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A five-stage framework on “How the Mighty Fall”

…“Even so, a staged framework of how the mighty fall did emerge from the data. It’s not the definitive framework of corporate decline –companies clearly can fall without following this framework exactly (from factors like fraud, catastrophic bad luck, scandal, and so forth)—but it is an accurate description of the cases we studied for this effort…”

…”The model consists of five stages that proceed in sequence. Let me summarize the five stages here and then provide a more detailed description of each stage in the following pages.”

…“Stage 1: Hubris born of success. Great enterprises can become insulated by success; accumulated momentum can carry an enterprise forward, for a while, even if its leaders make poor decisions or lose discipline. Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success virtually as an entitlement, and they lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place. When the rhetoric of success (“We’re successful because we do these specific things”) replaces penetrating understanding and insight (“We’re successful because we understand why we do these specific things and under what conditions they would no longer work”), decline will follow…”

…“Stage 2: Undisciplined pursuit of more. Hubris from Stage 1 (“We’re so great, we can do anything”) leads right into Stage 2, the Undisciplined Pursuit of More—more scale, more growth, more acclaim, more of whatever those in power see as “success”. Companies in Stage 2 stray from the disciplined creativity that led them to greatness in the first place, making undisciplined leaps into areas where they cannot be great or growing faster than they can achieve with excellence, or both. …”

…“Stage 3: Denial of risk and peril. As companies move into Stage 3, internal warning signs begin to mount, yet external results remain strong enough to “explain away” disturbing data or to suggest that the difficulties are “temporary” or “cyclic” or “not that bad”… In Stage 3, leaders discount negative data, amplify positive data, and put a positive spin on ambiguous data. Those in power start to blame external factors for setbacks rather than accept responsibility…”

…“Stage 4: Grasping for salvation. The cumulative peril and/or risks-gone-bad of Stage 3 assert themselves, throwing the enterprise into a sharp decline visible to all. The critical question is, How does its leadership respond? By lurching for a quick salvation… Those who grasp for salvation have fallen into Stage 4. Common “saviors” include a charismatic visionary leader, a bold but untested strategy, a radical transformation, a dramatic cultural revolution … or any number of other silverbullet solutions. Initial results from taking dramatic action may appear positive, but they do not last.”

…“Stage 5: Capitulation to irrelevance or death. The longer a company remains in Stage 4, repeatedly grasping for silver bullets, the more likely it will spiral downward. In Stage 5, accumulated setbacks and expensive false starts erode financial strength and individual spirit to such an extent that leaders abandon all hope of building a great future … and in the most extreme cases, the enterprise simply dies outright”

Jim Collins (2009) HOW THE MIGHTY FALL and some companies never give in; Pp 19-23; Ed. The Random House Business Books; London; UK.

Check Jim Collins book page here. Buy the book from here.

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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Management, Uncategorized

 

Yo, emprendedor

Mi objetivo con estas líneas es desmontar el mito exclusivista del emprendedor. Me resisto a las teorías de fórmulas mágicas de cómo emprender y a los argumentos que afirman que  “emprendedor se nace y no se hace”. Todos nacemos siendo emprendedores. Emprender es vivir. Todos, cuando empezamos a andar, elegimos nuestra carrera, cambiamos de trabajo, empezamos una nueva relación o decidimos hacer un máster, estamos de alguna manera emprendiendo. Si sabemos identificar y entender las razones que nos llevan a cambiar, a crecer o a crear, encontraremos los secretos que para cada uno de nosotros significa emprender. No escuches a los gurús del emprendimiento. Busca dentro de ti, encuentra la fuerza para hacerlo y lánzate; el camino de la aventura de emprender es el mejor maestro y tú eres el gurú.

Creo que son tres los elementos fundamentales de esta aventura personal de emprender. Tres elementos a los que todos tenemos acceso, y que con la necesaria dedicación uno puede dominar construyendo unos sólidos cimientos sobre los que emprender. Los tres elementos son la ambición, la creatividad y el miedo.

La ambición alberga nuestras ganas de cambiar y de crecer. Se asienta en una curiosidad intelectual que nos lleva a preguntarnos el por qué de las cosas y nos anima a cambiar lo que no nos gusta. La ambición sana es muy poderosa. Las ganas todo lo pueden. En la aventura de emprender te encontrarás seguro con muchas dificultades, y es importante tener el buen ánimo de quererlas superar. No se trata de saber si habrá o no problemas; los habrá seguro y es importante recordar qué te animó a hacer lo que quieres hacer, y, desde la fuerza de la motivación, enfrentarse a los infortunios.

