6 Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress sucks. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can result in headache, muscle tension, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, irritability, depression, eating problems, addiction … and social withdrawal. Yow!

Fortunately, stress isn’t inevitable, even in today’s hyper-connected, highly competitive world.

About Leadership: Working Through Influence

John D. Rockefeller modeled the organization of Standard Oil on the two models he knew to work: The United States Army and the Catholic Church. These are traditional hierarchical models, and hierarchy became the norm for company organizations for most of the 20th century. In this model, authority and accountability are everything. Ultimately, the chief executive has authority over all the employees of the company, and is accountable for all aspects of its performance.

The model sets aspiration for the individual. Having authority over a larger number of people is better than over a smaller number. Having a bigger budget is better than having a smaller one.

Dare we challenge this model?

Work-Life Balance: A Challenge, Even in Asia

Americans and Europeans don’t have a lock-up on gender equality issues, and work-life balance.

Women and men across Asia have a common focus: to climb up the corporate ladder.

In a study of 1,834 so-called “high-potential” employees at multinational firms across Asia, Catalyst, a nonprofit research firm that focuses on women in the work place, found that furthering their career is a top priority for both men and women – even as they want to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The “Consumption Chain” Solution to Differentiation That Lasts

Differentiation has always been important, but what matters more over the long term is your company’s diligence—and creativity—in seeking it.

You can’t prevent your business model from eroding. But you can build a company that’s capable of managing business-model transitions. One way to do that, says Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath, is to develop the habit of thinking creatively about differentiation. Here’s how.

A Poorly Managed Company’s Tour Guide

Publicly traded companies issue annual reports that increasingly look like magazines. Almost all organizations publish a brochure with glossy pictures that describe what their organizations do. In either case they are very traditional, and many look the same. What is needed is a new idea – a better way to communicate their branding and positioning message in a similar way that international countries’ government tourist agencies promote their nations to attract tourists.

Follow us on a chronological “tour” with our “tour guide” Gary Cokins, who will explain how this fictional company, Mesdup (get it? as in Messed Up) relaunched itself into a successful brand by incorporating EPM measures.

Managing in a Multipolar World

Emerging markets are shifting the balance of economic power, and for multinationals, a “business as usual” approach will no longer suffice.

How can companies balance local autonomy with the need to achieve global scale and standardization? Does it even make sense to have a headquarters anymore? And where should the talent that runs the company come from? Such questions are critical, because they ultimately determine a company’s long-term viability. The answers, of course, are not universal, but in our work with multinationals, three key themes consistently emerge as enablers of success: a rebalanced organizational structure and operating model, more dispersed decision rights mechanisms, and an approach to leadership and people management that emphasizes diversity and local talent.

A Wee Dram from Bangalore? Och, That’s Guid!

What does it take to crack a really closed market? Say, like, selling Indian single-malt scotch in Scotland? Let’s ask someone who’s trying. Rakshit Jagdale, executive director of the venerable Bangalore-based Amrut Distilleries says a great product isn’t enough…

Think fine whisky and the first thought that comes to mind is Scotland. After all, that is why the drink is ubiquitously referred to as Scotch by non-connoisseurs and laymen. But did you know that the world’s third-best aqua vitae, or “the water of life” as the drink is fondly called, is an Indian brand? Say hello to Amrut Fusion Single Malt, which was ranked by prominent whisky expert Jim Murray in the 2010 edition of the Whisky Bible.

The Coach Has Lost The Team

I was watching ESPN the other day while working out and one of the stories was about the Los Angeles Clippers, who after a start to the season that promised (and showed) great potential, have seemingly taken their rightful seat next to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as the ‘other’ team in Los Angeles.

No one would argue that the loss of newly signed Chauncey Billups, a proven veteran with skins on the wall, was significant in curtailing the team’s ascension to the NBA elite. Still, they have Blake Griffin, one of the league’s brightest young stars whose aerial assaults on the rim are renowned. And they do have DeAndre Jordan, as athletic a center (at 6’11″, 265) as there is in the league. They also added the much-needed outside shooting of Mo Williams, who only a few years ago teamed up with Lebron James in Cleveland to lead what was before and has been since a mostly moribund franchise to the NBA Finals. And for toughness and the dirty work that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, I present to you the salty veteran Kenyon Martin. Oh, and by the way, Chris Paul, a perennial All-Star recognized as one of the top handful of point guards in the league, came over this season in one of the year’s few blockbuster trades. A lineup with talent, right? Young talent. Exciting talent. So what’s the problem? The coach!