Andy Birol

About Andy Birol

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So far has created 11 blog entries.

Why On-The-Job Training Isn’t Working

By |June 15th, 2015|

For years, we’ve gone to the school of hard knocks and learned by doing. In private business, this is often the most practical and affordable option. We’ve learned in the following sequence:

Our jobs,
The company culture,
Additional jobs,
How to manage,
How to lead.

These steps work particularly well when employees do several jobs. Cross training is also critical, especially for businesses with unpredictable sales levels.

But now, with the profound changes of the 21st Century business, outside skills, such as […]

Is Your GPS Over the Hill?

By |June 8th, 2015|

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Conference innovation expert, Jeff Hurt states, “The key to lifetime learning is the ability to develop a personal GPS.” The GPS allows one to see past what’s immediately out front but also what is not. Likewise, successful business owners who develop an internal GPS can “drive” their businesses forward towards an invisible destination. This is often referred to as strategic foresight and vision.

In the 20th Century, business owners had to be […]

Don’t Let Your Business Become a Radio Shack Down by the River

By |June 4th, 2015|

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Let’s paraphrase the immortal words of motivational speaker Matt Foley (aka Chris Farley) in his timeless skit on Saturday Night Live. He puts a brave face on his personal misery by coaching younger people to succeed in the future. Quickly, it becomes terribly evident that in fact he is the one with the problem.

Look at Radio Shack. For decades, RadioShack brought the next “must-have”, “ripped from the headlines” gadget to Main […]

Innovating Your Way Out of a Mature Market, The NASCAR Way.

By |June 3rd, 2015|

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Recently at my 30th year MBA reunion, I had the privilege of hearing Eric Anderson the chair of the Kellogg School’s marketing department talk about how he is helping NASCAR to reinvent itself to serve 21st Century racing fans. He talks about how NASCAR got Coca-Cola to invest upfront to support NASCAR’s effort to increase its attractiveness, as the CEO of NASCAR said, “To avoid becoming dangerously irrelevant.”

Amongst many changes NASCAR […]

The Transporter Room to a 21st Century Business

By |May 25th, 2015|

Remember the transporter room in Star Trek?

While every other fantasy of Gene Roddenberry has become reality, we call still imagine going back in time to correct a mistake or go forward to look into the future.

Who wouldn’t snap up such a machine in a heartbeat?

But, there really is no need; you’ve had a transporter room all your life. It’s called your mindset!

Your thinking can stay focused on your 20th century success, lamenting over why things […]

Don’t Uberact to Your Competition

By |May 20th, 2015|

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We’ve all heard of Uber and many of us love Uber. But, even Uber can make mistakes. 

Last week I was taking a taxi from Chicago’s Midway airport to the North Shore. I opened my Uber app and requested a ride. Much to my surprise, a Yellow Cab showed up claiming to be an Uber. He informed me that City Hall had forbidden Uber to pick up fares from the airport. My […]

What Etsy Means to Your Itsy-Bitsy Business.

By |May 18th, 2015|

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To some etsy.com (the arts and crafts marketplace for home-based artists) is simply a $40 billion e-commerce platform that’s overvalued and a harbinger of the impending dotcom bust.

Not to Etsy’s lucky investors.

Etsy is a perfect example of how a company can create a market for its customers and sideswipe its traditional competition. Thanks to Etsy, now your crazy uncle can not just make lamps out of beer cans, he can sell these […]

Is Your Business at Risk of Joining the Walking Dead?

By |May 18th, 2015|

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In the hit TV series, survivors of a worldwide plague prevail by staying one step ahead of infected zombies who feed off the living. The “living” outsmart their fallen brethren or fall victim to the walking dead.

In the 20th century, smaller companies survived by scampering around large corporations with their “walking dead” bureaucracies and decision-making. Private business thrived by offering excellent customer service, responding to emerging customer needs, and customizing solutions […]

Employees Are Like Customers…They Want Value, Insight and Accountability

By |May 10th, 2015|

Recent research shows, employees don’t take other jobs for money, but rather for reasons like “it’s too stressful” or “nobody listens to me”. Everyone says, “You have to provide your employees an open, empathetic and appreciative environment.” So how do you do this?

Step out of your ego and work in the spirit of enabling their success.
Respect those who don’t fit into your company and offer new stories, reasons and ideas
Walk the talk! Immerse yourself in […]

Copying Your Way to Failure

By |May 10th, 2015|

There’s an old saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. But is it the smartest?

Do you watch your peers but gripe about why their businesses are not doing well?

Here are my five favorites….

1)  “The best practices of my industry demonstrate how out of touch my business is. But I rely on them because there’s no alternative.”

2)  “My industry is in the dumpster, I’ve talked to all my friends are in the industry but their […]