Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 46, 2022

Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 46, 2022
Weekly Pulse is content curation and highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, ramblings, and other interesting things I discovered and digested during the week.

So, let's go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 - The Brand Report Card
#2 - 12 Simple Daily Tasks That Will Energize and Simplify Your Life
#3 - How Apple is Organized for Innovation
#4 - What Happened After Zappos Got Rid of Workplace Hierarchy
#5 - Persuading the Unpersuadable
#6 - What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
#7 - Book Notes: The Lean Machine - Dantar P. Oosterwal


The Brand Report Card

Source: Harvard Business Review 
Author: Kevin Lane Keller
Year: 2000

Summary: Building and properly managing brand equity has become a priority for companies of all sizes, in all types of industries, and in all types of markets. After all, from strong brand equity flow customer loyalty and profits. The rewards of having a strong brand are clear. The problem is, few managers are able to step back and assess their brand’s particular strengths and weaknesses objectively.

3 Highlights:

"... Most have a good sense of one or two areas in which their brand may excel or may need help. But if pressed, many (understandably) would find it difficult even to identify all of the factors they should be considering. When you’re immersed in the day-to-day management of a brand, it’s not easy to keep in perspective all the parts that affect the whole..."

"... The report card can help you identify areas that need improvement, recognize areas in which your brand is strong, and learn more about how your particular brand is configured..."

"... Constructing similar report cards for your competitors can give you a clearer picture of their strengths and weaknesses. Decisions that might seem straightforward, can sometimes prove to be serious mistakes if they undermine another characteristic that customers value more..."



12 Simple Daily Tasks That Will Energize and Simplify Your Life

Source: Untethered Mind by Alex Mathers
Author: Alex Mathers
Year: 2022

Summary: Life is rarely won in an overnight show of lights and splendor. Instead, real success follows months and years of accumulated actions, often small and seemingly insignificant. The items in this article are some examples that will not only bring you long-term success but also add value to your day, right now.

3 Highlights:

"... The habit of non-strenuous movement through a town or a forest keeps you trim and creative, while also being a badass daily achievement to separate you from the slovenly fatso masses..."

"... Reading or listening to audiobooks will fuel your curiosity for the world which you can then pour into your own remarkable creative projects..."

"... Whether family or potential clients, getting into the habit of maintaining and expanding my network, even if it’s a simple DM, is one of my most cherished and impactful daily habits..."



How Apple is Organized for Innovation

Source: Harvard Business School
Author: Joel M. Podolny and Morten T. Hansen
Year: 2020

Summary: When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, in 1997, it had a conventional structure for a company of its size and scope. It was divided into business units, each with its own P&L responsibilities. Believing that conventional management had stifled innovation, Jobs laid off the general managers of all the business units (in a single day), put the entire company under one P&L, and combined the disparate functional departments of the business units into one functional organization. Although such a structure is common for small entrepreneurial firms, Apple—remarkably—retains it today, even though the company is nearly 40 times as large in terms of revenue and far more complex than it was in 1997.

3 Highlights:

"... Apple’s functional organization is rare, if not unique, among very large companies. It flies in the face of the prevailing management theory that companies should be reorganized into divisions and business units as they become large. But something vital gets lost in a shift to business units: the alignment of decision rights with expertise..."

"... The company is organized around functions, and expertise aligns with decision rights. Leaders are cross-functionally collaborative and deeply knowledgeable about details..."

"... A good mess happens when various teams work with a shared purpose... A Bad mess occurs when teams push their own agendas ahead of common goals..."



What Happened After Zappos Got Rid of Workplace Hierarchy

Source: The Atlantic
Author: Bourree Lam
Year: 2016

Summary: The company prides itself on the attentiveness of its customer service and the devotion of its workers, and “The Offer” is an attempt to weed out those who aren’t thrilled about the work ahead. But now, one of the company’s unusual approaches has led to what’s being called a Zappos exodus, as 18 percent of the company's staff have taken buyouts in the last 10 months.

3 Highlights:

"... But while some case studies have shown this system’s effectiveness, it’s far from certain whether it’s a good idea for all companies (particularly large ones)..."

"... Whichever is the case, it’s clear that Zappos is going through a rough transition—one that it anticipated, and one that could make it stronger in the end..."

"... The argument for such a radical break from tradition is that so-called “flat” workplaces are in theory more likely to spark unlikely collaborations, which in turn can lead to creative new initiatives..."



Persuading the Unpersuadable

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Adam Grant
Year: 2021

Summary: We live in an age of polarization. Many of us may be asking ourselves how, when people disagree with or discount us, we can persuade them to rethink their positions. The author, an organizational psychologist, has spent time with a number of people who succeeded in motivating the notoriously self-confident Steve Jobs to change his mind and has analyzed the science behind their techniques. He offers some approaches that can help you encourage a know-it-all to recognize when there’s something to be learned, a stubborn colleague to make a U-turn, a narcissist to show humility, and a disagreeable boss to agree with you.

3 Highlights:

"... The first barrier to changing someone’s view is arrogance. We’ve all encountered leaders who are overconfident: They don’t know what they don’t know. If you call out their ignorance directly, they may get defensive. A better approach is to let them recognize the gaps in their own understanding..."

"... Organizations need strong, visionary executives like Jobs. But they also need employees like Tony Fadell and Mike Bell, suppliers like Wendell Weeks, and stakeholders like the audience member who stood up to complain at Apple’s developer conference—people who know how to effectively counteract bosses and colleagues who tend toward overconfidence, stubbornness, narcissism, or disagreeableness. In a turbulent world, success depends not just on cognitive horsepower but also on cognitive flexibility. When leaders lack the wisdom to question their convictions, followers need the courage to persuade them to change their minds..."

"... The key is to praise people in an area different from the one in which you hope to change their minds. If you’re trying to get a narcissistic leader to rethink a bad choice, it’s a mistake to say you admire her decision-making skills; you’re better off commending her creativity. We all have multiple identities, and when we feel secure about one of our strengths, we become more open to accepting our shortcomings elsewhere..."



What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Source: Article of the Week

MVPs are products with enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate product ideas early in the product development cycle. An MVP can assist the product team in iterating and improving the product as quickly as possible in industries such as software.

The primary benefit of an MVP is that you can gain an understanding of your customer's interest in your product without fully developing the product. 

The MVP is also helpful to define a product that should NOT be developed. This will save a lot of hours and effort on a solution that will not be attractive to real customers.

The sooner you can find out whether your product will appeal to customers, the less effort and expense you spend on a product that will not succeed in the market.



Book Notes: The Lean Machine - Dantar Oosterwal

Source: Book Notes of the Week

Former Harley-Davidson executive Dantar Oosterwal shares his insider perspective on how Harley-Davidson survived and thrived in an ever-changing world.

Through the Knowledge-Based Product Development method, Harley realized an unprecedented fourfold increase in throughput in half the time--powering annual growth of more than 10%.

In the Lean Machine, you will find a combination of business journals, analysis, and step-by-step toolkits that will guide you to predictably excellent results in every industry.




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