Lo más importante que nos da la ambición es determinación y dirección. No hay buen viento para el que no sabe dónde va. Si sabes lo que quieres es fácil poner todas las fuerzas en ese objetivo. La ambición nos orienta y nos centra…

El segundo elemento fundamental de la aventura de emprender es la creatividad. La creatividad es una consecuencia derivada de la ambición: cuando quieres cambiar algo que no te gusta, cuando quieres conseguir algo que deseas, es necesario crear. Crear implica acción, y la acción es siempre buena… No es necesario ser el primero, pero sí lo es hacerlo de forma distinta y ser más eficiente, crear valor…

El tercer componente de la aventura de emprender es el miedo, la superación de los miedos para ser más exacto. El miedo es algo intrínseco al ser humano como especie biológica. El miedo nos protege y nos hace prudentes. De otra forma hubiésemos desaparecido devorados por leones o estrellados en precipicios. Sentir miedo nos alerta y nos pone en situación de defensa. Todo esto nos ha protegido durante decenas de miles de años y es una parte muy íntima de quienes somos.

El problema es que en los tiempos que vivimos, los acechos del entorno ya no necesitan del miedo que nos ha protegido en nuestra evolución: no hay leones que nos puedan atacar por la noche, ni fuegos de los que tengamos que salir corriendo. Nuestras vidas son más seguras, pero el miedo sigue presente en nuestro ADN como lo hacía hace 10.000 años. Es importante entender que este útil compañero de viaje es muchas veces un estorbo más que una ayuda en las dinámicas de la sociedad desarrollada del siglo XXI. Este miedo que nos protege y nos hace prudentes, también nos agarrota y nos inmoviliza; nos hace complacientes y cómodos; nos convence de no aventurarnos a emprender.

Es importante ser consciente de estos miedos; reconocerlos, identificarlos y separarlos  del proceso normal de razonamiento a la hora de tomar decisiones. Los miedos se disfrazan de convincentes razones que generalmente nos retienen en el inmovilismo.

En mi experiencia, la mejor forma de enfrentarse a la superación de los miedos es primero reconocer el miedo y segundo entender de qué está hacho: si es miedo al fracaso, miedo a la inseguridad económica, miedo a dejar el trabajo actual o miedo a liderar y tomar decisiones. El miedo es la parte más complicada de emprender porque es la que se disfraza, la que se esconde y encuentra mil razones para no cambiar.

La aventura de emprender es apasionante y todos deberíamos explorarla de alguna manera. Al margen de los suculentos beneficios económicos que se pueden derivar existe una tremenda recompensa de satisfacción y crecimiento personal. Se aprovecha mucho más la vida cuando los sueños se intentan, los miedos se vencen y se prueba la suerte.

Hernández, Bernardo. Desmontando el mito exclusivista del emprendedor in Consejos de inversores a iniciadores. Ed. Bubok Publishing S.L.  Spain 2010

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Yes, #HootSuite is working now. I will t

Yes, #HootSuite is working now. I will try not to manage my social media from here until the lads from #GoogleWave make some integration

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The machine that changed the world…… 20 years ago!!

“ So far we’ve talked about innovations that involve the introduction in production vehicles of ideas already fairly well understood on the technical level. We’ve listed a number of advances of this type in the 1980s, and many more will be available in the 1990s -in particular, the application of electronics to mechanical vehicle systems such as vehicle suspension and the availability of mobile communications at lower cost in a much wider variety of vehicles. But what about epochal innovations– really big leaps in technological know-how such as would be entailed in workable fuel-cell power units or all-plastic body structures or sophisticated navigation and congestion-avoidance systems? As we will see, the 1990s may prove a time for such innovations. Can lean producers respond to these much more daunting challenges?

In fact, the world auto industry has lived during its first century in a benign environment -demand for its products has increased continually, even in the most developed countries; space has been available in most areas to expand road networks greatly; and the earth’s atmosphere has been able to tolerate ever-growing use of motor vehicles, with minor technical fixes in the 1970s and 1980s designed to solve smog problems in congested urban areas. Shortly, the environment for operating motor vehicles may become much more demanding.

