When I was contracted to go to Eastern Europe to teach managers after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I took with me my toolbox of best practices. I addressed the principles of business acumen, segmentation, and planning. The classes in Poland and Hungary consisted of individuals from various management levels in a broad cross-section of industries, yet the approach to strategy fit, and benchmarking against world-class competitors was appropriate. I was impressed by the entrepreneurial drive of the audience –it was not from a high-tech innovative perspective, but from a desire to start their own businesses.
Several years later I taught a series of classes in Shanghai and Beijing. The managers in the audience were from multinational corporations, and many had received their degrees from Australia and Europe. They were interested in developing more skills based on Western business practices to apply in very large organizations.
While these situations were different in many ways, the common element was the thirst for best practices. And the capacity to learn and grow from them was incontrovertible. Yet, a lot has happened over the last two decades – significant technological metamorphosis, transnational fluctuations, demographic shifts and other upheavals – that has prompted a rethinking of business-as-usual. This doesn’t mean that everything from the past must be thrown out, but it does imply a more nuanced approach to the basics.
I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned over the years. Click on the buttons in the left column to access articles or a downloadable copy of the prologue of Business Model Renewal. The book was intended to bridge print and on-line sources and thus contains links to videos and tutorials that help explain those concepts. Since some links go dead after a while, I have updated them annually and there is a PDF containing the updated links.
I’ve also included a PDF of the presentation I used for teaching Business Models in the Business Acumen class at UW-Madison’s Center for Professional and Executive Development. Given the size of the presentations, I chose to disable the automatic download. But you have the option to save them.
Another downloadable presentation is Foresight: Your Secret Weapon for Long-term Strategy.