Morten Hansen is a professor at University of California, Berkeley, and at INSEAD, France. He was previously a professor at Harvard Business School for a number of years. Prior to joining Harvard University, Hansen obtained his Ph.D. from the business school at Stanford University. In addition to his academic career, Hansen was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in the London, Stockholm and San Francisco offices. He was part of the research teams for the international best-selling books Built to Last and Good to Great. Hansen’s research on collaboration has won several prestigious awards, including the best article awards from Sloan Management Review and Administrative Science Quarterly, the leading academic journal in the field. Several of his Harvard Business Review articles have been bestsellers for a number of years. He regularly consults with companies on collaboration and gives keynotes at leadership conferences. His new management book is Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results (Harvard Business School Press, 2009) and, more recently, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, co-authored with Jim Collins (HarperBusiness, 2011). A native of Norway, Hansen holds a Master’s degree in finance from London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Stanford University where he was a Fulbright scholar.
To watch an interview of Morten during which he shares his thoughts about “How Great Leaders Make Their Own Luck” please click here.
To read my interview of Morten and Jim Collins, please click here.
Richard P. Rumelt received his doctorate from the Harvard Business School in 1972, having previously earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley. He worked as a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1976. During 1993-96 he was on long-term leave from UCLA, serving on the faculty at INSEAD, France. At INSEAD, Rumelt headed the Corporate Renewal Initiative, a research-intervention center devoted to the study and practice of corporate transformation. Rumelt was President of the Strategic Management Society in 1995-98. He received the Irwin Prize for his book Strategy, Structure, and Economic Performance. In 1997, he was appointed Telecom Italia Strategy Fellow, a position he held until April 2000. He has won teaching awards at UCLA and received a “best paper prize” in 1997 from the Strategic Management Journal.
Rumelt’s research has centered on corporate diversification strategy and the sources of sustainable advantage to individual business strategies. He occupies the Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society. His published works include Fundamental Issues in Strategy: A Research Agenda co-authored with David Teece and more recently, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. His current research interests center on corporate strategy and issues of institutional governance. Education: D.B.A. Management, 1972, Harvard University; M.S. Electrical Engineering, 1965, UC Berkeley; and B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1963, UC Berkeley.
Here is an excerpt from my interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Morris: Before discussing Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, a few general questions. First, to what extent (if any) has your formal training in electrical engineering proven invaluable to your work on strategy.
Rumelt: The gifts of my EE training were many. First there is a capability in mathematics. Second is an appreciation that technical skills are only acquired by drill and practice. Finally, there is a confidence that I can understand almost all technical issues if I apply myself. That keeps me from shying away from a wide range of problems and settings.
Morris: Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original expectations. Why?
Rumelt: Change is difficult and it takes time. It is hard for people to change their own behavior, much less that of others. Change programs normally address attitudes, ideas, and rewards. But the behaviors of people in organizations are also strongly shaped by habits, routines, and social norms. Real change requires new power relationships, new work routines and new habits, not just intent.
Morris: In Leading Change, James O’Toole suggests some of the strongest resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” What do you think?
Rumelt: I agree with O’Toole that custom and comfort are impediments to change. However, it is important to recognize that resistance to change is logical as well. The new “change masters” literature seems to take change as the norm. It isn’t. Humans naturally see change as risky because it is risky, just as mutations in genes are mostly destructive. You would not want to go to work were everything changed every week! The phone system, the office assignments, who reports to who, and the whole set of job expectations.
Morris: How best to avoid or overcome such resistance?
Rumelt: You overcome the logical resistance to change by proving that a new approach actually works, usually on a small scale.
Morris: Peter Drucker and Michael Porter have provided many valuable insights. For example, from Drucker: ”There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” And now from Porter: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” What are your own thoughts about all this?
Rumelt: Drucker and Porter are each pointing at vital, though slightly different, aspects of strategy. A good strategy focuses efforts on a target, and that focus can only be achieved by not diffusing energy in other directions—that is the meaning of Porter’s dictum of “choosing what not to do.” At the same time, a good strategy chooses the right target to focus on, not wasting the focus of energy on a target that cannot be affected or that is unimportant—that is the meaning of Drucker’s distinction between efficiency and effectiveness.
Morris: The percentages vary among recent research studies but they all suggest that, on average, C-level executives spend about 10% of their time discussing strategy on a weekly basis and a substantial majority of employees have no idea what their organization’s strategy is. How do you explain these rather astonishing statistics?
