Newsletter – December, 2017

On My Mind
There always seems to be one company that stands apart from the crowd each decade in terms of performance and reputation. Here would be my (subjective) selections: Motorola in the 1980s; GE in the 1990s; Toyota in the 2000s; and Apple in the 2010s. Which company would be your best guess for the 2020s? My shortlist of candidates would include (in alphabetical order) Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Tesla. Alphabet will continue to rapidly innovate; Amazon will continue to be the everything store (and more); Facebook will continue to connect the world; IBM’s Watson will continue to get faster and smarter; Microsoft will transform under Satya Nadella’s leadership; and Tesla’s electric cars and trucks will be everywhere. However, I wouldn’t count out Apple as a repeat winner. Some “tech experts” have commented that the new Apple Headquarters is Steve Job’s most insanely amazing product yet.

Interesting Stories
I think I have a case of “bad news fatigue” given the amount of media attention on political divisiveness, nuclear tensions, sexual harassment allegations, Russian interference, mass shootings, hurricanes, wild fires, layoffs, etc. It is hard to find a positive, heartwarming, and/or inspiring news story. Maybe that represents an opportunity for some enlightened media company. For some reason I recently recalled an old phrase by George H. W. Bush that still resonates with me – he called for a kinder, gentler nation. He spoke those words on August 18, 1988 when he received the Republic Party’s nomination for President of the United States. I think those words are relevant today.

Company News
I was a guest lecturer on Big Data in Hoshin Kanri at the Carlson School of Management’s graduate-level course on Big Data Analytics in Supply Chains instructed by Dr. Kingshuk (KK) Sinha. Hoshin Kanri is a Japanese strategic planning system. The next public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course kicks-off January 9, 2018. The brochures for this course is available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. The Statistical Methods for Strategic Improvement course will be held February 5-6, 2018. The next public Strategic Improvement Green Belt course kicks-off April 17, 2018. The brochure for those two courses will be available on this website in late December.

Intriguing Reads
Satya Nadella is the third CEO in the history of Microsoft (after Bill Gates and his successor Steve Ballmer). Nadella’s new book titled, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone is part autobiography and part how Microsoft is transforming (under Nadella’s leadership) to a mobile/cloud company. I especially enjoyed Nadella’s first person descriptions of the Microsoft strategic planning sessions. This is a great book to read if you are tasked with transforming your organization – it will inspire you.