Friday, May 30, 2014

Rangers Henrik Lundqvist in Sport and Fashion

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been absolutely beastly on net, in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.  The Montreal Canadiens, their opponent in the Eastern Conference Final, lost Game 2, not so much because of the absence of their injury starting goalie, as it was the presence of the Rangers' starting goalie.  King Henrik, as he is respectfully known, & Co. absolutely stoned the high-flying, high-pressure Canadiens.  Enjoy the highlight reel above.

But here we are talking fashion.  Because their ubiquitous profile in the media, athletes really have loads of opportunity to present themselves creatively and fashionably.  Fans don't often see who they really are and what they really look like, underneath a mountain of gear or in the swirl of their sport.  

Miami Heat superstars Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are a fashion contrast
Henrik Lundqvist's sense of fashion fits my style better

So off the ice, Lundqvist is in perfect position to showcase his handsome looks and easygoing style, which I imagine the guys want to emulate and the ladies want to be with.  

I am often glad to see athletes get into business, while they're still in the midst of their sports.  What they do has such a brutal, wearying impact on their body, that 30s is old and a prompt for retirement.  In fact it was early this year we saw Bread & Boxers Announces Partnership with Henrik Lundqvist.  I imagine the King has positioned himself in good stead for that inevitable transition to retirement.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen Speaks Lucky Fashion

Eva Chen is attractive and articulate in a relaxed, natural way.  Her sense of style doesn't overpower you, but instead makes you feel like she's a friend you'd have lunch or coffee with.  She's bucked the trend of young Asians going into engineering, law, finance or medicine, and happened upon a job and a career that is clearly something she delights in.  

Eva Chen

Chen is noteworthy for her editorial youth in fashion magazine, but she's actually on the older edge of the coveted Millennial group that Lucky Magazine targets.  Her personality must be as colorful, spirited and fashionable as her profiles on social media.


Chen certainly has a pulse on her target audience, those 20- and 30-somethings, and works at being empowering, rather than imposing, and no doubt shops, wears and shares fashion in ways that resonate with her readers.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Monday, May 26, 2014

CMO Marc Speichert Speaks L'Oreal Marketing

Chief Marketing Officer Marc Speichert suggests that to complement an already well-structured, well-executed product innovation, L'Oreal has worked to refresh its go-to-market strategy and efforts.  Media and digital are clearly on his mind, given the four billion Google searches a year on beauty alone.  

YouTube ventures forthrightly into downtown Chicago

In this regard, Michelle Phan is a nature choice for L'Oreal to partner with.  I took a photo of this glossy poster of her, as there is now a concerted effort to raise her online virality to another level.
Beauty continues to be a growing area of content on YouTube, and brands like L'Oreal are tapping into this online community. More than 120 million how-to and beauty videos are watched every day on YouTube, and makeup videos are now the most searched for how-to content on YouTube.

According to Google research, 50 percent of all beauty shoppers watch a beauty video on YouTube while they are shopping for products – that's 1 out of every 2 people shopping for beauty products.
Reference: L'Oreal Launches New Makeup Line Designed by YouTube Beauty Guru Michelle Phan.

The `Path to Purchase is about demarcating and perpetuating the purchase process

Speichert also spoke about `Path to Purchase.  It's building enough awareness, if it isn't there already, so consumers can consider what L'Oreal has to offer.  Besides the active viewing they do online, they talk with their beauticians and stylists, and no doubt their friends, too.  In the best case scenario, not only does an evaluation lead to a purchase, but also the overall experience prompts consumers to keep buying L'Oreal and talking it up themselves.
The product consideration phase is serious because the consumer is discovering something new or making a connection. People spend a lot of time in the consideration phase engaging their stylist, media sources and their friends moving them from being interested to a desire to try the product “evaluation”.

The extensive evaluation process is one of L’Oreal’s key focus points since people are searching for pier to pier recommendations, prompting them to buy. Evaluation is a very collaborative process and also involves more content discovery. The buy side is not the end of the cycle, it’s only the beginning. The next stage is creating brand advocates that have an emotional connection. A carefully nurtured evangelist is required to spread out the target brand’s DNA to the salons and the consumers. Using an authentic tone and voice will perpetuate the organic reach and referrals that can last a lifetime.
Reference: How L’Oreal Tracks the Consumer Path to Purchase.

Registered on July 31st 1919 in France, L'Oreal has had nearly 100 years to build itself up as the largest cosmetics company in the world.

Numbers in brief

Consolidated Sales

Operating Profit

Stock Performance

Topline and bottomline numbers are steady in growth, and while investor confidence has level off since a year ago, L'Oreal is not far off its 52-year high (€137.65) with its current stock performance (€128.10).  That's beautiful in both literal and financial languages.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Suspect Article on Confidence

Reference: The Genes That Control Confidence - Do You Have Them?

