Category Archives: Culture

Steve Jobs resigns, will it change Apple?

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

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Shocked? Not really.  Should shareholders be worried?  You bet.  Steve Jobs, is by far, the most innovative and creative leaders of our time.  He has taken Apple from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most powerful, innovative company in the world in the last decade.

We all know what happened to Apple the first time Jobs exited stage left.  So should shareholders be worried of a repeat?  I think maybe so.  This is not to say that Cook is not or cannot lead an effective organization, continue to grow, and that he would not do the right thing for the valuation of the firm.  However, when an iconic leader steps aside I don’t believe we fully understand the impact. I don’t think it will affect Apple’s ability to compete, at least not in the short-term.  They are so far ahead of everyone else in delivering innovative technology, UIs, and thinking about competition differently it would take a substantial effort to beat Apple at their own game.  However, with a global economy they should be worried about two kids in a garage and keep the mindset that they must continually innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

As rapidly as technology changes, you have to wonder if Steve Jobs has built sustainability into his organization that will last well after he is gone.  I tend to believe not.  The power of iconic leaders to motivate and engage employees, clients, and shareholders is very difficult to replicate.  So I have to assume that all of the goods that come with great leadership might also dissipate once a great leader moves on.  The proof will be how Apple adapts as an organization  to a changing of the guard and my guess is that in 3-5 years we will know if Apple has significantly changed or if they will be able to maintain their edge.  Time will tell.

Steve Jobs resigns from Apple, Cook becomes CEO | Reuters Steve Jobs resigns from Apple, Cook becomes CEO | Reuters.

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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Culture, Innovation, Leadership


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Influence Project

A segment of a social network

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Influence Project.  Read about this interesting project from Fast Company and started to wonder how a person’s social sphere of influence can truly affect behavior.  So I decided to participate and see what the results are.

Here is my influence link if you care to participate.

Thinking back to company culture, how can a person’s sphere of influence within an organization serve as a catalyst to change the organization’s behaviors?  Can a few key individuals within an organization truly begin to change the culture or would it take more than that?  I guess the answer depends on the size of the organization and the person.  But, can a large company change the culture by focusing on changing the behaviors and attitudes of a few key people?  Would it spread like a social network?  Just food for thought.

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Posted by on July 21, 2010 in Culture, Social Media


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The One Thing that Matters Most to Companies- Culture!

The One Thing that Matters Most to Companies- Culture!
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After attending the 2010 Forrester Customer Experience Forum in New York I started to really think about how organizations become efficient, create winning customer experiences, develop sustainable business models and make great products and services. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate my blog to talking about these and other businesses practices. At best, I hope to generate dialogue and thought-provoking insights on how organizations can exceed customer expectations while delivering products and services consumers want and need. And by doing it in a sustainable way, hopefully they can give back to society while building a fantastic brand.

As many companies struggle to define their competitive advantages, develop unique products and deliver exceptional services I find one theme that matters most. The company’s culture is the single most important factor in how an organization operates. It determines how customers are treated, drives operations, and prioritizes spending for “keep the lights on” and “new cool innovations.”

For example, at the Forrester CXP, we heard from Patty VanLammeren, the Chief Customer Experience Officer at Allstate Insurance. She talked about how over the years, Allstate has been on a journey to change the customer experience. This is one of the major initiatives undertaken by Allstate to reverse course with their customer base and increase client retention, improve customer satisfaction, and get back to their core business. VanLammeren mentioned in order for them to begin to put their clients first, they had to change the culture, reinvent how clients were treated, and redefine what it means to be client centric. Although she noted it is an ongoing process and a long journey, Allstate is well on their way to redefining the company culture.

Allstate Insurance has implemented three key initiatives to change the culture. First, they started putting their money where their mouth is. Instead of providing lip service internally about being client focused, the Executive Team backed it with meaning. The company changed their 401(K) matching contribution plan to coincide with customer satisfaction scores. Essentially every employee’s contribution is driven by how well clients perceive the value that Allstate brings to the relationship. What a novel idea. We all know if you incent the behavior you want emulated, you will get faster results. Suddenly, everyone wants to know what they need to do to reap the rewards. Secondly, they began an ambassador program that, in a nut shell, is made up of volunteer employees. You know the type, highly engaged and motivated employees that ultimately form the coalition for change which is so critical in any organizational transformation. Third, Allstate created a Client First Forum that set strategic goals for the organization and defined, at a high level, how they would measure progress. Sub-teams were initiated to handle the tactical aspect of metrics. My interpretation is, with any organizational transformation, you have to benchmark first, and then measure progress. Otherwise, you’ll never know if you’re heading in the right direction.  By making these three key initiatives a priority, Allstate has become more client centric and is moving to change the company’s culture.

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Posted by on July 2, 2010 in Culture


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