Newsletter – Q2 2023

On My Mind
COVID-19 and other emergent events such as supply chain disruptions, the invasion of Ukraine, the collapse of FTX, the rapid rise in inflation, the rapid rise in interest rates, and bank failures have reminded senior executives about the fragility of systems and the importance of risk management. Some risks are known while other risks are unknown—lurking in the background waiting to emerge from the shadows. Leaders of organizations now have a renewed interest in getting better at identifying and evaluating risks and then developing and implementing countermeasures. I recently reread the book The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. If you’d like to learn more about unknown risks, then that is a good book to read.

Interesting Stories
Warren Buffett (age 92) is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as BRK.A and BRK.B. His long-time business partner Charlie Munger (99) is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway. Together they have “run” Berkshire Hathaway for several decades. Berkshire Hathaway has its Headquarters in Omaha, NE and has roughly 382,000 employees. I will be attending the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting in Omaha on May 6, 2023. People come from all over the world to learn from Warren and Charlie. It will be held at the CHI Health Center and it will probably be another full-house event again this year. Many of the Berkshire Hathaway operating companies will be showcasing their products and services in the adjoining Exhibit Hall. Warren and Charlie will conduct a Q&A session for several hours on May 6. The questions will be wide-ranging and they will not know the questions in advance. This is quite a phenomenon given their ages. The Annual Meeting will be exclusively livestreamed by CNBC if you would like to watch.

Company News
I started work as an Independent Management Consultant 34 years ago—prior to that I worked for Process Management International as a Statistical Consultant and prior to that I worked as a Regulatory Specialist for Citibank. Time flies! I’ll be an Exhibitor again this year at PENworks 2023 on May 4, 2023. Stop by my table if you are attending the event. There are several public learning opportunities on the horizon: the Basic Data Analysis course will be held on June 28, 2023; the Strategic Improvement Green Belt course starts July 11, 2023; the Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt course will be held on July 20 2023; and the Strategic Improvement Black Belt course starts August 29, 2023. Several 60-minute Zoom webinars have also been scheduled: Visions & Visioning on May 24, 2023; Shaping Organizational Culture on June 20, 2023; Performance Scorecards on July 18, 2023; Customer Segmentation on August 22, 2023; Analytics Strategy on September 25, 2023; and Scenario Analysis on October 17, 2023. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) continues to be one of the leading business periodicals. It has a nice balance of theoretical and practical content. The May-June 2023 issue of the HBR has several great articles including How to Create a Stakeholder Strategy by Darrell Rigby, Zach First, and Dunigan O’keeffe; Innovation Doesn’t Have to Be Disruptive by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne; and Analytics for Marketers by Fabrizio Fantini and Das Narayandas. The most recent HBR Special Issue (Spring 2023) on How to Think More Strategically has several great articles including Stress-Test Your Strategy: The 7 Questions to Ask by Robert Simons and How to Make the Most of Your Company’s Strategy by Stephen Bungay.