Demand for cars is now close so saturation in North America, Japan, and the western half of Europe. A small amount of incremental growth will be possible in the 1990s, but by the end of the century producers in these markets will need to provide consumers with something new if they want to increase theirs sales volume (measured in dollars or marks or yen rather than units). Moreover, the growth of vehicle use and increasing resistance to road building have made the road systems of these regions steadily more congested, gradually stripping motor-vehicle use of its pleasure…” Pp135-137

Lexus Hybrid Drive Car

The Luxury Hybrid machine from Toyota

“ …Our goal is to specify the ideal enterprise in much the way buyers of such a craft-built cars as the Aston Martin used to specify the car of their dreams. Unfortunately, no such dream machine currently exists, so we will create it: Multiregional Motors (MRM).

The management challenge, we believe, is simple in concept: to devise a form of enterprise that functions smoothly on a multiregional basis and gains the advantage of close contact with local markets and the presence as an insider in each of the major regios. At the same time, it must benefit from access to systems for global production, supply, product development, technology acquisition, finance, and distribution…

…The key features of what we call Multiregional Motors are as follows:

An integrated, global personnel system that promotes personnel from any country in the company as if nationality did not exist. Achieving this goal obviously will require great attention to learning languages and socialization and a willingness on the part of younger personnel to work for much of their career outside their home country. However, we already see evidence that younger managers find career paths of this type attractive….

A set of mechanisms for continuous, horizontal information flow among manufacturing, supply systems, product development, technology acquisition, and distribution. The best way to put these mechanisms in place is to develop strong shusa-led teams for product development, which brings these skills together with a clear objective…

Teams would stay together for the life of the product, and team members would then be rotated to other product-development teams, quite possibly in other regions and even in different specialties (for example, product planning, supplier coordination, marketing). In this way the key mechanism of information flow would be employees themselves as they travel among technical specialties and across the regions of the company. Everyone would stay fresh and a broad network of horizontal information channels would develop across the company…

A mechanism for coordinating the development of new products in each region and facilitating their sale as niche products in other regions -without producing lowest-common denominator products. The logical way to accomplish this goal is to authorize each region to develop a full set of products for its regional market. Other regions may order these products for cross shipment as niche products wherever demand warrants…” Pp 223 – 227

Womack P. James,  T. Jones Daniel &  Roos Daniel (1990) The machine that changed the world. How Lean Production revolutionized the Global Car Wars. Ed. Simon & Schuster UK, Ltd. UK.

 

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My favourites from the IAA

Lexus Hybrid Drive; The best hybrid power train

Lexus Hybrid Drive; The best hybrid power train

Lexus LF-Ch: Alternativer Anspruch

Lexus LF-Ch: Alternativer Anspruch

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Some pictures from the IAA 2009 in Frankfurt

As the book ‘ Springtime for Germany: or How I learned to Love lederhosen’  discusses, I decided to spend my holidays in Germany. After hiring a car in Düsseldorf, we drove 1800 km around Deutschland, including Hambur, Celler, Braunsweig, Melzungen, and visiting the 2009 edition of the IAA in Frankfurt.

I have been present in the rise of electric and hybrid vehicles between nearly all the main automobile manufacturers and I would like to share the images that have shocked me more. I hope you enjoy them aswell, you have still time to visit the Messe until next weekend.

BMW Efficient Dynamics? Nice for the fair, but difficult to produce I guess

BMW's concept car

BMW bet for Mini's Electric engine

BMW bet for Mini's Electric engine

HAMANN Customization of Mercedes SLR. Good example of craft manufacturing

HAMANN Customization of Mercedes SLR

Zonda Roadster from Pagani Automobili. Can you die-press that shape from a metal sheet? Let me know

Zonda Roadster from Pagani Automobili

Very nice piece of Mechatronics

Very nice piece of Mechatronics

Melkus, what a baroque car, but no cash in my pocket for buying it in site

Melkus

Hyunday Electri System is not bigger than a suitcase. Believe me

Hyunday Electri System is not bigger than a briefcase

The concept car from Hyunday

Hyunday's concept car

Opel Ampera? I can not remember this one

Opel Ampera

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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The juice of electric cars

In spite of the deep crisis in the automotive industry, several large carmakers are taking a gamble on a technology that has not yet proved it can win over consumers – electric cars.

hybrid-thumb.jpgNational and local governments globally, including the US, the UK, Japan and Australia, are abetting this drive into the unknown with generous subsidies and tax breaks for zero- and low-emission vehicles due to launch over the coming three years.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the RenaultNissan alliance, which has the biggest plans for battery-powered cars, this month unveiled in Yokohama the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

Mr Ghosn dismissed the notion – voiced by many analysts and some competing carmakers – that the limited driving range of electric cars, their higher price and need to recharge regularly will limit them to niche markets. “We see this as a mass market car,” he said. Nissan wants to sell 200,000 Leafs globally by 2012.

