Archiv für den Monat Mai 2016

How new CEOs can boost their odds of success

A data-driven look at the link between the strategic moves of new CEOs and the performance of their companies highlights the importance of quick action and of adopting an outsider’s perspective.

The success of CEOs is deeply linked to the success of the companies they lead, but the vast body of popular literature on the topic explores this relationship largely in qualitative terms. The dangers of these approaches are well known: it’s easy to be misled by outliers or to conclude, mistakenly, that prominent actions which seem correlated with success were responsible for it.

We tried to sidestep some of these difficulties by systematically reviewing the major strategic moves (from management reshuffles to cost-reduction efforts to new-business launches to geographic expansion) that nearly 600 CEOs made during their first two years in office. Using annualized total returns to shareholders (TRS), we assessed their companies’ performance over the CEOs’ tenure in office. Finally, we analyzed how the moves they made—at least those visible to external observers1 —and the health of their companies when they joined them influenced the performance of those companies.2

The results of this analysis, bolstered by nearly 250 case studies, show that the number and nature of the strategic moves made by CEOs who join well- and poorly performing companies are surprisingly similar. The efficacy of certain moves appears to vary significantly across different groups of companies, however. What’s more, the sheer number of moves seems to make a difference, at least for CEOs who join poorly performing companies. Also, external hires appear to have a greater propensity to act.

These findings have important practical implications for new CEOs and the boards that hire them: focus early on a few bold moves well suited to the context of your company, and recognize the value of the outsider’s perspective—whether or not you are one.

Surprising similarities

The starting point for our analysis was a group of nearly 600 CEOs who left S&P 500 companies from 2004 to 2014 (identified in the annual CEO Transitions report produced by Spencer Stuart, the global executive-search and leadership-consulting firm).3 For each CEO’s first two years, we gathered information—from a range of sources, including company reports, investor presentations, press searches, and McKinsey knowledge assets—on nine strategic moves that chief executives commonly make.

We expected that CEOs taking the helm at poorly performing companies, feeling compelled to do something to improve results, would have a greater propensity to make strategic moves than those who joined well-performing organizations. To learn whether this idea was true, we looked at how each company had been performing relative to its industry counterparts prior to the new CEO’s arrival and then subdivided the results into three categories: well-performing, poorly performing, and stable companies.4 When we reviewed the moves by companies in each of these categories, we found that new CEOs act in similar ways, with a similar frequency, whether they had joined well- or poorly performing organizations. CEOs in different contexts made bold moves—such as M&A, changing the management team, and launching new businesses and products—at roughly the same rate (Exhibit 1).

Contextual contrasts

Although new CEOs transitioning into companies that have been performing well and CEOs transitioning into companies that have been performing poorly make similar moves with a similar frequency, that doesn’t mean those moves are equally effective. We measured the performance of companies by excess TRS over a CEO’s tenure. At companies where chief executives made strategic moves early on, we found striking contrasts between organizations that had been performing well when the new CEO took charge and those that had been performing poorly:

  • Organizational redesign was correlated with significant excess TRS (+1.9 percent) for well-performing companies, but not for low performers.
  • Strategic reviews were correlated with significant excess TRS (+4.3 percent) for poorly performing companies but were less helpful for companies that had been performing well.
  • Poorly performing companies enjoyed +0.8 percent TRS when they reshuffled their management teams. But when well-performing companies did so, they destroyed value.5

We recognize that excess TRS CAGR does not prove a causal link; too many other variables, some beyond a CEO’s control, have an influence. But we do find the differences that emerged quite plausible. It stands to reason that troubled companies would enjoy special benefits from major overhauls of management or strategy. Organizational redesigns are challenging for all companies and may, in some cases, be premature for organizations in significant flux.6 Also plausible was the finding that cost-reduction programs appear to improve a company’s TRS relative to those of its counterparts for both well- and poorly performing organizations, though the effect is strongest for weak ones.

