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Susan Griffin, owner and cofounder of a small manufacturing company, is formulating a long-term investment strategy. Griffin plans to sell her $10 million company and invest the revenue. She must decide how to allocate her investment so that she can rely entirely on investment income for her financial needs, while still maintaining a comfortable standard of living. In addition, Griffin wants to be able to offer financial help to her two children and her elderly mother.
Pre-Paid Legal Services' business model reveals two key issues--managing the sales force and sales growth and managing claims. Students analyze the economics of the business and consider how to measure firm performance, how to evaluate and reward the sales force, and what services to offer. The case also discusses a Fortune article criticizing Pre-Paid Legal's method of reporting sales force commissions. Students are asked to evaluate Fortune's analysis and to recommend potential responses by Pre-Paid Legal's management.
Survival, Relevance, and Advantage: Why Environmental Thinking is the Key to Growth in Tough Times and Beyondby Andrew Winston
In tough economic times, everyone is faced with the challenge of how to allocate scarce resources, and sustainability might not seem like a top priority. Andrew Winston, however, argues that in a world faced with dire environmental challenges, greening your business may be the only path to survival, relevance, and competitive advantage. In this chapter, he outlines a green recovery framework that charts the way to building an organization that's sustainable in every sense of the word. This chapter was originally published as the conclusion to "Green Recovery: Get Lean, Get Smart, and Emerge from the Downturn On Top."
Partners in a service firm are reviewing results for 2006, wondering whether large or small projects are more profitable. Present reports make small projects look more profitable. However, activity-based accounting reveals that large projects are more profitable and that concentrating sales efforts on large projects offers potential for greater profit in a service firm.
Michio Matsui, president and CEO of Matsui Securities, transformed a small regional securities company into a leading player in the online broking industry in Japan. Discusses how he transformed the business model and culture of the company and took advantage of the deregulation of financial markets and penetration of the Internet within Japan. Also explains how Matsui Securities established its strategic positioning and developed a series of innovative products to differentiate its services from the competition.
Traditionally, distribution channels have been viewed as vertical marketing systems where responsibility was transferred from one layer to the next, like passing a baton in a relay race. Distribution channels in the future are likely to look more like horizontal alliances of suppliers and intermediaries, all with the aim of efficiently and effectively addressing customers' real needs. These transitions, driven by an underlying change in the economics of production and distribution, are leading to distinct trends in the distribution industry. This note focuses on three primary trends: hybrid channels, multiple channels, and shorter channels. After exploring the challenges managers face as they reorient their distribution, highlights the effects of such changes on supplier-intermediary relationships.
SAP seeks growth in the small- and medium-sized enterprise market. To do so, it has created a platform strategy with SAP Netweaver. What are the advantages and challenges for an incumbent entering a new market? What are the benefits and challenges of implementing a platform strategy?
The CEO of ServiceMaster Industries has convened an internal task force to come up with ideas for reorganizing the company to accommodate unusually fast growth. In developing both alternatives and criteria for appraising them, the task force has to keep in mind the strong company culture.
As the engineering of state-of-the-art jet engines becomes more and more complex, Pratt & Whitney leaders face major competitive problems. Product development projects are not meeting the cost, quality, and lead-time targets. The leadership develops a design, development, test, and launch system that treats the engineering resources as a factory and carefully designs and manages the work flows, engineering activities, and hand-offs between tasks. There is promising initial success but some question whether the "engineering standard work" system stifles creativity and whether it is appropriate for the work of other professional functions.
Just as individuals do, work groups, leadership groups, organizations, and other collectivities can unknowingly prevent themselves from achieving what they most desire due to a collective immunity to change. This chapter is designed to assist you in diagnosing your group's particular immunity and to help you move forward toward collective goals and improved levels of functioning and performance. This chapter is excerpted from "Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential In Yourself and Your Organization."
South Korea, as one of the Asian "tiger" economies, transformed itself into the world's 11th largest economy and major exporter by 1996, emerging from being one of the lowest income countries in the region back in the 1960s. Yet one year later in 1997, Korea was swept up in the Asian financial crisis and sought a record $58 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The crisis exposed fundamental weaknesses in the Korean economy, from bad loans to reckless growth policies pursued by large conglomerates. Sweeping reforms took place and the Korean economy rebounded quickly. Yet as Korea approached the 10-year anniversary of the crisis, the nation found itself pondering whether it had implemented enough institutional and structural reforms, or whether more had to be done, such as searching for a new economic development model to ensure its future.
The CFO of a high-growth company in the low-growth and fragmented funeral services industry must decide how to optimize capital structure and earnings growth while maximizing the company's market value.
