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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Some Thoughts on Strategy: When Insiders Might Know Best

On Sep 26, 2016 7:06:39 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Corporate Anthropology, business strategy

Last week I picked up the MIT Sloan Management Review Fall 2016 issue while waiting for dinner. I turned to the last page and read an article by Teppo Felin entitled: “When Strategy Walks Out the Door.” What was really important was the need to include employees in both strategy and execution.

Teppo Felin is a professor of strategy at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, UK. His article cites examples of employees who were disenfranchised at their place of employment and then went on to build successful companies out of rejected ideas.

Outsiders vs. Insiders

The thesis of Felin’s article is that senior management at companies often hire outsiders to develop strategies rather than turning to the insiders—the people who might really understand the company and the markets in order to develop effective strategy.

At Simon Associates Management Associates (SAMC), we fully support Mr. Felin’s position. As a matter of fact, we are often hired to help companies find new markets or develop new strategies. However, we are very careful NOT to take the lead but rather, to act as the facilitator in developing strategies. I think this is a very important differentiation, illustrating how we view our work with clients. We always tell management, “Do not outsource your eyes!”

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How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 1

On Sep 26, 2016 3:03:23 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy

The phenomenally successful book, "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, powerfully teaches business leaders of all stripes how to "go where the profits and growth are and the competition isn’t."

As a trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy® who has been working with clients for years on how to find their "Blue Ocean," I have increasingly become aware that the one chapter really missing from the book is a “How to” chapter. This, then, is a blog-size version of what I feel that chapter should be, with the goal of helping you find your own “Blue Ocean.”

First things first: what the heck is a Blue Ocean Strategy?

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Why Colleges Need To Help Graduates Find Jobs

On Sep 19, 2016 2:37:22 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

Several weeks ago I published a blog entitled: “Better Paying Jobs for College Graduates: Why Higher Ed Needs to Do a Lot More Than Hand Out Diplomas.” My thesis was that there is a crying need for colleges and universities to prepare students today for high-paying jobs in the workforce. I then went on to list a number of points about what colleges are doing (or not doing) along these lines, and if not, what they need to do.

I also made the point that for a nation, it is deplorable for higher ed institutions to let students incur great debt for a degree that only qualifies them for low paying jobs, consequently, hampering them from enjoying the “good life.”

A lot of emotions out there for the failings of higher ed

Apparently, I hit a raw nerve and elicited a number of comments to my blog and tweets. I think it would be appropriate to share some of those comments and my responses.

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How Corporate Anthropology Transforms Observation Into Innovation

On Sep 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, On the Brink

Recently, I was very excited to be interviewed by Mukesh Gupta for his podcast, PBTO (Pushing Beyond the Obvious). For our session, “Transforming Observation into Innovation,” Mukesh was in India and I was in New York. We covered a lot of ground and had a great time doing it!

During the 58-minute podcast, I share insights and stories about what corporate anthropology is all about and how it can help organizations change their culture, create new products and services, understand their customers better and most importantly, drive growth.

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Why Higher Ed Needs To Do A Lot More Than Hand Out Diplomas

On Sep 7, 2016 4:39:21 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Education, Higher Education

Last month I blogged about the urgent need for colleges to prepare today’s students for high-paying jobs in the workforce. I made the following points:

  1. College is expensive enough. Let’s not put young people into debt without any way out. Graduating into a minimum wage job doesn’t cut it and makes the return on investment for a college education microscopic.
  2. Better-paying jobs that allow for lifelong skill-building is key. Investing four years and a whole lot of money is tough, particularly when the only jobs graduates can find once they get out are part-time minimum wage without benefits. As a career path, this makes no sense.
  3. Is a classical liberal arts education still viable or is workplace skill-building needed? Or do we need both?
  4. Colleges and universities as institutions must bear some level of responsibility for their graduates’ careers. It’s a two-way street. The higher education industry doesn’t stop when a student graduates. Its role can last far longer with better results.
  5. Industry, through relationships with educational institutions, must be an active part of the solution.

Now I’d like to build on these observations with some additional comments. 

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Could Corporate Anthropology Help A Struggling Hospital Adapt To Changing Times?

On Sep 7, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology

In my book “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights,” I write about one of my marketing firm’s favorite experiences working with a medical center that was literally “on the brink.”

In 2006, I was hired as a consultant at a 400-bed Midwest medical center that was losing close to $20 million a year, was leaking patients to its two competitors, had an entrenched staff (many of whom had been there for their entire careers) who didn’t want to change, and was having trouble establishing a connection with the population it was supposed to serve. On top of all that, it was not considered the area’s go-to medical facility unless you were poor, uninsured, seriously sick or injured, burned or a high risk mother-to-be.

The center’s leadership team was looking for someone to help them better understand their institution’s brand positioning so they could reinvigorate growth, re-brand the hospital for a changing market, and provide internal staff with a strong identity which would hopefully engender pride in their work. Here's what we did.

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