A final point on context is that the bar for top performance varies significantly by sector. In some, such as investment services and automotive, the TRS CAGRs of top-performing organizations with new CEOs are more than 16 percent above those of their industry counterparts. In other sectors, such as media and telecommunications, a CEO’s company must outperform the market by only a few percentage points to be classed in the top quintile. The implication is that new CEOs seeking to calibrate their starting points and to prioritize strategic moves should look beyond top-level performance metrics to understand what it will really take to beat the market.

Bold bouncebacks

We also sought to compare the number of major moves that new CEOs made in parallel at well- and poorly performing companies. Well-performing companies had no discernible pattern. But in poorly performing ones, CEOs who made four or more strategic moves at the same time during their first two years achieved an average of 3.6 percent excess annual TRS growth over their tenures. Their less bold counterparts in similarly bad situations could claim just 0.4 percent excess annual TRS growth.

These findings are in line with earlier McKinsey research7 showing how difficult it is to reach higher levels of economic profit without making substantial strategic or operational shifts. That has also been our own experience working with new CEOs on turnarounds.

Outside views

When the time comes to appoint a new CEO, corporate boards face a difficult question: promote an executive from within or choose an outsider? We turned our own lens to this issue and found that the performance of outsiders and insiders differed significantly. Externally appointed CEOs have a greater propensity to act: they were more likely to make six out of the nine strategic moves we examined. The size of the gap in frequency—in other words, the chance an external CEO would make a particular move minus the chance an internal CEO would do the same thing—was much greater for the moves external CEOs opted to make (Exhibit 2).

External CEOs almost certainly have a leg up when it comes to bold action. They are generally less encumbered by organizational politics or inertia than their internal counterparts. They may also be more likely to take an outside view of their companies. It’s no coincidence, in our view, that the strategic moves that have the largest gaps in the propensity to act include some of the most far-reaching ones: organizational redesign, for example, or geographic contraction.

Poorly performing companies are more likely to appoint external CEOs, and corporate performance tends to revert to the mean. But the TRS edge of outside hires was substantial: over their tenure, they outperformed their internally promoted counterparts by a margin of more than five to one—on average, a 2.2 percent excess TRS CAGR, compared with 0.4 percent.

Clearly, this performance differential is the result of multiple factors, and it’s important to note that new CEOs need not come from outside companies to cultivate an outsider’s mind-set—or to be successful in their role.8


While our results are averages across multiple organizations and industries, they do suggest a few principles for new CEOs:

  • Adopt an outsider’s mind-set. On average, external hires appear to make more moves during their early years. This doesn’t mean that insiders are the wrong choice for boards. But it does suggest that it’s critical for insiders to resist legacies or relationships which might slow them down and that approaches which help insiders adopt an outsider’s mind-set have great potential. Equally, there is value in having outsiders who can lean into the boldness that their status naturally encourages. Some executives have done so by creating new ways to assess a company’s performance objectively—for example, by taking the view of a potential acquirer or activist investor9 looking for weak spots that require immediate attention. Others have reset expectations for the annual allocation of resources, changed the leadership model and executive compensation, established an innovation bank, and looked for additional ways to bring an external perspective to the heart of the leadership approach.
  • Don’t follow the herd. On average, new CEOs make many of the same moves, regardless of starting point. They will do better, however, by carefully considering the context of their companies and leveraging more scientific ways to assess their starting points. For instance, some new CEOs take stock of the economic-profit performance of companies relative to that of their peers and, in light of the starting position, assess the odds that potential moves will pay off.10
  • When you’re behind, look at the whole playbook. On average, CEOs taking the helm at underperforming companies do better when they make more major strategic moves, not fewer. That doesn’t mean they should try to do everything at once, but it does suggest a bias toward boldness and action. Plan a comprehensive set of moves that will significantly improve your company’s performance, and make sure that you aim high enough.11

New CEOs take the helm with a singular opportunity to shape the companies they lead. The best ones artfully use their own transition into the CEO role to transform their companies. But this window of opportunity doesn’t last long. On average, an inflection point arrives during year three of a CEO’s tenure. At that point, a CEO whose company is underperforming is roughly twice as likely to depart as the CEO of an outperforming one—by far the highest level at any time in a chief executive’s tenure. During this relatively short window, fortune favors the bold.

quote: www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/leadership/how-new-ceos-can-boost-their-odds-of-success

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Great Leadership Secrets From Michelangelo and Picasso

Words are poor conveyers of meaning. Visualizing what a strategy looks like when successfully executed allows people to help make it a reality.

