Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security


US thanksgiving black friday sales record set

Behavior, BlackFriday, Economy, Holidays, IBM, Marketing, comScore, salesEdward KiledjianComment

Although the final numbers arent in yet, many analysts are already predicting a record year for Black Friday sales. IBM is predicting a 24.3% increase sales over last year for black friday sales.

ComScore says online sales grew 26% (compared to 2010) totalling $816 million.

ShopperTrak said : “This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006.  Still, it’s just one day.  It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season. ”

Is it time to become an optimist about the economy? Not yet but its a good start. LEt's see how sales hold up through the holiday period.

4 Tips to remember when Outsourcing to China and beyond

Behavior, Economy, Investments, Management, Outsourcing, Partnerships, Risk Management, StrategyEdward KiledjianComment

I have spoken and written about outsourcing to China for a couple of years now. Although China does require special handling, many of the high level recommendations are the same as regardless of where you decide to outsource.

So here is a summary style high level overview of some of the important considerations:

Ask Why: Ask yourself exactly why you are outsourcing. It is because you want to reduce your costs, access specialized skills or as a risk management exercise? Understanding exactly why you want to outsource should be your first question. Take the time to get granular and as detailed as possible. If you want to save money, then decide exactly how much and how? Time spent thinking about this will help your decision making and later negotiations.

Ask Who: Once you’ve decided why you want to outsource, then the next logical question is who. What type of provider is best positioned to meet your why requirements? What is the ideal size of the provider? What is the ideal geographic footprint of the provider? What type of experience or client list does the ideal provider have?

Ask How: If I had to pinpoint one reason why most outsourcing deals fail to meet client expectations is SM&G (aka Service Management and Governance).  You should have as much SM&G that you need to keep the delivery adequate and the relationship healthy but no more.  Think about how you will measure successfully delivery and how you expect the vendor to report on it. What methodology should they use? How will you periodically check their reporting? Some aspects of SM&G that get forgotten are data privacy, IP handling, financial performance, etc. When dealing with offshore providers (India, Malaysia, Philippines, China, etc.), this can get doubly complicated because many times the small to mid size providers won’t have local presence and may have communication issues. Make sure all of this is clearly thought out and documented in your contract. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Chinese Model Cities: The Chinese government has built the concept of Chinese Model Cities. These cities are locations where government encourages a specific type of product or service. When dealing with China, it is important to consider this fact and deal with organizations that deliver the product or service you want from the designated Chinese model city for that product or service. Failing to do so may lead to huge headaches.

This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully it has given you food for thought. If you have questions, feel free to contact me using the Contact Form.

Management versus Leadership

Apple, Behavior, Management, Organization, StrategyEdward KiledjianComment

As people read the new authorized Steve Jobs biography, they are realizing that although he was one of the greatest thinkers of our time, he seemed to lack “management skills”. This brought up an interesting management debate about which is more important for the success of a company: management or leadership.

What is Management?

Management is the art and science of controlling people, processes and technology to deliver maximum value through the prism of corporate values and beliefs.

What is Leadership?

Leadership is the gift of vision and direction. A true leader can think outside of the proverbial box and drive the business towards a completely new and yet undiscovered direction.

Leadership without Management

In an organization with a strong leader and weak management, the vision and direction are there. The company knows exactly where the leader wants to take them, however execution is usually sloppy which may even lead to the inability to exploit an otherwise fantastic new opportunity.

Management without Leadership

In this scenario, the company will lack vision and will exploit its existing position. The company may be a lean and mean operating machine but will eventually shrivel and die because their market will become smaller and smaller.

Leadership and Management

When a company has both, they are unstoppable and Apple is a prime example. Its fearless leadership duo was lead by Steve Jobs and Jon Ive. Two incredibly talented visionaries: one created new markets and the other one ensured the products had high desirability though impeccable design.

On the other end was the management mastermind Tim Cook. Many have said Tim is the supply chain genius that crafted their unique vendor management strategy that gives Apple unique access to brand new technology for 12-18 months.

This is a great time to take a step back and evaluate your own company. Who is leading your company? Does it have a little of both?


Research shows that Nice Guys DO Finish Last

Behavior, Management, Money, Motivation, Organization, Persuasion, Team buildingEdward KiledjianComment

If you have read any self-help books, you have undoubtedly read the adage “Nice guys finish last”. Now research from Notre Dame and Cornell Universities show how being too agreeable negatively impacts your earnings. 

More recent research from Stanford, Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon) continued on the same path showing that people who are overly caring, for overs, generally tend to make bad leaders. In particular, being overly nice generally means that you will likely fail in 2 important leadership domains: prestige and dominance. Prestige comes from sharing within their group while withholding gave the person dominance. 

The researchers said:

We predicted that contribution behavior would have opposite effects on two forms of status – prestige and dominance – depending on its consequences for the self, in-group and out-group members. When  the only way to benefit in-group members was by harming out-group members (Study 1),  contributions increased prestige and decreased dominance compared to free-riding. Adding the  option to benefit in-group members without harming out-group members (Study 2) decreased the  prestige and increased the perceived dominance of those who chose to benefit in-group members via intergroup competition. Finally, sharing resources with both in-group and out-group members decreased perceptions of both prestige and dominance compared to sharing them with  in-group members only (Study 3). Prestige and dominance differentially mediated the effects of contribution behavior on leader election, exclusion from the group, and choices of a group  representative for an intergroup competition.

Their research showed that in situations of group competition, individuals preferred having a dominant leader over a prestigious one (since the prestigious individuals were perceived as more submissive). So nice guys (the ones that share) are seem as prestigious and thus nor thought worthy of leadership during trying competitive times.

You can therefore assume that when things are going great and no major competition or risk is felt, people then prefer a prestigious boss.