Rumelt: Many C-level executives use the term to refer to big deals or forward-looking financial goals and plans. Others use it to mean overall “visions” or “missions,” or other corporate slogans. However, a real strategy is a coherent mix of policy and action designed to overcome a significant challenge. So a sensible employee might indeed say that they have no idea what the organization’s strategy is—because it seems to have none. Senior managers’ so-called “strategies” are heavy with aspirations and goals, but light on how resources and strengths will be combined to achieve them.
Morris: In your opinion, who in the given enterprise should be involved in the formulation of its strategy?
Rumelt: Small groups of very senior people. Real strategy is not bottom up because it deals with issues that require unexpected or unusual types action, especially of coordination among units.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Richard Rumelt cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, and sign up for a subscription to HBR email alerts, please click here.
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In the Economist review of our book, The Innovator’s DNA, the reviewer wondered whether genius-level innovators such as Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs challenge the idea that working adults can really learn how to think differently and become innovators.
We don’t think so. Remember, it was Steve Jobs who jump-started the now-famous “Think Different” advertising campaign as a way to inspire consumers and recharge Apple’s innovation efforts. It worked. Reflecting back on the campaign, Jobs said “The whole purpose of the ‘Think Different’ campaign was that people had forgotten what Apple stood for, including the employees.” And the best way to tell people what Apple stood for was to tell them who the company’s heroes were. The campaign reminded everyone — consumers and employees alike — that the “crazy ones…see things differently.”
Reams of relevant research (including our own) proves Jobs right. Innovators excel at connecting the unconnected. They engage in associational thinking. At Apple (or at any innovative company), they take a little bit of this, sprinkle in a little bit of that and that and that to churn out market-busting ideas such as iTunes, and the iPod, iPhone, and iPad (along with a few market disasters like the G4 Cube computer).
But neither Steve Jobs nor Apple nor any other high-profile innovator or company has a corner on the think-different market. In fact, our study of over 5,000 entrepreneurs and executives shows the opposite: almost anyone who consistently makes the effort to think different can think different.
Take Gavin Symanowitz, whom we recently met in South Africa. His original business, GetAGreatBoss.com, lets great managers showcase their skills to attract talent and boost their own careers by conducting a 360 review of the manager by his or her staff, and if the results are favorable, he links the results to job ads that the boss is trying to fill, making these job ads far more appealing. By connecting the unconnected — 360 leadership assessments and help wanted ads — Symanowitz forged an online business that sprouted in Africa and now grows globally.
Innovators (of new businesses, products, and processes) spend almost 50% more time trying to think different compared to non-innovators. In other words, non-innovators do occasionally think different (answering “at least a little bit” to questions like “I creatively solve challenging problems by drawing on diverse ideas or knowledge” to hit the 48th percentile in our global database). Yet compared to innovators, they just don’t do it as often. Generating new business ideas that make a positive financial impact takes time. Innovators who spend more time thinking different (scoring in the 70-80th percentile) consistently engage in associational thinking by “agreeing” or “strongly agreeing” with questions like the one above and they deliver innovative results more frequently than those who don’t. It’s that simple.
If thinking different can make such a positive difference, why don’t more people spend more time doing it? Researchers at Harvard Medical School opened our eyes to one compelling answer. Sixty to eighty percent of adults find the task of thinking different uncomfortable and some even find it exhausting. When adults must connect the unconnected through associational thinking, it wears them out. Why? Because most adults have lost the skills they once had (just watch almost every four-year old who relishes the chance to think different. And all of us were once four-year olds). We don’t lose this skill because genetic coding automatically shuts it down on our twenty-first birthday. Instead, most of us grew up in a world where thinking different was punished instead of praised (at home or school). So while roughly one-third of anyone’s innovation capacity comes from their genetic endowment, two-thirds of it is still driven by the environment. So here are a few simple suggestions to ratchet up your associating skills, the essence of thinking different.
[Here are two suggestions.]
