domingo, fevereiro 28, 2021

"The tendency to obsess over revenues rather than profits"

Gosto desta sistematização que procura ilustrar o quanto o one size fit all não serve:
"A practice’s ability to deliver value to clients rests on the skills of its professionals, and the skill set of those professionals affects the choice of clients. In turn, the clients being served affect the development of the professionals’ skills. The strategy of a practice therefore is tightly linked to its clients and the professionals serving them. Whom a practice hires affects the clients it can serve, the clients it serves affect how the skills of its professionals evolve, how the skill set evolves affects the clients the practice can acquire in the future, and the cycle keeps repeating."


"To achieve superior performance, a practice has to manage both its capabilities and its client portfolio systematically.

A useful way to examine portfolios is to determine where clients fall in the four quadrants formed by comparing the cost to serve clients (CTS) with clients’ willingness to pay (WTP)."
"Most practices discover that their clients are spread across all four quadrants. That indicates that they have no clear strategy and are trying to be everything to everyone. This happens mainly because they can’t say no to clients. Irrational confidence about being able to turn any situation around makes it hard to pass up opportunities. And a lot of practices will undertake any task a client puts forward rather than allow a competitor to develop a relationship with it. The tendency to obsess over revenues rather than profits, moreover, fosters an “any business is good business” mentality."

Trechos retirados de "What Professional Service Firms Must Do to Thrive

sábado, fevereiro 27, 2021

Para reflexão - um travo do que aí vem



"O número de insolvências empresariais no concelho de Braga disparou em janeiro de 2021 cerca de 300 por cento face ao período homólogo. E o número de novas empresas criadas caiu mais de 40 por cento face a janeiro de 2021

...

O concelho de Braga iniciou o ano de 2021 com uma forte derrocada no tecido empresarial, que sinalizou um forte impacto da pandemia na destruição de empresas e, por erxtensão, dos postos de trabalho.

Durante o mês de janeiro deste ano, a maior economia do Minho perdeu 147 empresas para as insolvências, revela um relatório que acaba de ser publicado pelo Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE).

...

À escala da região do Minho, o mês de janeiro de 2021 fica marcado por 583 empresas declaradas  insolventes, ou seja, mais 245 por cento que as 238 que entraram em processo de falência em janeiro do ano passado.

Contas feitas, nos distritos de Braga e de Viana do Castelo faliram, em média, 19 empresas por cada dia do mês de janeiro.

O número de insolvências de empresas minhotas no primeiro mês do ano corresponde a mais de 36 por cento de todas as falências de 2020, que foram de 1607.

...

Os números avançados pelo INE dão conta que os oito concelhos que integram a sub-região do Ave acumulam a maior destruição absoluta de empresas e o maior agravamento das insolvências empresariais face ao período homólogo.

A maior área industrial do Minho acumulou, em janeiro último, 260 insolvências, mais 283 por cento que em as 92 registadas em janeiro de 2020."

Trechos retirados do artigo "Falências sobem 300 por cento entre as empresas de Braga" publicado no Diário do Minho de ontem.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 26, 2021

Criar a organização do futuro

"The imagery of a ship navigating to discrete waypoints for the purpose of reaching a destination aligns well with the activity of a company plotting and carrying out strategic initiatives. It is observed therefore that the development and implementation of strategy may be conceived as a series of discrete activities that may be managed as projects. Although the refining of strategy often occurs on an annual cycle, the macroenvironment changes as does the internal situation of the business. For this reason, every strategic planning cycle includes elements that are unique. Since the strategic planning process is unique in every planning period, and the activities carried out in each of the strategic planning phases are temporary, often complex, and involve the application of resources, the process of strategic planning is an ideal candidate for the use of project management practices."

Como não relacionar com o que tenho escrito nos últimos 16 anos neste blogue:

"Como não existem acidentes nem acasos, se aspiramos a resultados futuros diferentes dos resultados actuais, temos de transformar a realidade. Temos de criar a organização do futuro através de um somatório de projectos de transformação: as iniciativas estratégicas."