This article on LinkedIn, by Katty Kay, has had 64,069 eyeballs | 677 thumbs up | 305 comments.  Why not, it's a catchy title (though misleading, as I argue).  Also, it leads off with a picture of a very attractive lady, presumably confident in her own right (but genetically so, who knows).

Mine was one of those comments:

There is something terribly concerning about this article! We have to define confidence clearly, and for the purpose of any research, we must define it operationally (i.e., in ways that can be researched). In either case, we don't have a clear definition in this article. Also, any measure of anything must have construct validity. What kind of validation tests have these scientists made to ensure that SLC6A4, OXTR and COMT do in fact relate to confidence? Might there be other, yet undiscovered, "confidence genes"? Moreover, making the leap from animal studies to human testing is fraught with risk and uncertainty. The genetic similarity among monkeys, rats and humans, notwithstanding, confidence is also psychological, behavioral and social in nature. How well did these scientists account for the full nature of confidence? Finally, Katty, your last paragraph actually diminishes the very thrust of your article and calls into question an exclusively genetic effort to research confidence.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Esquire Guy Dispenses Hilarious Tips!

  • Fight the urge to fight.
  • Honesty isn't necessarily the right approach.
  • If you're squinting, shaking your fist, sneering, and stroking a white cat, then you're an evil genius in a James Bond movie, and you need to relax.

  • Platitudes are fine in a pinch.
  • Don't hang out too long, don't drink too much, don't act offended if they cause offense.
  • Wing Chun, but don't Wang Chung.

  • When typing your witty rejoinder on Twitter, first go to the drop down menu on the upper right, then select Sign Out.
  • If you're in the habit of sending letters, God bless you, for it's a dying art.
  • Never minimize the complaint, never maximize the complaint, either.

  • The 1st rule of energy, when it comes to meetings, is not too much and also not too little.
  • If you find a helpful energy tip in a YouTube clip of `Glengarry Glen Ross, do not let that tip inform your behavior in any way. 
  • The leader of a meeting is a facilitator.  Of discussion.  Solutions.  Pastries.

  • If you're not a close associate of the person whose brain you want to pick, never ask for more than 15 minutes.
  • "I'd like to ask you about your career," not "I'd like to ask you about my career."
  • There's no need to praise the person whose brain you're picking.  Your request for their time is praise enough.

There are many tips for the workplace, and many of them are useful and earnest.  But not many are funny.  The Esquire Guy does good with informative and hilarious tips.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Friday, May 9, 2014

Leadership Lessons from Howard Gardner

One has to live as an optimist.  Nothing will get better, if we don't try.  

Gandhi did more than anybody else to convey what it means to respect people, even if you disagree with him or her or them.

Stories are the universal lingua franca [i.e., bridge language].  The leader's challenge is to be Darwinian, namely, to create a story which can struggle with the stories that are extant and say this is a better story.
Howard Gardner is a psychologist and professor at Harvard University, who advanced the notion that intelligence is far more complex and wide-ranging than just one general ability (i.e., the g factor).  He published Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Leadership Lessons from Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, discusses the 9/11 Memorial Museum with Bloomberg Television's Stephanie Ruhle.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~George Santayana

Pragmatic management is the nuts-and-bolts of getting things done

Emotion and sentiment must have their voice and must be worked through

We cannot stake out freedom for ourselves and deny it of others at the same time

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Monday, May 5, 2014

Leadership Lessons from Newton's Cradle

You probably have seen Newton's Cradle in science class, and perhaps you have one at home, too.  Pull the ball at one end, let go and let it strike the next ball, and lo and behold the ball at the opposite end swings out.  Pull two balls, and two balls swing out.
Whether you’ve heard of them or not, two gurus from the early twentieth century still dominate management thinking and practice — to our detriment. It has been more than 100 years since Frederick Taylor, an American engineer working in the steel business, published his seminal work on the principles of scientific management. And it has been more than 80 years since Elton Mayo, an Australian-born Harvard academic, produced his pioneering studies on human relations in the workplace. Yet managers continue to follow Taylor’s “hard” approach — creating new structures, processes, and systems — when they need to address a management challenge. Hence, the introduction of, say, a risk management team or a compliance unit or an innovation czar. And when managers need to boost morale and get people to work better together, they still follow Mayo’s “soft” approach — launching people initiatives such as off-site retreats, affiliation events, or even lunchtime yoga classes. If these approaches made sense in the first half of the twentieth century (and that’s open to question), they make no sense today. Indeed, if anything, their continued use is making things worse.
Reference: Stop Trying to Control People or Make Them Happy.

What Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman, from The Boston Consulting Group, speak to is a veritable pendulum swing à la Newton's Cradle.

One company set up programs, launched initiatives, and even underwent a reorganization.  Whether it was a sales academy or a business restructuring, project leaders imposed an idea on people and then, quizzically, sought to engage and motivate them on the idea.  

One manager, bereft of ideas in general, occasionally suggested lunch outings and fun retreats.  The idea was to make the people feel better about working there and hitting targets.

Oddly enough, on both counts, people were the forgotten figures.  Moreover, there was insufficient examination (analytic) and reflection (intuitive) on the actual factors, issues or causes that gave rise to people's frank dissatisfaction and under-performance.  It is an organizational crime, I argue, for any leader to coax cash out the budget for an initiative that is fundamentally off or flawed from the get-go.  It is a crime when that leader is unusually persuasive or aggressive, and can get people to comply.

Things can prevent the sort of examination and reflection necessary.  For the company, it was ineptitude.  Senior managers simply didn't know how to relate to people, inquire about their issues, and work at resolving them.  For the manager, it was abusiveness.  He was a hostile, self-absorbed sort, who had tin ears for more nuanced, unspoken issues among people in the office.

In each case, there were attempts at Frederick Taylor and Elton Mayo efforts, so their Newton's Cradle swung like pendulums from one end to the other.  People were simply balls in the middle that absorbed the force, then transmitted it, but never really went anywhere.

Newton's Cradle

I scoff at simplistic advice, in the way that Morieux and Tollman set out to do and announce explicitly in the title of their book.  Be that as it may, I appreciate their first rule: that of understanding people as best as possible.

If you are the CEO, efforts begin with your (i.e., the organizational) end in mind.  Purpose or aim is the guidepost for how to look at factors, issues and causes.  People are an inevitability in any organization, so they must be engaged and motivated, not as a matter of consequence, but as an agent of change and resolution.  Understand them in the truest, deepest possible way.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

Friday, May 2, 2014

Former CEO Anne Mulcahy Turning Around Xerox

Addressing a packed auditorium as part of the 2004-05 [recorded in December 2004] View from the Top speaker series, then chairwoman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation Anne Mulcahy described the strategy behind the company's return to profitability, or—as it was dubbed by Money magazine—"the great turnaround story of the post-crash era."
Mulcahy candidly admitted that she had never planned on becoming the CEO, let alone one who was expected to reverse the company's fortunes after a sustained period of underperformance. Although she had been at Xerox for 24 years when she was appointed to the role, she had spent 16 of those years in sales, and much of her remaining tenure as the head of human resources and the chief of staff for former CEO Paul Allaire.
Anne Mulcahy speaks articulately, briskly and warmly about her efforts, views and reflections at the helm of Xerox.  The following are the 10 lessons learned that she spends a good portion of her talk on:
  1. Look, before you leap. Everyone was fixing the fire, but no one was fixing the fuel leak.
  2. Communication. People go underground, when situations get ugly. She delivered The Brutal Truth, with a dose of confidence (rf. Good to Great). Here’s the problem, here’s the strategy, here’s what you do to do help. Align and scale, in order to accomplish your goals.
  3. Crisis is a powerful motivator. Crisis teaches you to do things you should’ve been doing all along. They’d been deploying Lean + Six Sigma, which offered them a process, a language, and a toolbox. It was a great partnering tool with customers and a prompt to sustain their focus and intensity.
  4. Back to basics. It was tempting to go with new ideas, but in our experience it was about doing the simple things. Put discipline back. Align people around objectives. Review operations. 
  5. Follow your instincts. They’re a data-driven and process-driven company. But instincts played an important role. In the 1990s hordes of consultants worked to organize, and organize, and organize the company, but they unraveled it all. There was no accountability, despite what looked good on paper.
  6. Corporate culture. Others said, You have to kill the culture, which made the company sluggish, dull and weak. But the culture clearly had to be adapted. They had to bring it forward, not kill it.
  7. Focus on customers. Don’t forget them. They decided to make this their number one corporate focus. Solve problems. All executives had customers to take responsibility for.
  8. The vision thing. Even while Rome was burning, people wondered what the future city would look like. It wasn’t just about a company trying to survive, but really thrive (my word). WSJ was full of dour news about Xerox, so they wrote a mock WSJ article for themselves as a way to paint a future and motivate people.
  9. Good critics. You have to work at getting sources of honest feedback. Deal with problems early.
  10. Sense of humor and perspective. We made a lot of mistakes, we laughed at ourselves, we looked forward to each day.  We were a family.
Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD