Tag Archive: finance


Decisive Entrepreneur

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An overview on one aspect that captures almost all the economic activities include a representation to a change. This clue distinctions of when and where supports all those interested wantings for the future development and innovation, in the activity of the products and the services desired for the necesary market.

You never know where you are going to find a good idea.

That may sound like a saying from a fortune cookie. But for Normal CEO, and founder, Nikki Kaufman, it’s a management style.

It’s also why the headquarters of her 3-D printed custom earphone company are open and transparent across departments. It’s a guiding principle on how to run a team.

I encourage new ideas all the time here at Normal. That’s one of the things that I really like about having everyone in one office.
She included this advices from the floor of her New York City retail location, which also serves as the company’s factory and corporate office along with an incredible pursuatiation for advocating content into the shared markets .
An idea can come from anywhere.”



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Corporate trajectory

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The business landscape will look dramatically different in coming decades

 

A culture change dialogs across geography, across business units and also across functions. By embracing people’s differences, we can spark innovation, better understand and serve our customers and gain competitive advantage.

Driving a successful diversity strategy begins with the senior leaders, but to be fully sustainable it needs to be lived by every one of us. If that seems challenging, think about this: many leading researchers and social scientists have proven a link between diversity and productivity. In the United States, management researchers found that when people work directly with someone with at least one diverse trait, it challenges them to prepare more and work harder. By embracing diversity in your business today, you can adopt an intrapreneurial mindset and sustainable skills that will help you succeed. Here’s how you can start:

 

Learn to think like an intrapreneur

Intrapreneurship, or disrupting internal processes or cultural norms, is at its heart about innovation. One group of innovators in particular figured out how to advance their industry through the way they approach challenges – these are open-source software engineers, and they use design thinking. It’s a good example of what intrepreneurship can be: pick a diverse team with a range of experiences and perspectives; make your mistakes early and be open about them.

Without the diverse and constant input, these engineers would be less successful in the way they solve challenges. When faced with a difficult task or situation, seek out advice from new and diverse sources, most likely you will find an improved approach.

 

Discover new places to network

As collaboration with diverse individuals provides new points of view, networking accomplishes this on a larger scale. By going to events for closely related professions, or simply connecting through social media channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn where you can virtually engage in conversations with anyone, you put yourself in a position for growth.

Inside your organization you can join or organize a powerful employee network with a diverse set of peers. While interacting with your network, look for, accept and appreciate differences. Friction leads to heat, and our heat makes the atoms move faster!

 

Focus on the strengths everybody brings to the table

We are brought up in the Western World to focus on what doesn’t work or what is different. Challenge yourself to appreciate the differences of others and see them as potential drivers of change. The more opinions, the more variety, and the more diversity we bring to the table the more we can unchain our creativity, which is hidden in every one of us.

People with different communication abilities, for instance, can be diverse. Autistic people are known for thriving in repetitive tasks, which is an especially valuable skill set in today’s data-driven work environments. These skills help uncover insights into customer behavior and business trends, and can lead to discoveries that alter how a company operates. In the future of work, diversity will not be an option, but an imperative to sustain in our global, fast paced economy, where never just one person owns and knows the truth.

 

Stand up to discrimination

Stand up if you see or experience discrimination.Raise your voice for the unheard opinion. Help others appreciate how every person has a different strength and realize that in that strength there is opportunity to grow and be more productive. For instance, if a colleague comments that a women aren’t as capable of understanding technology, remind them that CEOs Meg Whitman at HP and Marisa Mayer at Yahoo! have both outlasted their male predecessors. By being critical of someone’s weakness you miss the chance to appreciate and benefit from their strengths.

The need for new perspectives becomes especially important when we examine the future workplace. As our world gets smaller, diversity doesn’t only mean differences in gender and race, but age and geography as well. Our world has become ultra-connected – successful companies find that to harmonize these connections relates directly to how fast they innovate. The implications are key for our global workforce because innovation thrives when we are faced with the unfamiliar. Diversity is what makes business more sustainable.



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The Latest Publication On Data Surveys

 

 

 

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A chance to catch up on much-needed reading to refresh and recharge your standards and leadership style scoured this lists of books that helped to look at life and work in a whole new way. While these books are not your typical newest releases, they have timeless value and are best read together to rejuvenate yourself and, by extension, your team.

