The place for Kim’s views

Middle managers get hit again

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I see middle managers are getting hit yet again, this time in McKinsey Quarterly as ‘innovation blockers‘.

It seems to be forgotten that middle managers have the additional rather boring but important role of actually running the business that generates the cash flow that funds innovation. This is the group that actually knows how things work, as compared with juniors who only see their own function and seniors who move on every couple of years so never get to really ...

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Don’t copy what’s not relevant

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A nice word of caution from strategy+business magazine about looking for magic strategy answers by peering into the ways of superstars. In The Google Enigma, they point out that ‘Unless your company makes money by selling advertising attached to digital goods, you may not be able to learn much from Google’s example’. You can say that again! … the staggeringly powerful technology behind Google is so idiosyncratic to its case as to dwarf the contribution of almost anything ...

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Strategic incompetence continued

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… and now we see Merrill Lynch in the same trouble, so perhaps they could answer the same question we put to Citigroup.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, we are told that every household in the country is going to have to stump up Stlg 2,000  to prop up another spectacular failure of strategy, this time at Northern Rock – a bank whose breath-taking brilliance took them to a leading position in the mortgage market.

Again, what makes me especially angry is ...

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Strategic incompetence

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Interesting to see that Citigroup may take a further multi-billion dollar hit as a further consequence of the sub-prime lending fiasco. Now nothing makes me angrier than strategic incompetence, not because of the harm it does to investors – they know they are putting their money in the hands of people who may flush it away – but because of the ordinary folk who get burned.

Now a few people walked away from all this with nice multi-million dollar bonuses, when ...

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Oh no – not ‘change’ again !

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The latest from McKinsey Quarterly is yet another fire-hosing about ‘driving radical change’, ‘transformation without crisis’, etc. etc. Radical change is very rarely needed, most often destructive, and only appropriate in the most dire circumstances – which applies to very few organizations. And don’t come back with ‘Well you’ve got to transform yourself before some mega-upheaval happens to you’ – it probably won’t, and if it could do, then you’d be better looking to adapt than transform.
At least they ...

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