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Friday, February 17, 2012

Quoting the World's Best Business Thinkers

In my last post, I presented the 2011 top 10 from the annual Thinkers50.com “Definitive List of the World’s Top 50 Business Thinkers” of the year. As a follow-up, to help you connect with these great business minds, here are some quotes:

Clayton M. Christensen
“Resisting the temptation whose logic was ‘In this extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK’ has proven to be one of the most important decisions of my life. Why? My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.

The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.” 
W. Chan Kim
“Companies have tended to concentrate on differences between different groups of customers. They have divided them into ever smaller and neater segments so they can customize their offerings to meet the needs of those segments.

We found that value innovators take a different approach. Instead of looking at differences between customers, they focus on the basic commonalities across customers. When companies create unprecedented value on those commonalities, the core of the market is pulled toward them as customers are willing to forgo their individual preferences. Value innovation desegments and collapses established market boundaries by challenging accepted and assumed market order. Unlike the strategy framework built on environmental determinism driven by competition, value innovation takes a constructionist view of the market, where its focus is on shaping the market by cognitive reorderings in managers' strategic thinking”

Renée Mauborgne
“Once you have your own market space and imitators follow, you go into classical competitive strategy mode, where you focus on milking it, getting your best market share, blocking other imitations and dramatically ramping up and refining your offering. But, as other companies' strategies converge on your market, history shows you need to create new market space again and break away.”

Vijay Govindarajan
“A successful reverse innovation effort can result in cannibalization of a company's existing lines of business. that is certainly true, but it is not a justification for remaining inert. If a business can be destroyed, then it eventually will be destroyed. It is only a matter of whether you do it to yourself or a rival does it to you.”

Jim Collins
“When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”
Michael E. Porter
“Years ago, corporate strategy was considered a secret known only by top executives for fear competitors might use the information to their advantage. Now it is important for everyone in the organization to understand the strategy and align everything they do with that strategy every day. Openness and clarity even help when coping with competition.
It's good for a competitor to know what the strategy is. The chances are better that the competitor will find something else to be unique at, instead of creating a zero-sum competition."

Roger Martin
“There is little evidence that the ability of today’s organizations to accurately understand the world and predict the future has increased one iota. Massive spending on these [information] systems has not prevented corporations from wandering off the beaten strategic path, or being ambushed by new competitors and changing markets, and I would argue that the reason for this is a natural tension between the pursuits of reliability and validity.

Reliability seeks to produce consistent, predictable outcomes by utilizing a system that is restricted to the use of objective data. To produce the highest reliability possible, a system must stick to quantitative, objective data and use of the data that does not involve judgment, because blending subjectivity and judgment leads to inconsistency. Validity, on the other hand, seeks to produce outcomes that meet the desired objective, even if the system employed can’t produce a consistent, predictable outcome. Proponents of ERP, CRM,TQM and KMS would all argue that their systems advance not only the cause of reliability, but of validity. In reality, however, past a certain point, the pursuit of more reliability actually reduces validity, and vice versa.”
Marshall Goldsmith
“Most of us separate character and reputation. We define our character as “who we really are” and our reputation as “who other people think we really are.” In situations where their assessment differs from our own, we generally characterize the assessment of others as “wrong.” It takes courage to realize that, in some cases, other people’s view of us may be just as accurate—or even more so—than our view of ourselves.”

Marcus Buckingham
“The manager's most basic responsibility is not to help each person grow. It is not to provide an environment in which each person feels significant and special. These are worthy methods, but, as great managers see it, they are not the point. The point is to focus his people toward performance. The manager is, and should be, totally responsible for this. This explains why great managers are skeptical about handing all authority down to their people. Allowing each person to make all of his own decisions may well result in a team of fully self-actualized employees, but it may not be a very productive team.”
Don Tapscott
“There is a fundamental change taking place in terms of how corporations create value and arguably, in terms of the core architecture of the corporation. I think it's the biggest change in a century in the ways that companies build relationships and interact with other entities, institutions in the economy and in society and arguably, the nature of the corporation itself.”
Malcolm Gladwell
“Do you see the consequences of the way we have chosen to think about success? Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung...We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by “we” I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.”
Have you read any books by these recognized authorities? Or perhaps you have heard them speak? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.
     NOTE: Why, you might ask, are there 11 people quoted if this is the top 10 list from www.Thinkers50.com?  from W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, authors of Blue Ocean Strategy, shared the #2 spot and I quoted them separately.

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