The review by Rebecca Talbot, Content Marketing & Research Manager & Leadership Story Lab sais:

Feeling comfortable in our workplace can have its downsides. It’s easy to fall into patterns and make assumptions about the people we spend our days with.”

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier offers a way to get beyond our assumptions about our coworkers’ behavior and learn their stories instead. Stanier’s short book explores seven questions managers can use to get people talking, and to train themselves to avoid thinking they “already know” what’s motivating people. His first question is simply:

What’s on your mind?

When we are willing to start our conversations with an open-ended question, the answers might surprise us!And that’s Stanier’s whole point-that we need to approach each other with far more curiosity.

The “what’s on your mind” question resonated with me because it is a question my dad used to ask me often when I was a teenager. The respect and curiosity implied in the question worked well to encourage a teenager to talk.

Likewise, family, friends and colleagues generally need an invitation before they will share what’s been important to them lately. Now that Stanier has reminded of that, I’ll be using this question more frequently.

 


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Differentiation Strategy

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Every business faces an identity crisis during its evolution. Executives of young companies are constantly questioning how to build a differentiated identity in a saturated industry. Even pioneers in uncharted territory will, before too long, need to find their voice.”

Intense competition means you’re onto something good. It also means your industry will shape you if you are not tenacious about defining yourself. There are three fundamental strategies that are instrumental in distinguishing a company from its peers:

 

1. Cultivate a work environment that enables you to hire exceptional people

The prospect of achieving true value-driven business hinges on your ability to recruit the best talent in the industry. “A” players want to work alongside “A” players, so there is nothing more important than building a strong nucleus of talent. Hiring hastily during an inflection point of your growth can be the kiss of death in creating a culture of excellence.

Nothing gets top-tier employees more excited than being challenged to take on outsized responsibility, yet most work environments still adhere to a stripes-earning, teeth-cutting, dues-paying mentality that stifles growth.

One of the ways you’ll be able to succeed in attracting exceptional talent is by showing that you strive to be a perfect meritocracy, unfettered by the requirements around age or experience.

 

2. Question everything but challenge selectively

Adhering solely to industry standards and best practices is a surefire way to camouflage a company in the market. Businesses strongly positioned for long-term success tend to believe adamantly that their industry’s best practices have yet to be discovered. There is an important distinction between questioning every industry assumption and assuming that every industry practice is flawed – it is a thin line between curiosity and arrogance. In the quest to innovate, leave no stone unturned. If the industry got it right, turn that stone back over.

For instance, when it was set out to build Urban Compass, it was aimed to innovate on three fronts:

Scope: While most real estate firms tackle a very thin sliver of the real estate experience, they wanted to build a product for the holistic experience – search, schedule, visit, purchase, move, and connect to new neighborhoods.

Technology:  They have bringed data and technology to a space in which no one had founded a way to harness these elements in a valuable way.

Compensation: They’ve callenged the assumption that agents should be paid on commission and piloted a salaried real estate agent model, in which agents received bonuses for delivering good customer service.

While it was gained a tremendous traction because of the innovation on scope and technology, it was found that the initial innovation on compensation was actually detracting value: it had prevented from hiring top performing agents who wanted to benefit from the upside of commission, and misaligned incentives for the current agent base, who were being paid to be nice, not to help their clients close deals. From since it was turned that stone back over, and it was a match to the industry standard on paying out commissions.

This was an important lesson:

Be exhaustive in questioning industry assumptions, be selective in challenging.

 

3. Focus relentlessly on value

Proclaiming the need to focus on value may sound like a truism, but it is remarkably easy to forsake the path of substance. Businessman and author Ben Horowitz aptly said in order for a customer to switch to your product, it needs to be 10 times better than the product they are currently using. The only way to ensure this is by employing a laser focus on value and eliminating all distractions.

This demands not only discernment between value and distraction, but requires the discipline not to pursue the distraction. As a young company, you’ll face this challenge every day, and sometimes the choice is between less engaging tasks to create value or more interesting tasks destroying value. Making the choice to select substance over splash is critical in building a deep, unique product.


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Typology Innovation

 

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“People adopt ideas when social, personal and financial trends intersect – a confluence that may seem random but usually happens “by design” “.