Words are poor conveyers of meaning. Pictures can be one of the most versatile tools in any leader’s toolbox. Michelangelo started the David in 1501 at the age of 26 and famously said: „I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.“ He was intensely focused on freeing the slumbering figures in the stone.

Similarly, Picasso was able to visualize and capture realism in his painting from a young age, and evolved so immensely throughout his career eventually co-founded the cubist movement.

For many of us, our best „artistic“ moments happen on a napkin sketch at the kitchen table or at a bar. We use images, lines, stars, circles and arrows to first capture an idea. Then share it with someone else. That person’s perspective and questions are what encourage us to revise the sketch and improve its clarity and meaning.

The conversation around our napkin art is what drives the a-ha moment, the excitement. You, as a leader, can use visualization and visual iteration to free the figures (or your people) slumbering within your organization, and drive innumerable a-ha moments.

Here are three ways to do just that:

1. Use visualization to create clear meaning

Pepsi’s leaders used visuals like this to help their people understand the rationale behind their changing business model.

Even the most common terms in strategic plans (words like operational excellence, customer centric, innovation, accountability, high performance, collaboration, vision) suffer from lack of meaning. Instead, define meaning with a picture. Have each member of your team draw a picture of what a high performance team looks like to them.

Compare the pictures. Then create a single image made up of the strongest elements of each person’s initial drawing. As a team, tell one story (accompanied by the picture) of what a high performance team means. Pictures drive common understanding in a way that words often cannot.

2. Use visualization to think in systems

Many of the most complex issues we face are systems issues. It is hard to understand a system unless we can see it. Consider systems such as how we make money, or how to execute our business model. It’s tough to imagine without a diagram.

One well-known manufacturer found itself with hundreds of millions of dollars painfully tied up in working capital. The company tried unsuccessfully to reduce this amount for two years.

Finally it used imagery, pictures and metaphors to illustrate where the money came from, where it went, and how much is left afterwards. The business engaged all of its people to better understand how its economic system worked. Within six months, the company had freed up $300 million of working capital. Pictures make invisible systems tangible.

3. Use visualization to frame a process

Customer acquisition, supply chain, and new product/ process development are just three examples of key business processes. Many process errors occur at the handoff points where clarity of workflow between departments and people is not always clear and co-owned.

Instead, visualize or blueprint a major process step by step and highlight the key handoffs that often become the „process busters“ for the most important processes in your organization.

If Aristotle was right when he said the soul never thinks without a picture, and if everyone is right when they say a picture is worth a thousand words, then a grand visual metaphor for achieving organizational goals can be priceless.

When a picture is clear in our mind’s eye, we can make sense of it. When it is not clear, it is nearly impossible to take action on it. So, it doesn’t have to be the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but every extraordinary leader must know how to paint a picture for their people of where they are and where they want to go.

http://www.inc.com/jim-haudan/why-great-leaders-have-learned-to-emulate-michelangelo-and-picasso.html

What Famous Logos Would Look Like if They Were Affected by the Products They Sell

A fatter McDonalds logo? A caffeinated bitchy Starbucks logo? What would famous logos look like if they really were affected by the products they sell?

Italian designer Marco Schembri recently made a provocative series about logos and their effects on consumers.

10Designs

“For work, I always spend my time going around the web looking for trends and so on,” said Schembri from his home in Malta. “I was spending my weekend searching for articles and I found one on the food damages. Later on I “met” the McDonald’s logo and immediately I thought that logo was very skinny—it was a paradox, considering how fat people become after eating their products. So I decided to modify it by myself just to laugh. The rest of the story you can imagine.”

