Monday, December 17, 2012

Seasonal confections and tactical connections

During low-content month, please feel free to catch up on some of my previous columns for the National Post. It's been a busy couple of weeks!
* Today’s Column:
Year-round wrap-up: The best lessons from Rick’s 2012 columns – in handy quiz form.
 Question 3 of 10. Intuit Inc., maker of Quicken, became an innovation leader with its “Follow Me Home” philosophy, in which Intuit engineers and other staff go to customers’ homes and offices to watch them work and identify problems worth solving. In March I asked CEO Brad Smith if he still participates in this program. What was Smith’s answer?

A No, I’m the CEO and I’m too important.
B No, I don’t have time, though I wish I did.
C Yes, I give it 60 hours a year.
D Yes, I give it 6 hours a year.

(Click here for more questions and answers)

* Yes, manufacturing still has a place in North America. The most promising producers are those who make complex, customizable products “built to order.” Click here to see how to succeed in this challenging niche.
Excerpt: In a variable environment, the authors say, the pursuit of perfect will require trial and error, practise and full involvement. Your job is to ensure that continuous improvement becomes a corporate mission that is “felt, enjoyed and fostered by everyone involved.”

* Dreaming of a green Christmas: Make sure the holidays don't distract you from wringing all the sales you can out of the last crucial weeks of the business year.

* The Skid Row CEO: How Vancouver entrepreneur Joe Roberts went from homeless addict to successful executive – and the lessons he learned on that arduous journey.
Excerpt: Roberts says he is often asked how a homeless addict could possibly become a business success. “I tell them: I wasn’t successful in spite of living on the streets; I became successful because I lived on the streets.”

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