Classic Business Quotes #2

Photo of Michael Dell by Jana Asenbrennerova | Reuters

"The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it." ~ Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

"Forgive me if this letter is too long. I didn't have time to make it short." ~ Mark Twain

"You can take in information with your eyes much faster than any other sense... You can't hear information nearly as fast as you can see it... you can't touch it, smell it, taste it. There's no sense that takes in information faster than your eyes." ~ Michael Dell

"If your words aren't truthful, the finest optically letter-spaced typography won't help." ~ Edward Tufte

"It would seem unlikely that a manufacturer of short-lived paperboard boxes could make the slightest cultural impact upon his time. But the facts show that even if the humblest product is designed, manufactured and distributed with a sense of human values and with a taste for quality, the world will recognize the presence of a creative force" ~ Herbert Bayer

"If a client comes to you and says that they're not really sure what to do, that's one of the best relationships you can possibly have - when there's  an acknowledgment of a goal but the path to the end product is unknown, and they're open to the collaboration." ~ Abbott Miller

"Once you've mastered the rules, you can do anything, even abolish them, but without structure it's impossible to get started." ~ Ed Fella

"A man needs a cage in which to be free." ~ Graham Shaw

"My dream is to have people working on useless projects. These have the germ of new concepts." ~ Charles Eames

"It's not a sign of creativity to have sixty-five ideas for one problem. It's just a waste of energy." ~ Jan Kaplicky

Classic Business Quotes #3

"It's not a sign of creativity to have sixty-five ideas for one problem. It's just a waste of energy." 

~ Jan Kaplicky, architect (1937-2009)

Something as common as house paint can be exciting when polished to a mirror finish.

~ Tod Williams, architect (1943 - )

CFO asks CEO : "What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?"

CEO:  "What happens if we don't and they stay?"

~Peter Baeklund, leadership coach

"Give me a good script and I'll be a hundred times better as a director."

~George Cukor, film director (1899-1983)

"Well, there's no such thing as a good script, really."

~John Ford, film director (1894-1973)

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together."

~ James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

"Play by the rules, but be ferocious."

~ Phil Knight, founder, Nike

"The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."

~ Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

"Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength."

~ Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist

"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business,  and your business in your heart."

~ Thomas Watson, Sr.,former CEO, IBM

"It's very easy to be different but very difficult to be better."

~ Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

Classic Business Quotes

"You can't do the same thing for five years. You have to get rid of it. It doesn't matter anymore. Just let it go, even if it's your signature. Even if everybody expects you to do it. Try to find another way to walk."  ~ famed designer Paula Scher, pictured above.

"Successful innovators use both the right side and the left side of their brains." ~ Peter F. Drucker in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

"Some problems cannot be solved; they can only be replaced." ~ psychologist Carl Jung

"The need to grapple with the accelerating demand for more content and more types of content, as well as the imperative to create that content with greater speed and lower cost." ~ Rich Stoddart

"I never use any ideas again. Once I've used them, that's it." ~ architect Arthur Erickson

"Eliminate unnecessary words! Eliminate unnecessary words!" ~ William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White in The Elements of Style

The Customer-Focused Strategy

How will leaders drive revenue growth, keep top talent and retain profitable customers in the face of global competition and an unprecedented rate of technological change? We suggest a review of your mission statement and your  actual business model. By the way, you may want to wander among your staff to learn what they are thinking; they often know more about where your business is headed than the leader does.

The three basic business models

The manufacturing model

In-house products and services determine what the company will produce and sell. Examples of this model are the old-line enterprises filled with 30-year-old printing presses, or automobile makers with expensive production lines. Nothing changes quickly. Attracting new talent to the business is a daunting task. This is your typical sunset industry.

The sales model

Sales and marketing determine which markets will be pursued and which solutions will be offered. This model was popularized on the vertical markets approach. It has been further entrenched by CRM software. Conflicts inevitably arise between sales and production, both believing the other is working at cross-purposes. In reality there is little different between the first two business models - both are internally driven.

The customer-focused model

This is a business approach centered on strategic thinking, primarily this question: what's happening with your customer's clients? This may sound as though we are stating the obvious, but consider a thorough study conducted by The Harvard Business Review.

Between 1988 and 1998, seven our of eight companies in a global sample of 1,854 large corporations failed to achieve profitable growth. Yet 90% of the the companies in the study had developed detailed strategic plans." ~ The Office of Strategy Management - Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton


Elephants in the boardroom

Here are a few unmentionables that prevent most suppliers from communicating effectively with their customers:

  • The business review process of performance measurement is frequently irrelevant: most reviews look backward.
  • Running a corporation "by the quarter" for the stockholders is a recipe for disaster.
  • Carl Jung said it best when he said " some problems cannot be solved; they can only be replaced".
  • You cannot transfer production capacity without giving up your intellectual property.


How to develop a customer-focused strategy

  • Stop telling your story at customer presentations, no matter how compelling or well-crafted that story is. Instead, tell your customer what you have learned about them. This requires focused research and humility.
  • Plan for the complete displacement of every product and service you own to take place within the next five years - because your clients are planning for this.
  • Plan for the complete turnover of your customer base - again, your clients are planning for this in their own operations.
  • Dare to ask your clients about the most important issues facing them. Then determine how you can apply your resources to solving their business issues. This is the real application of mass customization.
  • Plan for the complete displacement of your employee base, which will include your own evolution.