– Clement Mok

 

When you think of artificial intelligence (AI), you might think of dehumanizing interactions. Don’t confuse AI with primitive marketing automation.As AI expert and leading keynote speaker Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology for SHIFT Communications says,

There are three levels of machine learning: AI where machines perform tasks normally performed by humans; machine learning, where the machines learn on their own; and deep learning, where machine learning chains together for rich learning.

 

 

Leading companies are embracing AI to perform repeatable, redundant tasks and to process large amounts of data not to avoid human interaction, but to enrich it.

AI is becoming the norm for many practical consumer experiences – these powerful examples use AI to evaluate GPS data:

  • Google Maps uses real-time customer data from our own phones
  • GPS Insight is able to help companies shorten the scheduling window for telecommunications companies. More importantly, they can allow municipalities to better deploy emergency responders and repair crews in a crisis like a hurricane.

Expect to see more highly-customized content delivery, automated to a consumer’s specific persona and lifestyle.

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|Success| Photo by Victor Freitas

As Penn notes, “AI is not a futuristic concept. The tools and technologies are available, accessible, and not cost prohibitive.”

Communities Embrace Live Interactions Over Social Media

Your smartphone might make you think that people prefer social media vs. in-person interactions. However, top companies realize that building great communities engenders long-term brand loyalty. Nothing drives strong communities better than in-person and live interactions. Even live video engages better than recorded video. Just look at the popularity of Facebook Live.

Recently, I attended an event in Philadelphia with 75 fellow professional speakers. Though the group started as an online community, attendees spent our own money and time away from family to learn from and share with each other, in person.”

Great community events like the B2B Forum from MarketingProfs sell-out in advance to attendees seeking high-value, face-to-face interactions that deliver community and social learning that far exceeds what’s possible with social media. You’d have an easier time attending an Ivy League university than getting invited to the annual Mastermind Talks geared toward CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Smart companies realize social media and technology do not replace the need for in-person interactions, social media can actually make in-person interactions more valuable. Since consumers are already connected in the virtual world, in-person relationships can be built at a rapid pace because you already feel as though you “know” the other person. Expect to see leading companies that cut back on live events years ago, bring them back with enthusiasm.

 

Millennials Welcome Generation Z

According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, America’s youngest generation, “Gen-Z” (those born after 1998), are now entering their formative years and rising in influence. At nearly 70 million strong, the eldest of which are now entering college and/or the workforce, this group will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors.

Millennials are not children anymore. In fact, the oldest of them are now 35. Millennials are increasingly taking leadership roles within organizations.

In addition to managing their peers, Millennials will soon be managing Gen Z employees. Will Millennial managers complain about Gen Z as much as Baby Boomer managers complained about Millennials?  Only time will tell.

Gen Z is the first generation born with devices in hand and are radically different than Millennials. Smart companies and brands are working quickly to understand this next generation as an employee as well as consumer.

 

Wages And More On The Rise

Dr. Mary Kelly, a PhD economist and leadership advisor, shared great insight about what to expect in the coming year’s economy.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, Human Resource managers should expect a 3% increase in wages across all sectors. In high demand jobs such as health care, elderly care, and physical therapy, expect wage increases to be higher. We’ll also see wages likely increase in engineering, drone technology, and virtual reality.

Wages have been stagnant for a few years, and with the unemployment rate at almost record low of 4.1% of the labor force, employers will feel pressure to adjust compensation to attract and retain quality workers. As we’ve seen in recent years, large organizations will see health care costs rise by more than 6% from 2017 to 2018.”

At the same time, coverage is declining. Smart employers are looking at their health care plans now to minimize the financial increase while improving cost transparency to help drive down future costs.

Talented employees seek salary, benefits, flexibility, and autonomy. Smart companies know that flexibility and autonomy might beat out just pure compensation for many employees.

 

Social Learning Outperforms Remote Learning

As more professionals work remotely, companies have found creative ways to keep employees connected and develop their talents outside of the office. One way that has gained popularity among corporate training programs is social learning.

Social learning is the process of learning through peer social interaction. The most common example of traditional social learning is the chance encounter at the workplace water cooler. Two or more people run into each other, share ideas, and walk away knowing a little more in the process; this is social learning.

Social learning can take place in informal one-on-one encounters, among teams in the course of real-time problem-solving, communities of practice, through social software, expertise directories, and more,” notes a Bloomberg study on social learning.