Shake it up. When associations don’t come naturally, try forcing them to surface unnaturally — by shaking things up randomly. For example, try the Idea Generator app, which randomly combines three words together when you shake your smart phone. Shake it again and three more random words show up. You can get even more creative combinations by adding your own words to the mix (including foreign ones) and seeing what you get. For example, we just shook up the app while writing this blog and got three words — perforated, bite-sized, and humane — which might help generate a new idea. Perhaps putting bite-sized perforations into a new product could make a difference. That’s exactly what David Mullany did in 1953 by transforming a solid plastic ball into the Wiffle ball, a completely new product with bite-sized perforations in it.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that if adults practice associational thinking long enough, the task no longer exhausts but energizes them. Like most skill-based activities, if we slog away at it and practice over and over again, the task becomes not life taking but life giving. And that’s when the most creative ideas pop out.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Jeff Dyer is the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School, Brigham Young University; Hal Gregersenis a professor of leadership at INSEAD. They are co-authors with Clayton M. Christensen of the The Innovator’s DNA. To check out more blog posts by them, please click here.
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested nearly a quarter of a century of research into the topic, Jim has authored or co-authored six books that have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. They include Built to Last, Good to Great, and How the Mighty Fall. His most recent book is Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, co-authored with Morten Hansen. Based on nine years of research, it answers the question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Great by Choice distinguishes itself from Jim’s prior books by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today. Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts research and consults with executives from the corporate and social sectors. He holds degrees in business administration and mathematical sciences from Stanford University, and honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado and the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley (School of Information) and at INSEAD, France. Formerly a professor at the Harvard Business School, he holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where he was a Fulbright scholar and received the Jaedicke award for outstanding academic performance. His award-winning research has been published in leading academic journals, and he is the winner of the Administrative Science Quarterly award for having made exceptional contributions to the field of organization studies. Hansen has published several best-selling articles in the Harvard Business Review and is the author of the management book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. A native of Norway and a former silver medalist in the Norwegian junior track and field championship, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys running, hiking and traveling.
Here is an excerpt. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Morris: When and why did you two decide to write Great by Choice and how was the division of labor determined?
Hansen: Around 2001, during the time of the dot.com boom and bust and 9/11, the world turned unstable and uncertain. People, including our students, kept asking us, how do you manage in unstable times? How do you prevail? How do you become great in a world out of control? Finally, this topic grabbed us so completely that we both decided that we had to pursue it.
Morris: Were there any head-snapping revelations while you and your associates conducted the research over a period of nine years, 2002-2011?
Hansen: During this period, we experienced a recession (2001-02), a huge boom (2003-07), the great recession (2008-10) and the great uncertainty (2010-probably forever). These shifting circumstances just reinforced to us that we don’t live in stable times. In fact, we came to the conclusion that the past 50 years have been an abnormal period of stability and that what we will be experiencing going forward is a permanent state of instability, uncertainty, disruption, and even chaos.
Morris: To what extent (if any) does the book in final form differ from the one you originally envisioned?
Collins: We started the project with the idea that it would just be an article. But the question and findings proved so fascinating, that we decided to shift gears into a full-blown multi-year research effort that could be a book.
Morris: To what extent does it differ significantly from those earlier works?
Collins: First, there are some important similarities across the four studies. They all use the historical matched-pair research method. They all proceed with a “let the data speak” approach, following the evidence rather than our own preconceptions. They all have powerful conceptual frameworks. They all use vivid stories as a pedagogical method for teaching the concepts.
There are three main differences between this study and the others. First, is the question itself: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others don’t? Unlike any of the prior books, we deliberately selected on the severity and instability of the environment, not just on performance. Second, this study deliberately examined small, vulnerable enterprises that rose to greatness, giving us insight into entrepreneurial leadership that we did not have in the prior works. And finally—although we did not plan this—it has some of the most directly useful ideas that apply not just to building companies, but also to navigating a life in an uncertain and chaotic world.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Jim and Morten cordially invite you to check out the resources at these websites:
You really should take advantage of this exceptional gift from Harvard Business Review and be sure to tell your friends about it.
Here are the details.
COMPLIMENTARY LIVE AUDIO WEBINAR
Co-conductors: Clay Christensen and Hal Gregersen
Renowned innovation expert and HBS Professor, Clay Christensen, and Hal Gregersen, INSEAD Senior
Affiliate Professor, share secrets to cultivating innovation prowess throughout your organization
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon U.S./Canadian EST
Join us right from your office or conference room—by Internet link (no travel!)
About This Free, Interactive Webinar
Some people are natural innovators, right? They discover new products, services, and entire businesses with little effort, while the rest of us can’t keep up. Wrong.
