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Fixing Business Schools
04/23/2013

By Rod Collins

Business schools have increasingly come under fire because the leaders of many of the mighty companies who have fallen over the past several years are graduates from elite MBA programs. Concerned about the possible impact on their endowments, many B-schools are beefing up their curricula by adding ethics courses or adopting Hippocratic-type oaths for their graduates. Although well intentioned, these quick fixes are not likely to have a lasting effect on the business community because they don't address the fundamental root of the problem.

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Why Planning Is No Longer a Strategic Activity
04/16/2013

By Rod Collins

Whether starting a new initiative, dealing with an unexpected  crisis, or solving an emerging business problem, the first step of the traditional manager is usually to draw up a plan of action. Planning provides comfort in the face of complexity because, by defining and sequencing a set of action steps, the manager has the sense that a reliable path to a certain outcome has been put in place. Planning assumes that the world is both stable and predictable.

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Is Jim Collins Looking For The Keys Under The Lamppost?
04/09/2013

By Rod Collins

Jim Collins is one of the most influential business thinkers of our time. His distinct methodology of identifying matched pairs of companies to shed light on how and why high performers behave differently has captivated the readers of his best sellers, Built to LastGood to Great, and How the Mighty Fall. The contrast between what works and what doesn’t work creatively encapsulated in compelling visuals such as the “Flywheel” or the “Hedgehog Concept” has provided harried executives with much needed insights and grounding in an increasingly complex world.

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You Have To Slow Down To Move Fast
03/26/2013

By Rod Collins

One of the biggest challenges confronting business leaders today is learning how to manage at the speed of accelerating change. In times of great change, business advantage belongs to those who can move fast. But, as many of leaders are discovering, moving fast is not as easy as one might think. That’s because those who have mastered this new challenge have learned the paradoxical rule of speed: You have to slow down to move fast.

Perhaps no company has embraced this paradox and used its power to create competitive advantage better than the Toyota Motor Company. Well over 50 years ago, Toyota turned its back on conventional management wisdom, embraced new ways of thinking and acting, and, in the process, transformed a fledgling Japanese carmaker into the world’s largest automotive enterprise.

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How Design Thinking Is Redesigning Business
03/19/2013

By Rod Collins

Whether we like it or not, today's business leaders find themselves in a completely different world with a completely different set of rules. They are rapidly discovering that a 19th-century management model is ill equipped to handle the complex challenges of a 21st-century post-digital world. Tim Brown's Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation is an insightful guide for business leaders who are ready to accept that managing at today's speed of change is only possible if they change how they manage.

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Healthcare Reform: Five Key Strategic Areas for Carriers
03/12/2013

By Ken Barrette and Robert Moss

In a few short months, activities related to the establishment of the new healthcare exchanges will shift into high gear. In July, the administration will begin educating the uninsured on how they can select a carrier and enroll in this new health benefits program. Beginning in October, open enrollment will begin and set in motion the single largest entry of new enrollees into the health insurance market. The historic program goes live in January 2014 as tens of millions of people join the ranks of the insured.

As carriers engage in their final operational preparations for the launch of the new state exchanges and get ready to welcome their newest members, they may also want to focus on five key strategic areas to assure a successful transition into the new world of healthcare.

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Sometimes a Cup of Coffee Is More Than a Cup of Coffee
03/05/2013

by Rod Collins

When Howard Schultz bought Starbucks in 1987, it was just another coffee shop in Seattle with 17 stores and 100 employees. By understanding its market and investing in a value proposition to deliver excellent service to a large untapped segment of coffee drinkers, Starbucks has created a whole new industry with over 10,000 stores of its own along with several look-alike competitors. Starbucks discovered that sometimes a cup of coffee is more than a cup of coffee - at least for a sizable customer segment of 25 million middle class workers.

In a fast paced world of ever increasing change, this sizable group of customers needs more than just a cup of coffee. They also want a place between home and work where they can slow down, relax, take a breath, check e-mails, or just chat with someone who knows their names.

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