BRW reports: “Lehman Brothers’ mission statement nodded in all the right directions. It told employees and investors that
We are one firm, defined by our unwavering commitment to our clients, our shareholders, and each other. Our mission is to build unrivalled partnerships with, and value for, our clients, through knowledge, creativity, and dedication of our people, leading to superior returns to our shareholders.
However, the investment bank did exactly the opposite, gorging on low-quality mortgages and nearly felling the global financial system. Rather than ‘set and forget’, [mission statements] should be part of a conversation between staff and management.”
(BRW August 26-October 6, 2010, p. 78)
According to a Business Insider article, the banking giant has aggregated numbers from the top ten PC makers in the world and determined that, while Apple only commands 7 percent of overall revenues in the PC market, its products account for 35 percent of the operating profits. See Full Article.
The Financial Times posed twenty questions to Richard Branson. Here are the two important ones that touch upon the idea of a fundamental objective.
How important is money?
My priority is learning and trying to improve the world – not being rich.
How do you want to be remembered?
That I have made a difference.
Read full interview.
Rarely is a Hollywood movie such a great teaching instrument. Duplicity gives a wonderful picture of how far large companies go in figuring out what their competition is up to. What’s more, the principles of game theory are very well illustrated by Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, who make a wonderful pair. I recommend that every Strategic Management student watch this film.
1. Articulate and sell your vision and build strong teams with skilled people who offset your weaknesses and excel at implementation.
2. Foster good relationships with your bank, clients, staff and other stakeholders.
3. Create processes and systems to get the best out of employees. People want to be part of a company where they can have input and be recognised for it.
1. Know your market. Research who your target customers are, what they can afford and how you can deliver your product at a more competitive price than your opposition.
From BRW, Feb 12-18, 2008
The Economist reports how Rolls-Royse figured out a different way to make money in the jet engine business:
The big pay-off from getting engines under more wings comes from selling spares and servicing them. This is because selling aircraft engines is like selling razors. The razor and engine make little if any profit; that comes later, from blades or spare parts and servicing (see chart 3). Gross margins from rebuilding engines are thought to be about 35%; analysts at Credit Suisse, an investment bank, estimate that some makers of jet engines get about seven times as much revenue from servicing and selling spare parts as they do from selling engines. Many analysts suspect that Rolls-Royce (and others) sell engines at a loss. Judging this is hard, though, because of the way Rolls-Royce accounts for long-term contracts, often by booking a profit on the sale for income that will be received only over many years. Rolls-Royce says that, on average, engines are sold at a profit. The trouble with selling razors at a loss is that someone else may make the blades to fit them. And the juicy margins in engine maintenance have indeed attracted a swarm of independent servicing firms (and engine-makers after each other’s business).
“It’s much harder doing than telling. Things take a lot longer than you initially think, and along the way you have to manage a broad stakeholder base, including your team, investors and the board. A chief executive is a management consultant who has to implement his own recommendations.”
In SMI we are doing a case study of how Dell developed a market positioning and orgnanizational strategy that allowed it to outcompete all other firms in the PC industry. Dell seemed unstoppable and. The Economist reports on the current troubles of Dell and how the returned founder of the firm tries to turn the firm around and restore it to glory, i.e. growth and profitability. Read Story
September 5, 2008 update: Dell plans to sell all its factories
Laudamotion is gambling that it can charge advertisers rather than rental customers for the cost of renting out small car in a city. If you drive more than 30 kilometers a day in a metropolitan area, you only pay 1 euro. The service is presently available in some major German and Austrian cities. Will LaudaMotion’s novel rental car business model work?
Blackberry’s dominate the business PDA email market. But Apple’s iPhone initially designed for consumers may invade the business market as well.
Henry Kravis: The thing that is really important as you think about the private equity industry is that it has changed dramatically. In the late nineties we made a lot of mistakes at KKR. I’m not saying it’s good that we made the mistakes, but we did learn from our mistakes, because we changed the way we do business. The first thing we did was to make sure we acted and thought like industrialists. The days of just financial engineering are over. You have to really operate the business. Our whole approach at KKR since 1999 is that our job begins the day we buy a company. I like to say any fool can buy a company. There’s plenty of financing around. But what do you do with a business to create value? We’ve had an in-house consulting firm since the early eighties, but today we have a very large one. These operating consultants put metrics into every business that we’re involved with, they improve productivity, they shorten the supply chain, they improve sales. We expect everyone at KKR to understand their industry from the bottom up, and talk to purchasing managers, marketing people, salespeople, customers, suppliers, and understand the metrics, understand the best practices, the economic drivers, what drives an industry.
Read Full Interview at Columbia Business School .