Trecho retirado de “Project-Led Strategic Management” de James Marion.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 25, 2021

Cuidado com as crenças cientificas

"Scientific progress has been stifled many times over the years because the gatekeepers who established and enforced orthodoxy believed they knew all the answers ahead of time.

...

Consider that in 1894, the prominent physicist Albert Michelson argued, after surveying the great advances in physics realized during the late nineteenth century: “It seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established. . . . An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.” In contrast, over the subsequent several decades, physicists witnessed the emergence of the theories of special relativity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, theories that revolutionized our understanding of physical reality and thus disproved Michelson’s forecast.

...

Similarly, in August 1909, Edward Charles Pickering argued in a Popular Science Monthly article that telescopes had reached their optimal size, fifty to seventy inches, and there was thus little point in building instruments with larger apertures. “Much more depends on other conditions, especially those of climate, the kind of work to be done and, more than all, the man behind the gun,” Pickering wrote. “The case is not unlike that of a battleship. Would a ship a thousand feet long always sink one of five hundred feet? It seems as if we had nearly reached the limit of size of telescopes, and as if we must hope for the next improvement in some other direction.”

Pickering was mistaken, of course; telescopes with larger apertures collect more photons, allowing scientists to see farther out into the cosmos and deeper into the past. Pickering directed the Harvard College Observatory from 1877 to 1919, and his unfortunate words therefore carried a lot of weight, especially on the East Coast. As a result, the West Coast became the center of observational astronomy in the United States for decades to come.

...

Pickering had erred due to his arrogance. Not personal arrogance, but professional arrogance. He thought what his generation of scientists observed, understood, and determined was of interest was the peak of discovery; he didn’t appreciate that the ascent of science is one false peak after another."

Trechos retirados de "Extraterrestrial" de Avi Loeb

Mais publicidade descarada

Publicado por Carlos Pereira da Cruz em Quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2021

 

quarta-feira, fevereiro 24, 2021

"A company must also adapt its sales model as it pursues new customer segments"

"In recovering from the crisis, the effectiveness of sales efforts will be of strategic importance for companies
...
Few companies have adequately adapted their sales models to fundamental shifts in the way customers make purchase decisions. Buying has long been framed in terms of a hierarchy-of-effects model in which customers move from awareness to interest to desire to action. However, the AIDA formula and its variants—the basis (often unconsciously) for sales activities in most firms—is becoming less relevant as buyers work through their own parallel activity streams in making a decision. 
...
Effective selling requires an understanding of where customers are, how they navigate between various streams of activity, and when to interact with them
...
Despite technology advances, most sales models are the ad hoc accumulation of years of reactive decisions made by multiple managers pursuing different goals.
...
Like perishable goods in grocery stores, any sales model has a sell-by date. Across a market life cycle, customers typically start as generalists and over time become more discriminating.
...
Decisions about scope, or where you play in a market, are central to any business strategy and sales model... But in practice, scope is determined by sales call patterns—where reps’ time and expense are allocated. Scope must also take into account opportunity costs. Money and time allocated to accounts A and B are not available for accounts C, D, and so on. Executives know that you can’t be all things to all people, yet they fail to make this an explicit and managed part of their sales models. They basically tell salespeople, either directly in meetings or implicitly through compensation plans, to “go forth and multiply.” With an eye to meeting their volume quotas, salespeople then sell to anyone, often at discounted prices, leading to lost revenue and damaged brand positioning. Profitable growth requires clarity about how to “separate the suspects from the prospects.”

Most sales models are the ad hoc accumulation of years of reactive decisions made by multiple managers pursuing different goals.
...
A company must also adapt its sales model as it pursues new customer segments."

Trechos retirados de "Selling After the Crisis

terça-feira, fevereiro 23, 2021

"In a stagnant economy, economic policy becomes zero-sum"


 "In a stagnant economy, economic policy becomes zero-sum: the situation of some can only be  improved by worsening that of others. This is a recipe for conflict. [Moi ici: Só esta citação já vale pelo artigo todo. A aposta portuguesa no socialismo, à esquerda e à direita, tem promovido acima de tudo políticas distributivas cada vez mais caras, mais caras porque suportam cada vez mais gente, suportadas em cada vez menos riqueza criada proporcionalmente] It is essential to generate sustainable economic growth, instead. 

