The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.
So, let’s go with some discoveries from the week!
#1 – Blue Ocean Strategy
#2 – Are Your Team Members Lonely
#3 – How Incumbents Survive and Thrive
#4 – Strategy for a Digital World
#5 – Teaching Smart People How to Learn
Blue Ocean Strategy
Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Summary: The best way to drive profitable growth? Stop competing in overcrowded industries. In those red oceans, companies try to outperform rivals to grab bigger slices of existing demand. As the space gets increasingly crowded, profit and growth prospects shrink. Products become commoditized. Ever-more-intense competition turns the water bloody. How to avoid the fray? Kim and Mauborgne recommend creating blue oceans — uncontested market spaces where the competition is irrelevant. In blue oceans, you invent and capture new demand, and you offer customers a leap in value while also streamlining your costs.
“… Consider Cirque du Soleil—which invented a new industry that combined elements from the traditional circus with elements drawn from the sophisticated theater. In just 20 years, Cirque raked in revenues that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey —the world’s leading circus—needed more than a century to attain…“
“… It’s not about technology innovation. Blue oceans seldom result from technological innovation. Often, the underlying technology already exists—and blue ocean creators link it to what buyers value…“
“… Never use the competition as a benchmark. Instead, make the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for both yourself and your customers…”
Are Your Team Members Lonely
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: Constance N. Hadley and Mark Mortensen
Summary: Despite the prevalence of team-based collaboration in the workplace, many employees feel isolated on the job. Managers should view loneliness as a systemic and structural problem, one that may require a new approach to teamwork. This can include proactively monitoring the psychological well-being of employees and nurturing “home base teams” to help deeper connections to colleagues.
“… Group dynamics can actually diminish overall creativity by stifling certain voices while amplifying others. In contrast to in-person meetings, where people tend to engage in simultaneous cross-talk, virtual meetings make it nearly impossible for more than one person to speak at once…“
“… We’re forced to focus on an individual input, so it’s easier for less vocal participants to be heard than in the physical world, where they’re often drowned out. That addresses at least part of the challenge of having all voices represented and heard in creative meetings…“
“… Research by the authors has found that the composition, duration, and staffing of teams can trigger or exacerbate feelings of social disconnection. The features of modern teamwork tend to foster shallow, narrow, and ephemeral relationships rather than true human connections. Managers should view loneliness as a systemic and structural problem, one that may require a new approach to teamwork…”
How Incumbents Survive and Thrive
Source: Harvard Business School
Author: Julian Birkinshaw
Summary: While many believe that technological disruption has been rampant for decades, the internet has actually caused much less creative destruction than people think. An analysis of the Fortune 500 and the Global 500, in fact, reveals that most sectors have been surprisingly stable over the past 25 years. Very few firms on those lists today were launched after 1995.
“… When you look at how the makeup of the Fortune 500 and the Global 500 has changed since the rise of the internet, that story doesn’t hold. Only 17 of the companies in the 2020 Fortune 500 didn’t exist in 1995. The picture is similar internationally…“
“… So how many of today’s Fortune 500 didn’t exist back in 1995? Seventeen. The other 483 have been around, in some shape or form, since that year. When you look at the Global 500, the picture is similar…“
“… Industry transformation happens very slowly, and incumbents can successfully respond to disruptive challenges in one of four ways: retrench, fight back, double down on existing assets, or diversify into new businesses...”
Strategy for a Digital World
Author: Simon Blackburn, Jeff Galvin, Laura LaBerge, and Evan Williams
Summary: By accelerating digital adoption, the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap between the top and bottom companies on the power curve of economic profit, amplifying winner-takes-most dynamics and further separating digital leaders from also-rans. Competitive differentiation, now more than ever, emerges from superior digital capabilities and agile delivery.
“… Dynamic resource allocation shifts money, talent, and management attention to where they will deliver the most value to your company…“
“… Legacy companies may find that remote working and the mass migration to digital channels have helped them discover unexpected savings from cheaper customer interactions and—in some cases—the ability to let go of real estate as they shift toward hybrid working…“
“… Using enterprise agility to meet rapidly changing customer needs can result, unsurprisingly, in a better customer journey…”
Teaching Smart People How to Learn
Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Chris Argyris
Summary: Most companies not only have tremendous difficulty addressing this learning dilemma; they aren’t even aware that it exists. The reason: they misunderstand what learning is and how to bring it about. As a result, they tend to make two mistakes in their efforts to become a learning organization.
“… Professionals embody the learning dilemma: they are enthusiastic about continuous improvement – and often the biggest obstacle to its success…“
“… The very success of professionals in education helps explain the problems they have with learning…“
“… Performance evaluation is tailor-made to push professionals into the doom loop…”
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