The study estimates 50% of companies already use social learning in some way, and two-thirds plan to use it in the future. It’s easy to understand why. Social-learning promotes autonomy and self-direction, increasing overall learner engagement. It can also be a welcome departure from online courses which can be lonely, isolated experiences that lack engagement. Learners do not feel the presence of other learners in the experience.

The most successful online learning programs include a digital community where participants can share their experience, ask questions of each other, and engage in social learning that goes beyond the course curriculum.

As companies adopt more social learning, so too will they adopt tools that support mentoring and coaching that leverages the internal expertise organically.

 

Live Streaming Video Content Gains Momentum

Whereas video itself has become a necessary component for successful businesses, customers are no longer content with impersonal, generic marketing. Customers demand real connections, with real people.Video is the most viewed content, and live video is the most effective way to engage with your audience.

According to Nick Losq, founder & chief creative officer at StarBeast ,

“Video is the most easily digestible form of media in a landscape now dominated by smartphones. And when a business starts adding a “live” component, introducing real people, in real time, it has the power to connect with consumers in a personal and honest manner, allowing businesses to separate themselves from their competitors. Live video has the ability to give many businesses a face AND a soul.”

Businesses stream live video to establish real-time human connections with their audiences. Whether it’s streaming a product launch, running B2B webinars, offering Q&A sessions or streaming product reviews, live videos are becoming an established part of a business marketing strategy.

Livestream research shows that 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. And 73% of B2B organizations report positive ROI from video marketing.

Companies who plan for and dedicate resources to live stream videos will dominate their industries.

 

Serve Your Community Not Just Buyers

The notion of the buyer’s journey was used to describe the path that your potential customer would take when making a purchase. However, today’s customers are sophisticated, savvy consumers who do their research. They vet companies by scouring their websites, reading online reviews and putting feelers out to their social networks.

By the time consumers reach a salesperson, they are fully acquainted with your company’s product features, options and prices. They have done their due diligence and narrowed down their options.

As a result, the old ‘buyer’s journey’ has given way to more realistic models that takes into account this new reality. The journey buyers and prospects take is no longer linear or even neat, it’s more unpredictable and fluid which poses a big challenge to marketers. As we enter 2018, we will continue to see these models get updated.

 

Analyst Jon Reed writes marketers also “should be thinking in terms of “buyer’s community” or “buyer’s network.” Reed notes that “buyers aren’t always buying but they are always learning” and “we shouldn’t only be targeting buyers.”

Today’s informed buyers get better at their jobs by building “trust networks” of experts inside and outside of their company,” Reed writes.

Therefore, it behooves marketers to be where their prospects — and their prospects’ friends — hang out. Leading wealth management firm, Glassman Wealth, holds events for travel safety and responsible philanthropy. Though his firm doesn’t sell those services or profit from them, Barry Glassman, the firm’s founder says, “We seek areas where our clients have questions, and we strive to provide the single-best resource available to address their inquiry. Our clients don’t have questions limited to investing. They have questions about life.”

Savvy companies realize that the best thing they can do is to serve their community, irrespective of whether or not someone is in a buying cycle. When you deliver consistent value, you engender trust. Then, when they are actually on a buyer’s journey, you are already a trusted resource for them.

 

Marketing Drives Results With A Focus On Problems

Marketers used to espouse the features and benefits of offerings. However, B2B customers have learned to ignore features/benefits. In fact, your ideal client may not even realize that they could benefit from your product or service. Top performing companies focus on the problems you solve, and the anticipated results you deliver.

 

I have run thousands of CEOs and executives through an exercise on how they make and approve decisions. When approving purchasing decisions, executives consistently ask “What problem does this solve for us?” “Why do we need it?” and “What is the likely outcome or result if we make the investment?”

Put another way, the client might not care about your solution if they don’t realize the problem you solve for them. Companies like E Group  and Catapult New Business have seen explosive growth by focusing sharply on the challenges they help their clients overcome instead of focusing on the products and services they offer. This shifts the focus where it should be – to the customer.

Expect to see companies shift their marketing messages to the problems they solve instead of their features. Measure and be accountable for success to outpace your competition.

 

Subject Matter Experts Open Doors

 

I noted in my 2017 Trends article that subject matter experts (SMEs) are the new rainmakers. As technology continues to expand and disrupt industries, companies and clients rely more and more on SMEs to educate, guide and advise.