...

Why has UK growth slowed to a crawl? The best analysis I have seen of the determinants of growth is in Windows of Opportunity by David Sainsbury,

...

As Sainsbury states, neoclassical economics does not have a theory of growth, because it does not have a theory of innovation. He does: it is driven by innovative businesses. This he calls the “capability/market-opportunity dynamic”. There are four conditions for success: demand for new products and services; activity-specific technological opportunities; firms capable of exploiting those opportunities; and institutions able to support those firms. Growth then is an evolutionary process characterised by trial and error, uncertainty, economies of scale and scope, network externalities, temporary monopolies [Moi ici: Os meus monopólios informaisand cumulative advantage. Historical experience confirms that growth is a race to the top. [Moi ici: Nunca esquecer esta regra - race to the top, subir na escala de valor. Mudar de clientes!!! Mudar de produto/serviço!!!] It means exploiting new opportunities that generate enduring advantages in high productivity sectors and so high wages.

...

Sainsbury argues that there are four possible strategies towards innovation: leave it to the market; support the supply of relevant factors of production (science and skilled people); support key industries and technologies; and pick specific firms/technologies/products. He argues that governments should do the second and third, but not the last. [Moi ici: Quanto à segunda, não posso estar mais de acordo, é o "set the table" de Bloomberg. Quanto à terceira, tenha dúvidas. Não basta privilegiar um sector, isso não pode ser feito em abstracto. E quem é que vai aproveitar esse privilégio? Pois, os macacos não voam, trepam as árvores. Quanto à quarta, é típica dos governos socialistas, de direita e de esquerda, picking winners, promovendo o chamado "crony capitalism", o capitalismo da "famíglia", dos amigalhaços, dos donos disto tudo] That can be better left to bankers or venture capitalists. But governments can and must fund science and the development of scientific and other skills and should promote a few broad industries and technologies."


Trechos de Martin Wolf publicados ontem no FT em  “Why once successful countries get left behind”


segunda-feira, fevereiro 22, 2021

Mudar de modelo de negócio

Num projecto em curso com uma empresa de informática tem-se repetido que o modelo de negócio está a mudar, da venda de software para a venda de assistência.

Recentemente usei com eles um esquema de Bob Moesta:
Quis alertar para as alterações de contexto em curso, e como elas podem despertar novos desafios para os seus clientes actuais ou potenciais. Quis que abrissem a mente para as oportunidades a construir.

Entretanto, leio na Harvard Business Review de Março de 2021 este artigo "How to Shift from Selling Products to Selling Services":

"In my classes, I teach that most sales strategy and management decisions revolve around three issues: how to sell what to whom. The shift from selling products to selling services requires leaders to rethink not just the what (services instead of products) but also the who (the types of customers the sales force pursues) and the how (the way salespeople engage with customers before and after the sale, the new skills necessary for the job, and how they are trained and compensated). That’s a tall order, and many tech firms have seen waves of sales force reorgs and downsizings as they struggle to fill it.

...

Although tech companies are the most prominent examples, the guidance applies to any organization making this leap. Daimler Trucks, for instance, is shifting from leasing vehicles to large companies, such as UPS, for set periods of time to charging them for miles driven. The prescriptions—which involve resegmenting the customer base, rethinking the sales organization’s structure, and changing the way salespeople interact with customers and targets on a day-to-day basis—enable companies to transform their sales forces to most effectively support the new strategy.

...

To effectively shift to selling a service, salespeople and their managers must rethink the metrics that identify a potential enterprise client. This is more difficult than it may seem. 

...

Rethinking customer segmentation focuses on the question: Who are the company’s target customers? Once they are identified, the sales organization must focus on how to sell to them. The traditional sales process typically involves generating leads, qualifying prospects, demonstrating products, and closing sales. Many salespeople have spent decades learning and implementing that routine. A consumption-based model requires a different process. “Closing the deal” becomes an interim step because the contract will generate substantial revenue only if the client subsequently uses the service at high volume. The industry’s euphemistic term for this is “customer success,” and it has begun to dominate the way companies think about selling. As Microsoft’s chief financial officer, Amy Hood, puts it, “Ultimately, in a consumption-based business, customer success is all that matters, because it builds on itself over time.”