That led Schembri to doing a series of 10 logos, like fuzzing out the ABSOLUT vodka logo into how one might see it under the influence of alcohol, to putting the Durex logo inside of a condom.

Schembri’s approach is simple; he says he speaks as a product designer. “When you design something, you always start from the brand to develop a product as close as possible to the company family feeling,” he said. “This means at least 80% of the products in the market need to reflect the brand. What happens is the brands are also usually conditioned by the product image.”

A few others include a Nestle chocolate logo covered in pimples and a Zippo logo charred with smoke. Even though his playful approach can come across as critical, that wasn’t the plan.

“The idea was not to attack the brands but to create something funny,” he said. “Funny things make people smile and when people are happy they are also more inclined to share or comment—this is what this social era is teaching us, to give an emotion is the most important thing, never mind if its positive or negative, the important thing is to make people feel something.”

He feels it’s important to comment on consumption through design. “I think people in general never like to read ‘technical informational stuff’ and the key could be to give them a message, by using a funny way to make them think about something which is very important.”

The series can still be seen as critical of consumption—and specifically the consumption of edible products, like fast food. “Smoking and drinking can be dangerous but not like eating the wrong way,” said Schembri. “A wrong diet can slowly ruin your life.”

But what about Schembri? After making a comment on all the products and their logos, does he eat McDonalds and drink Starbucks coffee? He is, after all, personally connected to the brands. “I’m not addicted,” he said. “But yes, sometimes it’s the fastest way to eat when you travel a lot.”

https://www.behance.net/gallery/33097231/10-Logos-affected-by-their-products

What Famous Logos Would Look Like if They Were Affected by the Products They Sell

Apple will open Siri to developers

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Apple has big plans for Siri that will make the company’s famous assistant a lot more useful, according to a new report.

The company will soon open up Siri to developers with new software tools that will allow Siri to tap into more third-party services, according to a new report in The Information. Apple is also working on a new pice of a hardware, an Amazon Echo rival that will work with Apple’s smart home platform.

Apple plans to put Siri in the hands of developers with a new software development kit (SDK) that will reportedly be called the Siri SDK. The Siri SDK could launch at next months’s World Wide Developer Conference, where Apple typically previews the newest version of IOS and its latest developer tools.

The SDK will require „some work“ by developers to make their apps accessible by Siri, the report says.

Siri already works with a few third-party services, like Yelp and Bing, but hasn’t been widely available to developers since it was acquired by Apple in 2010. Prior to its acquisition, Siri worked with many third-party services. (Some of the original Siri team is now working on a new AI Assistant called Viv, which will also work with third-parties like Uber.)

Apple is also reportedly working on a new speaker that allows people to use voice commands to play music and control HomeKit-enabled smart home devices, like lights, locks and thermostats. It’s unclear if the speaker will also be unveiled at WWDC in June, as Apple typically reserves new hardware for other events.

Though the new smart speaker sounds a lot like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s recently unveiled Google Assistant, Apple’s device predates both, according to The Information’s sources.

The report is just the latest sign that Apple has big plans for Siri next month. Earlier reports have suggested Apple will bring Siri to the Mac and — in what could very well be a hint of a Siri-themed WWDC — the company used Siri to reveal the dates of this year’s developer conference.

http://mashable.com/2016/05/24/apple-siri-sdk-report

MacBook Pro is getting a 2nd screen

The MacBook Pro is reportedly getting a major redesign.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a normally reliable Apple analyst at KGI Securities, has put out a new research note claiming that Apple is planning to incorporate a second screen into the high-end Apple laptop, 9to5Mac reports.

This OLED screen would be touch-sensitive and sit above the keyboard — replacing the current function buttons (F1, F2, F3, etc.).

It could provide more flexibility and room for customisation for Apple and for users, who could potentially add shortcuts and apps they frequently use to the screen.