Innovative capabilities are not innate, argues HBS professor Clay Christensen and INSEAD Professor Hal Gregersen and their co-author in The Innovator’s DNA. Anyone can master disruptive innovation by developing five skills:
1. Associating: Drawing connections among questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields.
2. Questioning: Posing queries that challenge common wisdom.
3. Observing: Scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things.
4. Experimenting: Constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge.
5. Networking: Mixing with people who have different ideas and perspectives.
In this interactive Harvard Business Review webinar on October 19, Professors Christensen and Gregersen will explain how you and your team can cultivate these skills to become more innovative.
Professors Christensen and Gregersen will share how to generate ideas using these skills, collaborate with “delivery-driven” colleagues to implement ideas, and build innovation strength throughout an organization. Attendees will learn to rate their own “Innovator’s DNA.”
Having coined the term and the concept “disruptive innovation,” Professor Christensen is a world-renowned expert on innovation. Gather your team on October 19 to hear Professors Christensen and Gregersen detail how your company can use his insights to your advantage. No team seeking to develop its innovation prowess should skip this opportunity.
After the event, you will receive a Key Learnings Summary, which captures the key insights from the event.
To register, please click here.
Can’t make it? Click here for information.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Morten T. Hansen and Scott Tapp for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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Companies need an executive responsible for integrating the enterprise — a Chief Collaboration Officer (CCO). Increasingly, companies are embracing collaboration as part of their strategy to grow, by cross-selling products to existing customers and innovating through the recombination of existing technologies. But this won’t work unless employees work effectively across silos — across sales offices, business units, sales, product development, and marketing.
And who’s in charge of such an effort? In most companies today, senior executives are still responsible for their
unit — sales, marketing, HR, division A, division B. Yes, they are told to be team players and work with their peers. But that is often not enough. You need someone to look after the whole, by taking a holistic view of what is needed to get employees to work across silos.
You may say, “sure, that’s the CEO’s role.” True. But the CEO cannot afford to spend too much time on it. The CEO needs someone more dedicated to the effort — a Chief Collaboration Officer. So who should that be? We’re not proposing a new person — yet another (expensive) executive in the C-suite. We think that a current C-level executive should assume the mantle. Here are five candidates:
The current CIO. This is a perfect area for the Chief Information Officer to go beyond IT, step up, and take an enterprise-wide view. If you’re a CIO looking to broaden your role and drive value across the company, this is your opportunity.
The current HR head. Good collaboration requires the right incentives, performance evaluations, promotion criteria, and people development. So it’s only natural for the head of HR to take on the CCO role; that entails going beyond HR issues and working with others, such as the CIO, to craft a holistic solution.
The current COO. Of course, if your company has a COO that oversees many parts of the business, adding the Chief Collaboration Officer role is a natural extension.
The current CFO. Now, this is less obvious. Why get the numbers person on board here? Well, collaboration is first and foremost about creating economic value; it’s a strategic search for good cross-company projects. Many CFOs also oversee the strategy department, so why not add cross-company strategic activities to the portfolio?
The current head of strategy. Good collaboration means finding and prioritizing areas of synergy, an exercise well suited for the executive responsible for the overall strategy of the firm.
Other candidates may also exist, such as Chief Technology Officers in high-tech companies. Some senior executives are less suited for the job: head of sales, head of countries, and business unit heads. They tend to be too focused on their primary role.
So what should a Chief Collaboration Officer do?
Let’s say Brian, the current CIO, assumes the role. First, Brian needs to work with the CFO and head of strategy to identify the strategic opportunities for collaboration across the company — that is, to establish the business case for collaboration. He also needs to involve business unit leaders and head of sales to craft goals related to collaboration initiatives — for example, how much sales they will generate. Then Brian needs to walk over to the head of HR to make sure that performance evaluations, bonuses, and promotions are depended on good collaborative behaviors. That is, he needs to align the entire organization to realize the business case.
Soon Brian will discover the truth about the Chief Collaboration Office role: while he is responsible for driving the collaboration effort, he needs to do so by working with his peers. His job is to craft a holistic solution to collaboration, one that involves strategy, HR, product development, sales solutions, marketing, and IT. In short, he needs to be a masterful collaborator. Choosing a CCO is less about which role a person currently occupies and more about whether he or she has the skills. Pick the best collaborator.
