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by Alan Hargreaves



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Tuesday
Aug222017

Spotting Opportunities

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Harnessing the value of difference

Leave aside politics for a moment and look at what diversity actually means. It’s a range of experience, abilities, knowledge, strengths and personality. It’s like a variety performance. You might not like every act but collectively it can put on a good show.

I breed horses. In our paddocks there are heavy eaters, pretty trotters and well-conformed athletes. There are feisty stallions and quality broodmares. Some of these horses like humans. Others don’t. Some will be sprinters, others stayers. A few will be flash equestrians. Others will simply be good paddock buddies. Together, they form a herd. 

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Tuesday
Jun202017

Beware the Big Wins

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Successful learning

Recently published research suggests smiling excessively in victory can lead to defeat in the next round. 

There may be something to it. The results, yet to be widely repeated, touch a nerve. I do know that in business the after-effects of a big win can be dangerous.

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Tuesday
Apr112017

The Strategic Enema

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Unload the future before you go there 

It’s rare to see a five-year plan that does not say everything will be amazing when we get there. Most are pretty confident.

Planning brings with it a few issues. Here are a couple. 

One is in the future: there can shift. What seemed like an ideal, achievable goal when you started can be less so when you get there. You achieved your sales target but failed to improve your offering. A more evolved version of your product came to market. You maintained share but squeezed profit margin to do so. The final results were well below target.

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Tuesday
Mar142017

Learning from drug dealers

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Addicts or Customers?

I begin my weekdays with a short exercise routine followed by a 20-minute meditation. Then its breakfast, a shower and into my office and online where I look at two news sites, check overnight markets, open my email inbox, AND, take a quick scroll through Facebook.

The last item is contentious. Much of Facebook’s content is odious. It feeds egos, disseminates fake views, betrays a variety of bigotries and provokes ideas I’d call unfathomable were they not so shallow. Yet, I do my morning scroll.

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Tuesday
Feb142017

What else is in the shed?

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“China wouldn’t get out of bed to do this.” 

Astor Industries is a plastic-injection business. It began in 1957 and supplies parts to the Australian auto industry. By the end of this decade there will be no auto manufacturers left in Australia. Neil Henderson was once Astor’s manufacturing manager. Two years ago he bought the firm.

Beneath the vulnerability, Henderson saw some strengths. One was the ability to deliver high-quality products to custom designs in short runs. Where China’s now-fabled manufacturers might need orders of 100,000 plus, Astor could offer a highly competitive service for smaller orders using the firm’s range of skills to provide everything from design to delivery.

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