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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Celebrating the Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship

On Dec 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: advisors for entrepreneurs, The Simon Initiative, women entrepreneurs, women in business, Andrew Simon, Andrea Simon


A day filled with excitement and insights as women gather to launch the Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship.

It is not every day that you get a chance to do what you really want to do! Andi and I have been fortunate. We have been successful entrepreneurs who grew our businesses and are now sharing our experiences with others to help them do the same.

After I sold my company, Andi and I decided to make a contribution to Washington University in St Louis, something which would have a long-term impact, a multiplier effect, by connecting people throughout the university and even into the surrounding communities.

While it started as just an idea, like other entrepreneurs we knew that if we worked hard enough on it, something exciting would emerge. The Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship came out of a lot of good ideas from the talented people at Washington University.

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Blue Ocean Strategy® Can Create a New and Uncontested Market Space

On Dec 12, 2018 7:57:42 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Are you ready for your Blue Ocean Strategy?

Tired of competing against all those "others" that you have been benchmarking yourself against for years, without much benefit?

Isn't it time you started to "create a new market space" and make the competition irrelevant?

That is what a Blue Ocean Strategy can help you create: a market space where you are the "only" — at least for a little while.

Blue Ocean Strategy was conceived by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne in 2005 to describe the contrast between opportunity-driven business strategies based on creating new, uncontested market space (blue oceans) and competitor-driven models based on existing wealth and rivalry in the known market (red oceans).

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What Professional Services Risk If They Continue To Avoid Change

On Dec 12, 2018 8:56:56 AM

/ Andi and Andy Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, business culture

Despite how much people love the abstract notion of change, when it really happens, they hate it. That's because real, lasting change requires some big shifts in how you do things. And what we're seeing with many of our clients is that adapting to today's new technology, new business environments and new generations’ approach to the workplace is bumping up against people’s resistance to change and their understanding of what this thing called “culture” really is. 

Changing corporate culture is particularly difficult because the human brain is designed to rely on habits and certainty. When people hear the words, “We have to change the way we do things here,” their brains immediately look for ways to protect the status quo.

So given all the roadblocks that people's brains put up, how do you drive change?

The challenges of changing a culture, particularly a professional services firm

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Finding Not One But Two Blue Oceans

On Dec 10, 2018 1:30:51 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, advisors for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs

 

Believer in Blue Ocean Strategy®

Blue Ocean Strategy preaches that finding unmet needs is a critical element to continued organizational success. So, if you are a big believer in Blue Ocean Strategy, like I am, here are two companies that very successfully solve unmet needs.

The first is Warby Parker that provides extensive eyewear selection via the web. I am a user of their website, which lets me select exactly what I want in glasses at a reasonable price point. No longer do I have to settle for whatever my local eyeglass retailer has in stock.

I am also user of Harry’s, an online razor blade and grooming company. Great products that eliminate hassle. Best of all, I don’t have to suffer the inconvenience of shopping at a drug store or supermarket for razors.

The same guy co-founded both companies

Imagine my surprise when I picked up the November 2, 2018 Business Section of the NY Times and found out that the entrepreneur behind both businesses was the same person. Yes, Jeff Raider co-founded both Warby Parker and Harry’s. That’s pretty neat. And while I am not sure if Mr. Raider is a “card carrying” Blue Ocean Strategist, he certainly understands the underlying concept of a finding Blue Oceans.

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What Higher Education Needs Is A More Powerful, Blue Ocean Strategy®

On Dec 7, 2018 7:54:58 AM

/ Andi and Andy Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, Blue Ocean Strategy, Higher Education

A perfect storm of disconnect: higher education and changing times

At SAMC, we do a good deal of work with higher education institutions. Why? Because we're all about culture change and helping organizations find their Blue Ocean Strategy so they can adapt to what's coming (or in many cases, what's already here). And what we're finding is that today's colleges and universities desperately need both — culture change and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Case in point: If you look at classrooms from the years 1900, 1950 and today, you might be surprised, or dismayed, to see that they are all very much the same. Take a look:

While this antiquated educational system still hasn’t changed much, the world outside is changing faster than ever before. What to do?

Higher education needs to re-think its entire approach

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Hate Change? Anthropology Can Make You and Your People Love It!

On Nov 23, 2018 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: corporate anthropologist, business change, Culture Change

I often get calls from HR directors who say, "Help! I have a new CEO and he wants me to change the culture." And so I ask, "What's the problem?" And the HR person will say, "I don't really know what our culture is." And my answer to that is, "Well, what would the new CEO like it to become?" And they’ll say, "I'm not sure, but it isn't working so a new culture is what we need." Typically, they just want something different but they don't really know where they're going or how to get there. And they're not alone.