So, do you think you need a Chief Collaboration Officer, and who do you think it should be?
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Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at University of California, Berkeley, and INSEAD, France, and the author of Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity and Reap Big Results (Harvard Business Press). Scott Tapp is Senior Vice President and General Manager for Global Collaboration Services at PGi.
To check out my interview of Hansen, please click here.
Through Imagining the Future of Leadership, a symposium at the Harvard Business School and accompanying blog series [click here], expert thinkers gathered to investigate what is necessary today to develop the leaders we need for tomorrow.
Here is a ”must watch” video during which nine world-renowned authorities on leadership discuss what they consider to be the worst mistake a leader can make.
To watch this video, please click here.
Bill George, Professor, Harvard Business School and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic
; co-author of Authentic Leadership and True North
Evan Wittenberg, Head of Global Leadership Development, Google, Inc.
Dr. Ellen Langer, Professor, Harvard University
Andrew Pettigrew, Professor, Sïad Business School, University of Oxford
Gianpiero Petriglieri, Affiliate Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD
Carl Sloane, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School
Jonathan Doochin, Leadership Institute at Harvard College
Scott Snook, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School and retired Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineers
Daisy Wademan Dowling, Executive Director, Leadership Development at Morgan Stanley
Carolyn Hoyt’s interviews of four women gurus: Marianne Williamson, Charlene Li, Renée Mauborgne and Louise Hay
Here is an extension of an article that appeared in the February/March (2010) issue of PINK magazine. Carolyn Hoyt interviews four women gurus: I have selected one Q&A for each. To read the complete article, please click here. You can also sign up for a free subscription to PINK’s e-Newsletter.
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Women are upending the whole idea of a “business guru” by transcending business as usual. These four sages deliver wisdom and wit to millions – and impact every corner of women’s lives.
By Carolyn Hoyt
Our exclusive interviews with four of the most interesting, provocative and inspirational women gurus today – Marianne Williamson, Charlene Li, Renée Mauborgne and Louise Hay – were just too good to go partly unpublished. So in addition to their conversations with us that appear in the February.March issue of PINK here are the rest of their words of wisdom.
Marianne Williamson’s legendary success includes a first book, A Return to Love, that spent 35 weeks as America’s No. 1 favorite read, and her most recent, The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife, which hit No. 2 on The New York Times best-seller list in its first week. Last fall she spoke to packed houses in Boston, Phoenix, London, Los Angeles and New York, to name just a few. With only a single employee, Williamson’s business is basically self-run and, reflecting the beliefs she preaches, pursues a spiritual path. She has been named by major publications as one of the 50 most influential baby boomers.
Hoyt: How is your own spirituality reflected in your work?
Williamson: In many ways. I have always taken my nonprofit work as seriously as my work within the profit-making sector. In 1989, I founded an organization in Los Angeles called Project Angel Food, which basically was meals on wheels for homebound people with AIDS. More recently, I am pushing an agenda of peace, with the founding of the Peace Alliance, which supports legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace. I have always wanted to play to an audience that is like me. I want to write books or give talks which, if I were in the audience or I were the reader, I would appreciate. And there have definitely been times in my life when I knew that what I wanted to talk about was not popular in the moment. For instance, in 1998, I wrote a book about healing the soul of America at a time when my primary readership, the spiritual and metaphysical community, didn’t want to hear about politics. Today, of course, that’s changed. With issues of social activism, sacred activism, a whole new conversation has emerged, where virtue is its own reward and the ultimate high is feeling, at the end of the day, like I contributed to my community or my society, whether or not it’s popular. I think that while this decision may have been, at times, to my detriment financially, it has contributed to my stature. I have a voice in society. And I have lived enough to know that, ultimately, abundance flows from your name as well as your product.
Charlene Li’s breathtaking rise as an authority on emerging technologies has garnered her a long list of accolades, including “one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley.” In October, she was keynote speaker for an event that drew more than 300 attendees, and early this year she will headline a conference that draws more than 5000. But her biggest audiences are – where else? – online. She writes several popular and influential blogs found at altimetergroup.com, charleneli.com and svmoms.com. With two young children and a new office in her home (where she has yet to purchase bookshelves), Li has a lot to say about women professionals in the 21st century.
[Note: I highly recommend her recently published book, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead.]
Hoyt: What’s next for women of your generation?
