AI-Induced Atrophy

For some, artificial intelligence and automation in business herald a new era of increased productivity. For others, these are a harbinger of job obsolescence and layoffs.

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No One Has a Five-Year Strategy

No one has a five-year strategy, or even a three-year strategy much less a twenty-year strategic plan.

How much do you think Blackberry’s five-year strategy meant the day that Apple announced the iPhone? Business conditions are too unpredictable for most strategic plans to mean anything even beyond six months, and even that might be too long. Continue reading


Culture Change Manifesto

I define culture as norms of behaviors based on shared beliefs. When a leader says he or she wants to change the culture of his or her company, the ultimate goal is always to change norms of behaviors.

If I want to understand the culture of a company, all I need to do is observe which behaviors are encouraged and rewarded, which are discouraged and penalized, and which are the behaviors to which people are indifferent. I can understand the beliefs that drive those behaviors by asking questions.

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No More New Strategy Tools

In photography, new cameras do not make for better art, just as in strategy, new tools do not make for better business results.

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Tsukiji, Sayonara

Saturday, October 6th, marked the end of an eighty-year era as the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo closes following its final tuna auction. The fish market has been moved to a new site in Toyosu about two kilometers away, and opened on October 11th. Tsukiji is undergoing a dramatic change. Continue reading


The Ethics of Symbolism

There is nothing inherently wrong with symbolism. It is only symbolism that masquerades inaction that is unethical and destructive.

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Increase Your Attrition

Many companies are struggling to find the qualified people they need, so they resort to retaining the people they have whether qualified or not. They fight to eliminate or at least reduce rates of attrition when it is increased attrition that can do the business the most good. Retention of the best is all that matters.

Recently, the head of a large business unit of a major international company here in Japan told me that the company’s rate of attrition is of no particular concern to him, even though it is higher than industry average.

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When Risk Aversion is Personal

There is nothing wrong with risk aversion.

It is only aversion to reasonable business risk that is a problem. When a business leader complains of excessive risk aversion in his staff, the underlying concerns are frequently personal. Continue reading