Whereas your client can get information about your company’s products and services on your website, they can’t figure out how your solution might fit their needs.

SMEs provide a valuable resource to discuss industry trends, share best-practices, and delve into detailed discussions about how one solution might perform better than another. Whereas traditional sales professionals have noticed increased challenges in getting in front of customers, SMEs are welcomed into the room with open arms.

This leads smart companies to take two critical steps:  1) Provide training and support to SMEs to help them navigate complex sales environments; and 2) Develop expertise in their sales organizations to build industry or application expertise within traditional salespeople focused on customer results vs. product sales.

With SMEs, businesses must place a premium on proper lead qualification and narrow focus on the right opportunities to make efficient use of scarce, yet highly effective resources. SMEs won’t tolerate wasting time pursuing bad opportunities. And they don’t want to waste time on paperwork or administrative duties that will take time away from serving their clients.

Top companies will continue to put SMEs in a position to open doors and entice interest.Forward thinkers will plant seeds for their sales teams to develop subject matter expertise in specific industries.

 

Blockchain Embraced By Big Players

If you had invested $1,000 dollars in Bitcoin back in 2008, you’d have more than $40,000,000 today. Bitcoin is based on the blockchain protocol. Blockchain originated in the technology space, which explains slow adoption rooted in its techno-babble jargon. To better understand the technology, checkout WTF is The Blockchain?

Marketing and business strategist Clay Hebert sees a familiar story playing out differently this time compared to how many companies were late to the party when social media emerged.

In the mid-to-late 2000’s, big companies missed the social media train. They couldn’t see how Twitter or Facebook would immediately impact their business, so they were slow to adopt these technologies. They don’t want to play catch-up again.”

As Hebert suggests to, we’re already starting to see wider understanding and adoption in blockchain technology from companies big and small. For example:

  • Large consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte are building out entire blockchain practice areas and developing key alliances in the space.
  • IBM recently forged a blockchain collaboration with Nestlé, Walmart, Costco and others to improve global food supply chain safety.
  • Some realtors have begun to differentiate themselves by accepting Bitcoin for real estate transactions (CNBC).

The hurdles won’t be overcome overnight. Similar to the Internet itself and social media, blockchain will enable new digital transactions that will disrupt traditional businesses like document authentication and title searches.

Smart companies will build skills around blockchain technology to ensure they are the ones doing the disrupting rather than the ones being disrupted.

 

It’s Your Turn

This are the 2018 trends that will drive business success. You might have ones that you plan to put into place right away, and you likely have ones that you think should have been on the list.We started with a list almost twice as long as what you see here, and had to make some tough choices. How do these trends get you thinking about changes in your business? What trends do you think should have make the list?

Ian Altman is a B2B Integrity-based sales and growth expert entitled that trends are sure to drive success for companies in 2018.

Comercial Leader

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A process that uses a sponsor, a voice to talk to, to burden to is a strategy operating a company growth and innovation, completely aligned with socialization.

Having a happy, healthy, engaged workforce goes far beyond providing free food, gym memberships and a ping-pong table. While those perks are sure to be appreciated by employees, they don’t do much in the way of motivating or retaining them.

What it really comes down to is the employee-employer relationship. New data released earlier this year by Virgin Pulse revealed exactly what employees need to love their job – and a large part of that is a good relationship with their employer. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the more than 1,000 full-time employees surveyed said their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, and 44 percent said it positively impacts their stress levels.

Considering nearly 50 percent of the 7,200 adults surveyed in a recent Gallup study left a job “to get away from their manager,” it’s time to reevaluate the employee-employer relationship.

Here is what makes for a good relationship between employers and their employees.

 

1. Open communication

The key to any good relationship is communication that goes both ways. Unfortunately, employees don’t feel like their bosses are really listening. A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees by 15Five showed a mere 15 percent of employees are satisfied with the quality of workplace communication.

What’s more, that same study found that 81 percent of employees would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers great perks.

To create a work environment that supports open communication, consider implementing a web-based feedback platform. According to the survey by 15Five, 70 percent of employees said they’d be more likely to share information with managers if they could enter comments into an online feedback system.

 

2. Guidance and support

A leader can’t lead without providing direction. To build a stronger relationship with employees, employers must provide them with the necessary guidance and support to achieve their work goals. Employers need to have an idea of what those goals are to do that.