Li: I see women going anywhere they want to. And I do mean want to. Because a lot of people measure success merely by position, title and salary. I think women feel comfortable enough in their own skin to put that secondary to what they want. They don’t have to define success by the measure of society. People often say to me, “How come you don’t want to be CEO of a company?” And I tell them, “I don’t want to.” I know I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it. Why does that have to be the definition of success?
I also think that women no longer have to set up a boundary between work life and home life. One of the hallmarks of my thinking is that I bring a lot of my personal life into my work. That’s a huge advantage I have over men, who may feel they have to separate the two.
Along with her co-author, W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne has been called “the No. 1 guru of the future” by L/Expansion, France ‘s leading business magazine. Their book, Blue Ocean Strategy (Harvard Business School Press, 2005), ranks as the fastest-selling title in its publisher’s history. So it comes as no surprise that Mauborgne’s speaking skills are in high demand. She gave the keynote address to an audience of 5,000 at the World Business Forum in New York’s Radio City Music Hall, an event that also included speakers Bill Clinton, Jack Welch and Malcolm Gladwell. And she is a fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the annual gathering of CEOs, political leaders and thought leaders from across the world. Mauborgne is a professor at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and is also co-founder and co-director of the Blue Ocean Strategy Institute.
Hoyt: What exactly is the “blue ocean”?
Mauborgne: As new global players enter the world stage from all corners of the globe, be it China, India, Brazil or Eastern Europe, companies in most industries are finding themselves stuck in what I call a “red ocean” of bloody competition. This environment is characterized by intense competition, market-share battles, declining price points and commodization of offerings. The question is, “What will it take to thrive in this new world economy?”
My answer is to create what I call “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. Here, the aim is not to compete, but to make the competition irrelevant and create a larger economic pie. It is worth noting that historically, the focus on beating rivals fundamentally traces back to military strategy. Under military strategy, because the land on the Earth is limited and given, the only way to expand territory or market share is at the expense of another. Hence, someone’s gain can only be achieved at another’s loss. To win, you must make another lose. What the world has shown us, however, is that while the land on Earth may be limited, the ‘blue ocean’ of new market space that can be created and captured is unlimited. Just think of how many multimillion- and multibillion-dollar businesses exist today that did not exist even 30 years ago: cell phones, biotechnology, snowboards, ring tones, social networking sites, search engines … tooth whitening!”
Louise Hay’s first book, Heal Your Body, started as a 12-page pamphlet but has since been translated into 25 languages. That kind of meteoric rise is the story of her entire career – which started in counseling in the early 1970s before growing into a veritable self-help empire, anchored by her publishing company, Hay House. Hay’s charitable offshoots – the Hay Foundation and the Louise L. Hay Charitable Fund – channel millions to people living with AIDS, battered women and other “challenged individuals” in society. Her monthly column, “Dear Louise,” appears in more than 50 worldwide publications. And she’s been dubbed the “Mother of the New Age,” the “Queen of Affirmation” and, in the Australian media, “the closest thing to a living saint.”
Hoyt: What are we forgetting as we focus more than ever on advancement?
Hay: Ourselves. How to fulfill ourselves. How to make ourselves happy. We get too caught up in the moneymaking part of life. My own biggest concerns are to stay healthy and happy. I think the business will take care of itself and, when I put that thought out into the world, it happens. My company is absolutely growing and growing and growing. We do seminars, sometimes, for 7,000 people. These are people, predominantly women, who are seeking, who want to know more, who want to improve the quality of their lives, who want to find themselves.”
I like to think about legacies. In this life, we all should leave a legacy. I didn’t enter this whole world until I was in my 50s, when my first book was published. Now I’m 81 and having an absolutely wonderful time in life. Recently a rose was named after me – an apricot hybrid. It is so beautiful, and long after I’m gone this rose will be around bringing beauty to the world. I like that idea very much.
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“It’s tempting to think that decisions that are not life-and-death are therefore unimportant, and that the little compromises we make don’t matter to our bottom line or our spiritual selves. How many of us are tempted, in business, to make a less-than-ethical decision? To appropriate someone else’s idea or fudge some numbers? We have to remember that maintaining our ethical and spiritual selves is absolutely linked with achieving the degree of success we’re working toward.” Marianne Williamson
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To read the complete article, please click here. You can also sign up for a free subscription to PINK’s e-Newsletter.