New Video Series – Cinema Meets Business Strategy

Check out our Powered Up video series where we use concepts and situations from a variety of movies to apply to real business problems. Join us every Tuesday and Friday for new videos on business strategy. We’ll look at topics such as: Is Jerry Maguire’s “mission statement” a framework for customer relationship management? Can Batman’s discovery of Bane’s weakness in The Dark Knight Rises teach us about competing against market leaders? What talent management strategies […]

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3 Reasons Your Family Business is Doomed to Fail

Family-run companies make up a large portion of the 28 million small businesses (less than 500 employees + revenue restrictions – SBA.gov) in the United States. While many who start businesses dream of one day turning it into an empire along the lines of Walmart, Trump Organization, or S.C. Johnson & Son, most remain on a much smaller scale, yet build great organizations. However, the dynamics of a family business can either create a generational […]

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Profession Does Not Define Leadership

I am a believer that some of the biggest life lessons can be derived from some of the simplest events. Now this is not to say that if you start waxing cars, sanding floors and painting fences you will become a karate black belt. It means that as leaders, executives, or managers, the knowledge or abilities which have propelled our careers may have come from experiences such as a summer job as a teenager, that […]

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Smart vs. Talented

Throughout my career, whether working with clients or interviewing for jobs; managers have used two words on a regular basis to define what they are looking for: smart and talent. I’ve heard phrases like “I need smart people who can jump in and figure it out” or “I need talented people who can take the lead on this”. In many instances, the words were used interchangeably however there are distinct differences between them and both […]

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Reinventing the Nonprofit Business Model

At the core of their existence, nonprofit organizations are focused on people.  Their business is to serve the public interests of their targeted constituency.  When speaking of the structure of the business entity, the term “nonprofit” is very vague and often misunderstood.  By definition, a nonprofit is “an organization not established for the purpose of making a profit.”  The greatest misconception is that nonprofit organizations are not allowed to make a profit. Unlike for-profit companies, […]

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Can “The Force” Teach Us How to Run a Corporation?

It’s hard not to appreciate a film series that started in 1977 and has spawned seven films (with two more to come) and amassed almost $5 billion in box office receipts. Although impressive, the more than $30 billion dollars in merchandising alone is what has made the Star Wars franchise arguably the greatest financial success the motion picture industry has ever seen. As a movie fan and Star Wars enthusiast, I have always contemplated the […]

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Is Benchmarking Off the Missteps of Competitors Feasible?

During my senior year of college, I interviewed for a job with JP Morgan Chase. The interviewer, a VP in the Investment Bank, asked me this question, “If you could spend 2 minutes with Jamie Dimon (who had been recently tapped to take over as CEO) to advise him on how we could go from the 2nd largest bank to the 1st, what would you say?” I replied, “First, let’s look at the number one […]

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5 Quick Cost Reduction Strategies

There is one topic that business leaders are commonly faced with that draw groans from employees. We know that topic as cost reduction. This topic draws numerous reactions ranging from worries that “Free Lunch Fridays” are going away to worrying if staff hours or headcounts will be cut. In a previous article, I spoke of how to responsibly reduce costs in an organization. In this instance, I would like to give cost reduction strategies to […]

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Do I Need a Consultant?

As a consultant, my primary function is to solve a business problem that a client is having that they cannot resolve themselves. The reasons they cannot handle this internally can stem from a number of issues including: lack of expertise, lack of internal resources, or time available. However, there are questions that questions organizations usually have when determining if the need a consultant. One of the common analogies I use to describe consulting when asked […]

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Cost Cutting with Care

Business can be a complicated topic for many people, and not just for those who are not business people. A former manager of mine once gave a very basic concept to a client who just couldn’t grasp why their organization was losing money. My manager, who was one of our firm’s Sr. Partners, told this executive, “Business is basically revenue minus expenses. You can’t spend more than you’re making. So you have two options: spend […]

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