Archive for April, 2009

Full Combat Business

16.04.2009 No comments

Business in an era when 1+1 = 2 (not 3)combat

Most articles that discuss a company’s mission, vision, strategy, or even marketing often cite Nike and their tag line “just do it”. It is also well known that during an earlier time Nike had a different internal slogan of a completely different sort:  “beat Adidas”. About the same time Nike had their aggressive slogan, the company I worked for had a similarly aggressive internal slogan of “kill Weston-Loral” (our geographically closest direct competitor).

Why is it that these old style, aggressive slogans, that target a competitor are now so rare? Why are aspirational slogans like “just do it” all the rage? What can we learn about the effectiveness of these slogans in their time? My thesis is that such slogans were the products of their market environments and that much of the same market environment has returned leading to the conclusion that slogans and their consequential real action need to change back to the old again. Read more…

Business Relationship by Design

06.04.2009 No comments

balanceThe balance of alternatives

Almost every external facing business relationship requires activation in the form of a negotiation and a contract..  When I see good deals stall on small details it is usually because the discussions were initiated on a poor foundation.  Getting the ‘big picture’ correct before getting involved in the negotiation and contract details  is critical:  Is this a win-win for both sides?  How will healthy, normal communications take place during the execution period of the contract?  What will happen when dissatisfaction, mistrust, or irrationality steps into the relationship?

This last question is rarely considered at the ‘design stage’ but it should be.  Far too many contracts amplify the smallest conflicts by giving enforcement powers and ultimatums to one side or another.  Look at the default terms and conditions from a big company like BMW and imagine that one or both sides are dissatisfied.  The lawyers usually have ensured that there are lots of ‘sharp sticks’ and other weapons because they want to have a good foundation for a lawsuit.  Courtrooms are  “the nuclear option” where there are no winners or losers; there are only losers and bigger losers at the end of any court case.   For this reason it is important that business people include a soft conflict resolution processes that will reduce tensions and that all ‘nuclear options’ in the contract have safety devices lest they be used too quickly. Read more…