The case focuses on how Pratham, a non-governmental organization, provided quality education to underprivileged children in India by collaborating with the government. It focuses on the problem Madhav Chavan, the founder, is trying to solve, the contributing factors that have caused this problem not to be solved till now, Madhav's theory of change, questions about whether these activities (inputs) will affect the outputs and have an impact, what will it take and how will we know if Pratham is successful, and recommendations about what Madhav should do next.
Business ecosystems require careful orchestration and strategic choices regarding make/buy/partner decisions and membership access. This case examines the strategic and technological issues related to managing SAP's thriving ecosystem of user communities, software vendors, integration partners and technology providers. It details how the ecosystem gets developed and the challenges in meeting the needs of the internal organization, large partners, and small up and coming firms. SAP executives, in this case, have to make a decision if a relatively small startup firm should be elevated to the highest strategic partnership level, normally reserved for very large firms.
Describes a start-up in the field of nano technology--very small physical structures measured in the billionths of a meter. The company, Surface Logix, has assembled a portfolio of intellectual property and completed some of the R&D work required to develop actual products. Now the company must decide what specific product applications to focus on and what resources are required for that effort.
In this day and age, it is impossible to successfully run a business without an effective system for tracking performance. But IT savvy firms take things a step further, building digitized platforms that leverage IT to consistently elevate firm performance. As Weil and Ross point out, simply having an IT system and someone to run it does not set your company up for success. In this chapter, they discuss major problems plaguing IT services and outline a three-step process for building and exploiting a digitized platform and transforming IT from strategic liability to strategic asset. This chapter was originally published as chapter 1 of "IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain."
In May 2014, Bill McDermott will become the sole CEO of SAP AG, the world leader in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) field. The case occurs in January 2014 at SAP's investors meeting, at a time when the company's stock is near record high. A 2010 strategy committed the company to a transition to cloud computing. The main driver behind this transition was the development of SAP HANA, an in-memory computing technology that combined database, data processing, and application platform functionality. Ownership of cloud infrastructure was a key question. SAP could build, own, and operate its own data centers, or partner to locate SAP HANA and other products with other cloud infrastructure providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM. McDermott also had to make decisions around the organization and leadership of the company's cloud efforts.
For all the effort that you may have put into developing each of the discovery-driven plans in your growth portfolio, it's important to remember that even with great planning and strict discipline, many of your projects are unlikely to achieve commercial success. In pursuing a portfolio of growth initiatives, you will find that, sadly, the bulk of them will never emerge as major growth drivers. If redirecting the project doesn't work, you may conclude that rather than let the project continue to sap organizational resources, you need to bite the bullet and shut it down. But how do you make sure that killing an initiative is seen as a constructive process that allows the company to benefit as much as possible from the investments it has made? This chapter tackles this challenge, and discusses the all-important question of how to handle the inevitably disappointed stakeholders and supporters for the project, as well as the politics of the project-termination decision. This chapter is excerpted from "Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity."
The company uses the units of activity method to account for its rental inventory. A prominent hedge fund advisor recommends the company's stock be sold short.
Chrysler recently exited from the bankruptcy process, with U.S. government support and with Sergio Marchionne as CEO. Now was the time to work out how to create synergies with FIAT, how to improve the current manufacturing, product, and distribution-network configuration, and how to define the future product portfolio to compete over the long term. In 2004, Marchionne was appointed CEO of FIAT Group, headquartered in Turin, Italy, when the company had faced a near-hopeless crisis. He performed an extreme makeover and turned the company around. In 2008 the entire global automotive industry had entered a deep crisis; in response FIAT and Chrysler had forged a partnership, and Marchionne now found himself in the same situation again.
Banco Santander, Spain's largest commercial bank, announced in July 2004 the acquisition of Abbey National Bank, the fifth largest U.K. commercial bank. This transaction was the largest ever cross-border acquisition in European banking and would result in the 10th-largest bank in the world. Discusses the main sources of value creation from international expansion and acquisitions in the commercial banking industry. Also, highlights the barriers to integration within the single market of the European Union in a regulated service industry such as commercial banking.
An entrepreneurial division within Corning, Serengeti Eyewear, has grown rapidly in its brief 10-year history. Now it must decide whether to launch a new line of sunglasses and take on the industry leader. The company has prospered by developing and cultivating relationships with suppliers, customers, employees, and retailers. Its leader, Zaki Mystafa, has created a remarkable, flexible, and responsive organization. The case describes Mystafas's highly informal managerial style, and his skill at managing "up" to his superiors at Corning.
A bank loan officer must determine whether to waive convenants and extend terms on a line of credit granted to SureCut Shears. At issue is whether the inability of SureCut to pay down its line of credit is due to a temporary cyclical downturn or other long-term financial problems.
The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: 14. Identify Your Loyalties: How Does Your System of Loyalties Affect Your Ability to Lead Adaptive Change?by Alexander Grashow Marty Linsky Ronald A. Heifetz
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