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The myth of excellence

In the black-and-white world of business opinion, Marks and Spencer is now firmly out of fashion. But corporate success depends on establishing and defining one’s own self.

The car that lost its way

BMW has a chequered history, and if the current management had learned lessons from the past they would never have purchased Rover.

Perennial hits hard times

What makes a successful retailer? It seems that Marks and Spencer may have forgotten the capabilities that put them on top.

Why the last shall be first and the first shall fade...

Being the first to innovate is rarely the road to riches many presume. Business history is paved with industries dominated by followers.

When consensus does not really mean agreement

Just as universities need to tell people to stop quibbling and work towards a common objective, companies need to realise that clustering around a corporate conventional wisdom that has not been subject to analysis and debate is also not a recipe for success.

Getting to the truth behind the one-stop shop

Doctor’s surgeries, supermarkets, and travel agents are all one-stop shops - which should tell us that there are different justifications for one-stop shopping.

A rare privilege

Returns go where there is scarcity. The land in Champagne is intrinsically scarce. Other factors can be made scarce, or to cease to be scarce, as the history of broadcasting tells us.

Passes and returns

Dalglish arrives at Newcastle and Horlick moves to ABN Amro. The common theme: do teams, or individuals, capture the returns to outstanding performance?

What’s in a name?

What is a brand? Sometimes it is a quality certificate and sometimes, simply part of the product itself. It matters which.

Happy combination

Core competencies is one of the most used and abused phrases in business strategy. But a proper understanding of the idea behind the jargon is essential

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