Yet, the aforementioned Gallup study showed that only 12 percent of employees “strongly agree” that their manager helps them set work priorities, and only 13 percent agree that their manager helps them set performance goals.

Give employees the help they need. Meet with them regularly to discuss their goals for the quarter and set priorities. This will better align them with the goals of the company.

 

3. Opportunities and investments

Ideally, both parties bring something to, and get something out of, the relationship. For employers, the benefits of a good employee-employer relationship include a workforce that is highly engaged, productive and satisfied in their role within the organization. An effective and efficient workforce is good for business.

For employees, the advantages of the relationship should go beyond the paycheck and benefits package to include individualized training.

Send employees to professional development events or invite leaders within the industry to speak during a monthly lunch-and-learn. Just be sure to provide them with opportunities to grow and improve. After all, investing in employees ensures they’ll invest in the company.

 

4. Gratitude and appreciation

It’s in our nature to want to be praised for a job well done – a result of receiving “gold stars” during our schoolyard days, no doubt. It reassures, motivates and gives us the fuel we need to continue doing what we do well.

In fact, Globoforce and SHRM’s 2015 Employee Recognition Report showed 86 percent of the 823 HR professionals surveyed said values-based recognition increased employee happiness at work, so don’t hold back on the “thank you” notes and pats. Employees will appreciate the recognition, and the employee-employer relationship will get a much-needed boost.

 

5. Interest in life outside of work

The employee-employer relationship should be professional, but that doesn’t mean employers shouldn’t take the time to get to know the person behind the work. Strive to treat employees as people, not just worker bees. The key is to take an interest in employees’ lives outside of work.

What are employees’ personal and professional goals? Where do they hope to be in five years? Do they have a family? What do they like to do once the workday is over?

Questions like these help employers to know their employees on a more personal level. That helps them make sense of individual employee actions and preferences, and forms a much stronger bond between employers and their employees.


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Infinite Map

 

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The dividend policy 

A company will have a direct impact on the amount of retained earning available for investment. A company which consistently pays out a high proportion of distributable profits as dividends will not have much by way of retained earnings and so is likely to use a higher proportion of external finance when funding investment projects.

“Corporations with more diverse boards of directors are less prone to take risks and more likely to pay dividends to stockholders than firms whose boards are more homogenous.”

Firms need to take risks to run business. However, excessive risk taking may endanger their survival. Therefore, investors and regulators have broadened the board’s role to include corporate risk oversight, especially since the wake of the financial crisis in the late 2000s.

 

Most research on board diversity has focused only on gender diversity

We used a broader-than-normal definition of diversity, encompassing gender, race, age, experience, tenure and expertise. We looked at company records and employed five variables to measure risk: capital expenditures, research and development expenses, acquisition spending, the volatility of stock returns and the volatility of accounting returns.

The first three variables are direct measures of corporate risk as firms can adjust risk by directly altering their investment policies and spending. The last two variables measure corporate risk taking using the volatility of firms’ market and accounting performances.  

“Firms with more diverse boards spend less on capital expenditure, R&D and acquisitions, and exhibit lower volatilities of stock returns than those with less diverse boards.”

Additional analysis showed that companies with more diverse boards were more likely to pay dividends and to pay a greater amount of dividend per share than corporations with less diverse boards. In general, risk-averse firms are more likely to avoid investment projects with uncertain outcomes and return cash to shareholders in the form of dividends.

Having this insight can help avoid costly cultural mistakes at both large corporations and small businesses. The study, which covered 1998 to 2011, showed that most corporate boards are relatively homogenous in gender and race – being mostly white and male. There was, however, considerably more diversity when we factored in characteristics such as age, experience, tenure and expertise. Measuring diversity based only on gender misrepresents the actual diversity in corporate boardrooms.

On the one hand, diverse boards could reduce the level of corporate risk taking, discouraging innovative and risky projects. On the other hand, if firm management is overly aggressive in its use of corporate funds for investing in risky projects, our results suggest that more diverse boards could perform better oversight of corporate risk taking than less diverse boards. Rini Laksmana, associate professor of accounting at Kent State University, and Agus Harjoto, associate professor of finance at Pepperdine University, collaborated on the research for the project.


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Help Ecosystems

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Executive sponsorship

In order to change management to help the entire organisation uses marketing people alignment because timing is everything.