Many clients come to us because the times are changing and they know they have to adapt but they don't know how.

Change is something people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. Organizations hate it. But as corporate anthropologists, we are convinced that what works—yes, really works—to successfully change an organization are the methods, tools and techniques of anthropology

Over and over again, we find that high-performing organizations thrive when they unleash the talent, passion and potential of their people. That has everything to do with building a better culture, and changing a culture for the better is what corporate anthropology is all about. 

To explain the kind of work we do at SAMC to help organizations change, I recently produced this webinar. It will help you understand the pain and challenges of change and why we just hate to do it. Then it will take you through the building blocks needed to change people. I'll touch on a few key concepts here in this blog but to get the full story, you really need to watch the webinar. Just click on the graphic below.
To read the full transcript of the webinar, click here.

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Change Might Be Exactly What Your Organization Needs To Be Successful

On Nov 15, 2018 6:34:51 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: corporate anthropologist, business change, Culture Change

"Continuing to do what’s working is easy. What’s harder is to stop doing the things that aren’t working."

My thoughts exactly. In fact, in a recent Forbes article about how first-time CMOs need to focus on what to keep doing, start doing and sometimes more importantly, stop doing, I'm referenced as saying that just like individuals, fear, habit and hope can keep companies (even the most successful ones) from evolving. 

The article then mentions a previous Forbes blog of mine, "Why We're So Afraid of Change -- And Why That Holds Businesses Back," in which I discuss how so many businesses we work with at SAMC find themselves stuck, experiencing zero growth. The reason? (It's obvious to us but they can't see it.) In the midst of massive change all around them, they insist on using the same outmoded tactics to run their companies while wishing for the old world order to return. Good luck with that.

Beyond fearing change itself, many companies fail to see how the business environment itself is shifting.

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Entrepreneurs Do Customer Research Through Corporate Anthropology

On Oct 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, Business Anthropology

Is your company developing a new product or service? Are you planning a product launch? Do you want a better understanding of customer behavior and needs? Finally, are there major pain points which your product or service needs to solve?

Every successful entrepreneur knows that to grow your startup into a thriving business, you need to understand your customer. Easier said than done...particularly when you're about to introduce a new product or service into the market and compiling a group of statistics isn’t an option. That’s when the smartest course of action is to rely on corporate anthropology.

As an entrepreneur building a business, you can gain a crucial competitive advantage by using the methods and techniques of anthropology to help you tap into the behavioral patterns of your consumers. From a customer's first encounter with your product to the purchase stage to their return visit, anthropology enables you to get a better grip on how individuals interact with your brand.

As a result, you'll be able to successfully develop a product offer and a customer experience that meet consumers' demands and solve their challenges. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are a few examples of how to successfully apply anthropology to your business.

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Entrepreneurs, Be Smart and Pick the Right People to Help You Grow

On Oct 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: business leadership, Entrepreneurs, advisors for entrepreneurs


 

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted!

It is not easy being an entrepreneur. Starting an entirely new type of business is never easy. If you are in a startup mode, you often must turn out a product or service, make the sales calls, run the books and at the same time ensure that you are following your business plan. Often you don’t have people in the organization to help you reflect on this plan; think about the business, and bounce ideas off.

Getting the right advice is not easy

Where to go to get advice is a tough question? Unless you have a partner or a gifted staff member, where do you go?

Perhaps you like to talk with friends and your significant other. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. (I have been very fortunate because my wife is a business person and understands what I am saying, how I feel, and helps me sort through issues.)

Even that is not enough.

I was very fortunate to start a company, build it over 20 years and sell it for a lot of money. As successful as it all turned out, there were times where I felt like I was on a high wire without a safety net.

Do you have a safety net, yet?

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Hire Anthropologists! It Might Be Your Smartest Business Move

On Oct 13, 2018 7:27:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, Andrea Simon, business change management, business leadership

Recently I was interviewed by INSIDE Public Accounting on the business applications of corporate anthropology. I will be speaking at IPA's 2018 PRIME Symposium conference, so this interview served as a kind of sneak peek into what I will focus on in the culture change workshop I'll be conducting. (You can read the entire interview here.)

My focus was on the importance of observational research to better understand why people behave the way they do, especially when interacting with a product or service. By observing behaviors, anthropologists are trained to see things people do not always know they are doing. These observations then lead to all types of insights, changes to processes, modifications to services, and even innovations.

Equally important was how these "new" ideas and insights help organizations rethink what they are doing. Often, they can better hone in on their targets because now they have a deeper understanding of their own "ways of doing things" and how well they align (or don't align) with their customers' needs.

Since we know that change is painful, observing with fresh eyes how something is being done can often enable people to better see ways to change those habits. Pretty amazing insights emerge from a little anthropology!

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