The report has also been corroborated by Mark Gurman, a reporter over at 9to5Mac, who has an extremely good track record at breaking news on coming Apple products.

„Source confirms Apple prepping new MacBook Pro with 2nd display for functions above the keyboard, Touch ID/Apple Pay,“ Gurman wrote on Twitter.

macbook function keys arrow skitch rumour oled second screenPete Markham/Flickr (CC)Here’s where that second screen will apparently sit.

What else is coming to the new MacBook Pros? They are also said to be „thinner and lighter,“ with 9to5Mac reporting that they will take „design cues“ from the 12-inch MacBook that Apple first introduced in May 2015 in an overhaul of the traditional MacBook line.

They will also reportedly have Touch ID support — suggesting that you will be able to unlock your MacBook and authorise purchases using your fingerprint, as you already can on the iPhone.

The MacBook Pro line has been has gone largely unchanged (apart from internal upgrades) since it introduced Retina Displays in 2012 and phased out optical drives.

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros will apparently be updated with the new design, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016.

apple macbook gold trackpad keyboard 2015 redesignMaurizo Pesce/Flickr (CC)The MacBook Pro will reportedly take „design cues“ from the newly redesigned MacBook.

If it’s true, we may see more leaks and rumours in the weeks and months ahead — but don’t expect any confirmation from Apple. The company never comments on rumoured products before they are officially announced.

http://www.businessinsider.de/macbook-pro-introduce-second-touch-screen-touch-id-report-kgi-securities-q4-2016-5

Tiny Wearable Biosensor Continuously Monitors Your Body Chemistry

Imagine, throughout your day, you could know exactly what your body chemistry was up to. More specifically, imagine if the information from your body could instantly go to your doctor and he could make a diagnosis of what your body was doing or what was wrong.

It’s nearly here. Today at CES 2016, a company called Profusa demonstrated a wearable biointegrated sensor, Lumee, that allows for long-term continuous monitoring of your body chemistry. This wearable smart tech device provides actionable data on your body’s key chemistry in one continuous data stream which changes the way we will monitor our health.

Lumee, a biointegrated wearable sensor.

Lumee, a biointegrated wearable sensor.

“In between annual physicals we really don’t know what’s going on in our body,” said Ben Hwang, Ph.D., CEO, Profusa. “While fitness trackers and other wearables provide insights into our heart rate, respiration and other physical measures, they don’t provide information on the most important aspect of our health: our body’s chemistry. What if there was a better way of knowing how you’re doing — how you’re really doing?”

According to Statista, the digital health market is expected to reach $233.3 billion by 2020, and that market is being led by the mobile health market.

Since the iPhone hit it big in 2007, consumers and physicians alike (52%) use their smartphone to search for advice, drugs, therapies, etc, and 80% of physicians use smartphones and medical apps. With wearables, physicians can now collect long-term and specialized data that’s much easier to obtain and track patient health behaviors over longer periods of time. This has already changed our relationship with our health care providers and their relationships with us.

“Profusa’s Lumee is a bold attempt at one of the holy grails of personalized medicine, continuous, real time, non-invasive glucose and oxygen monitoring, it’s applications are vast,” said Ryan Bethencourt, Program Director and Venture Partner at Indie.Bio, a bio-tech accelerator in San Francisco. “From Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes monitoring through to fitness and finding optimal training patterns for your body, with data that’s currently impossible to acquire any other way continously. I’m rarely this optimistic about a new medical device, especially one that will require implantation approval from the FDA but in this case, I think the optical biosensor technology and device design warrant the optimism.”

This is why Profusa hopes their tiny (3-5 mm) bioengineered biosensors will enable real-time detection of our body’s unique chemistry in order to give greater insight into a person’s overall health status. Dr. Hwang believes Lumee can be applied to consumer health and wellness applications but also to the management of chronic diseases like Peripheral ArteryDisease (PAD), diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2016/01/07/beyond-fitness-trackers-at-ces-tiny-wearable-biosensor-continuously-monitors-your-body-chemistry/#67cc511a6019