2013. At one time, BlackBerry was the dominant smart-phone company. The BlackBerry phone was so popular that the company changed its name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry to reflect the popularity of the phone. Apple and Samsung now dominate the smartphone consumer market.

    BlackBerry has a reputation for security that comes embedded in its software. Thus, this change in strategy capitalizes on a core competency. BlackBerry, a Canadian company, will outsource its hardware production to Foxconn, a Taiwanese company. Foxconn will make BlackBerry phones for overseas markets, with an emphasis on emerging smartphone markets.

    BlackBerry's focus shifted from its customers to its product. Instead of thinking of what the customer wanted, the company focused on the product. BlackBerry was product oriented, not customer oriented.

    Why did BlackBerry's managers fail to see the impact of a changing environment on its future?

    Why did BlackBerry's managers lose sight of underlying customer needs and only focus on existing wants?

  • Target CEO Apologizes for Breach

    Target's chief executive, Gregg Steinhafel, released a statement (see attached) Friday night apologizing for the credit and debit card data stolen from more than 40 million shoppers who shopped at Target stores between November 27 and December 15, 2013. Furthermore, he acknowledged that consumers calling or visiting Target's website were having trouble connecting and getting more information. Customers made their dissatisfaction known on Target's Facebook page, as well as other social media sites. Many discussed their frustration with local news media - television and newspapers. The CEO stated, "We understand it’s been difficult for some guests to reach us via our website and call center. We apologize and want you to understand that we are experiencing unprecedented call volume. Our Target teams are working continuously to build capacity and meet our guests’ needs." Then, the CEO offered a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases Saturday and Sunday. "We take this crime seriously. It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores."

    In the video below, the CEO discusses how corporate responsibility fits into Target's strategy, the role he plays, and his expectations.

    Do you think a 10 percent markdown will be enough to get customers back in Target stores?

    If so, why? If not, what percent markdown should Target have offered? Why?

  • How Your Eyes Move on a Website

    Click image to see a larger version
    101 on Eye Tracking: How Your Eyes Move on a Website Infographic

    101 on Eye Tracking: How Your Eyes Move on a Website Infographic via Single Grain

    Choose a company that you would like to work for and visit its Web site.

    Does the company's Web site follow the six design tips listed above? If not, what would you suggest to the company's managers?

  • Google’s Top 10 Trending Events in the U.S. 2013

    Google’s Top 10 Trending Events in the U.S. 2013

    • Boston Marathon
    • Government Shutdown
    • MTV’s Video Music Awards
    • Moore, Oklahoma Tornado
    • Royal Baby
    • Zimmerman Trial
    • Typhoon Haiyan
    • New Pope
    • Syria Conflict
    • Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez boxing  

    Read more:
    Google's Top 10 Trending Events in the U.S. 2013 | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/17/these-are-googles-top-10-trending-events-in-the-u-s-2013/#ixzz2nqLXTAdX

    It is interesting to note that none of the top 10 trending events in the United States 2013 included any business or product. Business and products are not top of mind for customers. 

    How can managers make sure that customers remember their business and products?

  • The Worst CEOs of 2013

    Sydney Finkelstein, is the author of Why Smart Executives Fail: And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes. In the book, he explains "the seven habits of spectacularly unsuccessful people" that drive smart managers to make catastrophic mistakes. The seven habits are listed below.

    1. They see their companies and themselves as dominating their environments
    2. They identify so completely with the Company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation’s interests.
    3. They think they have all the answers.
    4. They bully or get rid of anyone not 100% behind them.
    5. They are consummate company spokespersons obsessed with company image.
    6. They underestimate major obstacles
    7. They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past

    ""The best CEOs grow profits and market share," says Sydney Finkelstein, professor of management and associate dean for executive education at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

    The Worst CEOs of 2013

    • Ron Johnson, former CEO of J.C. Penney
    • Thorsten Heins, former CEO of BlackBerry
    • Eddie Lampert, CEO of Sears
    • Eike Batista, founder of EBX
    • Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, who announced in August he would leaving the company within the year

    How did the five CEOs mentioned in the video above make the list of Worst CEOs of 2013?