In keeping with Mr Ghosn’s bullish view, Renault will next month unveil in Frankfurt a range of several all-electric cars aimed at “different kinds of uses and consumers”, according to the company.

Rival Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi last month began taking orders for the i-MiEV, a car that can drive 160km (100 miles) on a single electric charge. This is enough for most commutes, and the same range Nissan and Renault are promising for their vehicles. It will go on sale to commercial buyers from this year and consumers from next April.

Daimler this year will begin production of a second-generation electric version of its Smart Fortwo minicar. The model will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries supplied by Tesla, the private California-based electric car company in which Daimler bought just under a 10 per cent stake for €50m ($70.7m) in May.

Tesla itself began selling electric roadsters in the US last year and in June opened the first of four planned European dealerships in London.

Mr Ghosn said at the launch of the Leaf that he thought pure electric vehicles could account for 10 per cent of all new car purchases by 2020. PwC, in a recent report, estimated that the market could account for 2-5 per cent of total output of light vehicles by that year. However, many analysts are sceptical that the optimistic forecasts will pan out, given the limited driving ranges and high initial price.

“The technology isn’t there yet with the batteries to do more than 100 miles reliably and if you turn on the air conditioning or heating, it’s less than that,” says Al Bedwell, an automotive technology analyst with JD Power. “It’s a limited market.

Toyota, Nissan’s local rival and the global industry’s biggest producer, has said that electric cars are best suited for short distance urban commuting and delivery vehicles. In January the company unveiled the FT-EV, a small electric car it wants to mass-produce by about 2012.

However, Toyota spends more time speaking about its hybrids, including a plug-in car due to launch this year that can top up its battery via an electric outlet, but still have recourse to a petrol engine.

Thomas Weber, Daimler’s head of research and development, recently acknowledged that large-scale zero-emission driving at affordable prices “won’t become a reality overnight”. The company plans to produce about 1,000 of its electric Smart cars this year.

Nissan's new electronic vehicle, the Leaf
NISSAN LEAF

Mitsubishi, the first volume carmaker to launch an electric model, says that it would sell only about 1,400 to fleet customers this year – mainly corporations and local authorities – but hopes to sell 30,000 annually by 2013.

If hybrid cars are any indication, many consumers will baulk at electric cars’ high initial price.

Global sales of hybrid cars are rising, but still account for less than 1 per cent of light vehicle sales, in part because of the premium they command over comparable conventional cars – up to $5,000 in the case of the Toyota Prius.

In the US, the biggest market for hybrids, their sales have dropped further than the industry average during the downturn.

Meanwhile, PWC estimates that all-electric cars will cost $7,000-$20,000 more than comparable conventional cars.

To defray some of the cost to early adopters, Britain is one of several governments that will offer their buyers tax breaks, worth up to £5,000 ($8,225) from 2011. US buyers of plug-in cars – such as General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt, launching next year – will benefit from a tax break worth $7,500.

Toyota Prius
TOYOTA PRIUS

In Japan, Mitsubishi’s tiny i-MiEV will have a list price of more than $48,000, or about three times the price of its petrol version. However, the company points out that national and regional subsidies will defray the cost of the car there and in Europe.

Nissan and Renault plan to reduce the cost to consumers further by decoupling the cost of the battery from the car under a leasing scheme, allowing them to sell the vehicles at a price comparable to similar conventional cars. In marketing electric cars, the companies also plan to tout lower running costs.

In Israel, the two carmakers are joining forces with Better Place, a US company building a nationwide recharging network for electric cars, including battery-swap stations where motorists can exchange their depleted batteries. The project has the blessing of Israel’s government, which has enacted generous tax incentives for electric cars.

Mr Ghosn’s decision to position Nissan as a frontrunner in electric cars has landed the company much-needed government financing, too. Britain and Portugal are giving the company loans and grants of undisclosed size to build new plants to make lithium-ion batteries for cars announced in July.

Honda Insight
HONDA INSIGHT

Britain, which is trying to position itself as a hub for low-carbon technologies, is also expected to provide financial sweeteners to lure Nissan to make electric cars at its plant in Sunderland, north-east England.

In the US, Nissan recently became the first non-US carmaker to qualify for a Department of Energy grant for clean-car technology. It will use the $1.6bn low-interest loan to retool its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, to make electric cars from 2012.

The missing – and still incalculable – piece of the equation now is the number of customers that will buy its cars.

Extracted from The Financial Times Limited 2009.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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