Face tough issues early to avoid being viewed as a lie-back-and-wait leader. Example: Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, chastised Alex Rodriguez for “shaming the game” by using steroids. But Selig did little to stop steroid use before the heat was on, so it’s hard to put stock in his words now. Exert
Rein in marketing budgets and spur creativity with a competitive “jump ball,” as Wal-Mart is doing. The nation’s largest retailer plans to put five public relations firms on retainer and then have them bid on individual projects. The goal of the strategy: Contain costs using competition.
— Adapted from “Wal-Mart Tosses a PR ‘Jump Ball,’” Ann Zimmerman, The Wall Street Journal.
Take efficiency to a higher level by tapping the expertise of your managers. Example: GE has conducted more than 200 energy “treasure hunts,” empowering people in different workplace settings to suggest efficiency opportunities. The result: $100 million in savings.
Use a threat to gin up innovations. Interactive promotional company ePrize created a fictional nemesis, Slither Corp., then spent time strategizing about how to outperform the company. Because ePrize doesn’t have much competition, it created a threat to spark ideas. Nothing unites like a common enemy.
— Adapted from “ePrize Versus Slither: Fabricating A Competitor To Stay Innovative,” Kaihan Krippendorff, Fast Company.
Meet and greet. To keep everybody on the same page, try quick meetings. At Seattle-based marketing agency Wexley School for Girls, there’s a short staff assembly each morning at 9:07. Brian Marr, the managing director, holds this meeting for two reasons. It ensures that everyone is there on time and ready to work, and it gives employees a chance to show off their latest projects and ask for feedback or support.
— Adapted from “The Wexley Way,” Josh Dean, Inc. magazine.
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