  • Trust Study by evolve24-Coke versus Pepsi

    “Trust is a leading indicator of future behavior with consumers” says evolve24’s Coke versus Pepsi Trust Study. Noah Krusell, director of analytics and innovation at evolve24 said, “Trust offers your business benefits such as increased customer conversion, increased brand loyalty and a healthier bottom line. Trust between your brand and the market is essential to long-term, sustainable growth. In the end, trusted brands win.”

    The company measures social trust through the components of empathy, openness, expertise, and dedication.

    The key finding from the Coke/Pepsi study was that Coke was more trusted.

    How could managers use evolve24's measures to build trust with employees?

  • The Pop Dongle by Pop Secret: The First-Ever Smellable Mobile Game

    Pop Secret's mobile game  for iPhone and iPod Touch, Poptopia, has a mobile phone attachment, Pop Dongle, that emits the sweet-and-salty smell of popcorn every time a player swipes the butter inside the game. When players pop corn kernels, the Dongle will emit a spritz of popcorn scent. The dongle plugs into the audio jack, so the game emits a certain frequency signaling it to go ahead and spread the smell.

    Managers know that appealing to the senses helps sell products. In this game, players see movement, hear sounds, touch buttons, and smell popcorn.

    What would happen to sales if consumers could smell products on TV? on computer? Would sales increase? What disadvantages are there to smelling products?

    Visit Creativity-Online.com, What are some more exciting product ideas?

  • Minimum Wage Debate

    Protesters gather in front of a McDonald's in New York City

    The fast-food industry competes by offering low-cost meals. Historically, fast-food employees have been low-payed teenagers. Today, especially since the great recession, many fast-food employees are adults. Thus, the fast-food industry is a target of labor organizers, such as the Service Employees International Union, to increase wages. Protests to push for higher wages took place across the United States Thursday, December 6. The protesters called for pay of $15 per hour. 

    The United State Department of Labor states, "The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages." Thus the minimum wage is set by the government, not by the employer.

    The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, said in a statement that the demonstrations were a coordinated public-relations campaign “engineered by national labor groups where the vast majority of participants are activists and paid demonstrators; relatively few restaurant workers have participated in the past.” Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president for policy and government affairs, stated, “Dramatic increases in a starting wage such as those called for in these rallies will challenge that job-growth history, increase prices for restaurant meals, especially in the value segments, and lead to fewer jobs created. Business owners already face great uncertainty due to a lack of a clear economic plan from Washington and the health care law’s implementation. Calls to double the minimum wage only intensify the challenges faced by job creators.”

    Who should set wages? The business or the government? Explain.

  • The HubSpot Culture Code

    HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah shares his company's culture in the SlideShare below.

    Why do you think this SlideShare has amassed more than 1 million views to date?

    What could you (as a manager) influence about company culture.

  • McDonald's Social Media Platforms

    Molly McKenna Jandrain, Director of Public Relations of McDonald's USA, talks about how McDonald’s builds its brand identity across social media platforms

    In the video, Ms. Jandrain talks about getting the C-suite (Chief or Top Managers) to support the use of social media. How did she and her employees get the top managers to listen and understand the importance of  unified and consistent brand identity across their social media platforms?

    How does McDonald's use social media for customer service?

    What could managers at other companies learn from McDonald's use of social media platforms?

  • Giving Tuesday Begins the Season of Helping Others

    Giving Tuesday is a day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It is the beginning of the "giving" season and helping others. Giving Tuesday encourages people to make donations to charity. 

    In the attached whitepaper, there are "8 Models for Community and Business Impact." For example, one model, "Loaned Employee," is based on Pfizer, Inc. which allows employees to be compensated to work on a pro bono project.

    Read the white paper and identify the model you would use if you were a manager. Explain your choice.

  • 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?