Corporate venture capital is picking up speed in the investment industry, as large companies start setting aside funds for external investment in fledgling companies or startups. Tech giants like Intel, Dell and AMD all have strong track records with their proprietary funds, and more companies like Microsoft and Salesforce are now entering the venture-fund game.

During the past four years more than 475 corporate venture funds have started, bringing the worldwide total to more than 1,100, according to Global Corporate Venturing. With this surge comes a lot of uncertainty.

 

How will corporate venture-capital players influence the funding ecosystem?

Entrepreneurs need to know when choosing between corporate and traditional venture-capital partnership. Large companies can be slow moving and bulky, making it tricky to come up with innovative products or services. That’s especially true for the pharmaceutical, technology and telecommunications industries where internal R&D usually means more hiring, higher capital expenditures and increased fixed operating costs, all without the guarantee of a return.

A corporate venture fund, however, provides an opportunity for innovation without paying high R&D costs or incurring too much risk. Corporate venture capital also lets large companies operate on a smaller scale, which lets them innovate faster, conduct research on disruptive technologies and pre-empt competitors. And it’s an efficient way for companies to explore potential acquisition targets.

Data from Crunchbase shows that about one-third of corporate venture-backed startups have been acquired, versus 10 percent of startups with funding only from private venture capital.

Corporations can use their venture arms to influence their industry’s ecosystem by identifying new markets and building up their existing businesses. According to a recent Volans report,

“Corporate venture capital accounted for 1,068 investment deals worth $19.6 billion last year.”

Since 5,753 venture-capital transactions worth $48.5 billion occurred in 2013, corporate ventures comprised nearly 20 percent of all deals and 40 percent of transaction value worldwide.

A traditional venture-capital firm raises money primarily from institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals, while corporate venture capital uses cash reserves from a parent company to fund new endeavors. This difference is significant because it means more external pressure is typically put on independent venture-capital firms to generate above-average returns.

Since corporate ventures are typically considered R&D alternatives, expenses are already built into the business structure. And separate revenue-generating businesses help offset any corporate venture-capital losses. That’s a safety net that traditional venture-capital firms don’t have. Corporate venture-capital efforts also have the advantage of involvement with startups at the early stages, when they can most benefit from access to a large, established customer base, credibility through brand association and a larger network of partner companies and advisors.

Corporate venture-capital efforts can make good co-investment partners with traditional venture capital firms because each brings different expertise to the table. Venture-capital firms have the drive and know-how to realize financial results while corporate-venture capital groups provide industry knowledge and a talent pool.

 

Given all these advantages, why isn’t a larger proportion of total deals in the venture-capital space taken up by corporate funds?

For one, independent venture-capital firms still hold a competitive advantage over their corporate counterparts due to their flexibility, speed and experience in helping companies succeed financially. Corporate venture-capital firms that benefit from high cash flows might be willing to spread out their investments over a few similar companies and take a back seat in terms of driving their growth, while a venture-capital firm is typically motivated to take a more focused and hands-on approach for its portfolio companies.

Corporations have been actively investing in venture capital since the mid-1960s, when the venture capital industry itself was just emerging. But as more corporations become involved, the emphasis on how to build the next generation of businesses could shift away from high valuations and quick exits to creating a nurturing environment for bigger and better ideas.


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The first big management idea to reach a mass audience it swept through corporate America in the early years of the 20th century and much management thinking since has been either a reaction to it or a development of it.

 

At the core of scientific management lie four principles:

Replace rule-of-thumb methods of doing work with ones based on scientific study of the tasks to be carried out.

Select and train individuals for specific tasks.

Give individuals clear instructions on what they have to do, then supervise them while they do it.

Divide work between managers and workers, so that the managers plan “scientifically” what is to be done, and the workers then do it.

 

Peter Drucker once wrote that:

Taylor was the first man in history who did not take work for granted, but looked at it and studied it. His approach to work is still the basic foundation”.

 

The trade union movement, however, always hated it. A union officer once said:

No tyrant or slave driver in the ecstasy of his most delirious dream ever sought to place upon abject slaves a condition more repugnant.

 

There is little space for Taylor’s ideas in today’s world of freewheeling teamwork. But the writings of people such as Michael Porter and Michael Hammer, with their emphasis on breaking business down into measurable (and controllable) activities, hold more than a faint echo of Taylor’s ideas.

 


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