Although salespeople still must be skilled at building relationships, the new approach requires them to have far more technical expertise.

To drive that success (that is, to increase customer usage), salespeople must stay engaged after the contract is signed. They become quasi consultants to their clients, helping them grow adept at using (and finding new ways to use) the metered technology. Although salespeople still must be skilled at building relationships, the new approach requires them to have far more technical expertise. Many companies, including Microsoft, have supplemented their sales teams’ technical prowess by creating “customer success teams” and “technical sales teams” to drive consultative work after a customer signs a contract. Companies have always provided after-sales service as a cost of doing business; these new functions illustrate how this unglamorous task has become a vital part of generating revenue.

The benefits of having highly skilled cloud engineers as part of the sales organization go beyond increasing revenue, however. One result of the shift from selling products to selling services is that the relationship with customers becomes both closer and more continuous. That gives sales teams deeper, ongoing insights into customers’ pain points, product features that might add value, and new ways to use products. This is valuable feedback that companies can use to spark innovation—a source of information that was rarely tapped in the old “see you in three years” model.

...

In developing a new offering, a company needs to first identify the potential customers’ pain point. Only then can it determine whether the customers’ pain is sufficient to make the company’s value proposition viable. These calculations are important, but they are not enough to create sustainable profit: The firm must also find the right sales strategy to effectively pair with the innovation to engage customers.

domingo, fevereiro 21, 2021

Descongelar não é o inverso de congelar - histerese

Lembro-me no meu Foust, no meu McCabe, velhos manuais de "heat & mass transfer", do fenómeno da  histerese.

A histerese acontece quando o estado de um sistema não é independente da sua história. A viagem de ida de A para B é diferente da tentativa de regresso de B para A.

Ontem escrevi sobre a missiva de António Saraiva... a certa altura ele diz:
“No final da crise, outros vão partir da pole position, porque tiveram ajudas reforçadas às suas estruturas empresariais, e nós partimos atrás.”

Isto significa que ele acredita que quando a economia descongelar vamos estar no ponto em que a começamos a congelar. Não o creio!

Sim, sexta-feira estive com empresários em Felgueiras que estão muito animados com as perspectivas, com as encomendas que têm caído. Eu não estou tão optimista.

Entretanto, ontem li este artigo no WSJ de quinta-feira passada, "Future Europe Task: Unlocking Economy":

"For nearly a year, large swaths of Europe’s economy have been in a deep freeze. Trillions in state-backed subsidies and inexpensive loans have kept businesses alive, while governments pay millions of furloughed workers to stay home. In much of Europe, layoffs or forced bankruptcies are banned. In pursuing such policies, European leaders have bet that, once the pandemic subsides, they can defrost the region’s $18 trillion economy, allowing businesses to fire up quickly and bring back workersIt’s an intentional effort to slow an economic deep clean, dubbed by many economists creative destruction.  This reflects a political choice: Europeans are generally less tolerant of the brutal adjustments required by the U.S. model of capitalism.

But as the pandemic drags on and Europe’s vaccine rollout is expected to stretch through the year and beyond, some policymakers, economists and business executives worry that mothballing the economy for so long will leave it struggling to adapt to the seismic business and social changes the crisis is driving. That could stall an economic recovery.

“Trying to freeze work where it was and how it was is in many cases a profound mistake, because it delays the corporate reorganizations, new investments and new hires that are necessary,” [Moi ici: Este é o meu grande receio. O contexto muda brutalmente e ninguém se prepara para o que aí vem embalados que estão nas canções dos governos e no "soma" chamado "lay-off"] said Carlo Bonomi, chairman of Confindustria, the Italian employers’ federation. While Europe keeps the economy in suspended animation, the U.S. is already creating new jobs and businesses.

...

Bankruptcy gap [Segundo o última Barómetro Informa, nos últimos 12 meses a criação de empresas caiu 26,5%, o número de encerramentos caiu 22% e o número de insolvências manteve-se igual. Numa crise temos turbulência, há empresas novas a aparecer, empresas estabelecidas a falir ou encerrar, mas neste período estamos num aparente ponto morto. Aparente, porque entretanto o capital vai-se esvaindo. As empresas não morrem, mas viram zombies. E os zombies são perigosos, destroem o mercado das empresas saudáveis]

Europe registered far fewer business bankruptcies last year than in the previous five, while bankruptcies in the U.S. remained within the pre-pandemic range, according to data from the Bank for International Settlements. Applications to start new businesses in the U.S. rose 42% in the six months through September but declined slightly in France and Germany, according to Oxford Economics.

Worker productivity has risen in the U.S. but been flat or down in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, according to Deutsche Bank. Eliminating unviable jobs and businesses is responsible for about half of long-run productivity growth, some economists say. [Moi ici: A velha lição finlandesa que aprendi com Maliranta em 2007 "In essence, creative destruction means that low productivity plants are displaced by high productivity plants" e sintetizado por Nassim Taleb em 2018 com este vintage "Systems don’t learn because people learn individually – that’s the myth of modernity. Systems learn at the collective level by the mechanism of selection: by eliminating those elements that reduce the fitness of the whole, provided these have skin in the game." Reparem no paradoxo. Os governos apoiam as empresas para que elas se tornem mais produtivas, mas elas, ao receberem os apoios, agem como as raposas na Austrália. As raposas foram introduzidas na Austrália para acabarem com a praga de coelhos, também eles introduzidos pelos humanos. As raposas rapidamente perceberam que havia uma quantidade muito mais interessante e fáceis de apanhar que os coelhos. Assim que as empresas recebem os apoios o seu negócio passa a ser captar mais apoios - OK, conheço excepções]

The pandemic is accelerating a shift toward new digital business models and automation of processes. Some habits may stick, such as working and shopping from home, permanently reducing demand for certain services. If the economy looks very different in a couple of years, anything that delayed the adjustment would be costly. [Moi ici: O mundo descongelado será diferente do mundo pré-congelamento]

...

At Germany’s Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH, which makes seats for European, U.S. and Chinese airlines, sales fell 60% last year to about €300 million ($360 million). CEO Mark Hiller doesn’t expect sales to return to pre-crisis levels for five years.

Recaro cut about 30% of jobs at its factories in the U.S. and China, but in Germany it hasn’t reduced its workforce of roughly 1,100. Instead, it has tapped the government program, which pays its workers up to 87% of their salary, to a maximum of almost €5,000 a month, to stay home. Almost all of Recaro’s workforce is on furlough, working 40% fewer hours than normal.

Recaro has agreed not to lay off employees until at least mid-2023. The high cost and legal complexities of doing so in Europe deter many companies from cutting staff.

But job-retention schemes “can only bridge the gap until we’re back on a higher level,” Mr. Hiller said. “If we need to adapt to €300 million [sales] forever, it won’t work.”

Meanwhile, U.S. defense group Raytheon Technologies Corp. cut a fifth of the workforce in its commercial aerospace division after sales at a unit that competes with Recaro fell 26% last year. It doesn’t plan to hire all of the people back.

...

Half of German companies have halted or delayed transformation and innovation projects because of furlough programs, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group.

Job-retention schemes are “a little bit too easy. You can delay decisions and remain in your comfort zone as a manager,” said Karl Haeusgen, president of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, a lobby group for a sector that employs around 1.3 million people.

Economists and business executives also say business subsidies could increase the share of “zombie” companies that struggle to earn enough over time to cover their debt servicing costs, and that can undercut prices charged by healthier competitorsIn Germany, the share of zombie companies could increase to 20% of all businesses this year from 7% before Covid, according to research by Creditreform, a German credit agency.

Alexander Alban, managing partner at German mechanical parts manufacturer Walter Schimmel GmbH, hustled last year to keep his business in the black—cutting staff, putting workers on furlough and canceling plans for a new factory— as he coped with a 25% decline in sales.

Price reductions 

Though demand fell, a third of that revenue drop was due to a roughly 12% fall in market prices, Mr. Alban said, as struggling local competitors using government support offered low prices to stay afloat.

“These zombie companies... run their business for a couple of months below costs,” Mr. Alban said. “They ruin the market. Afterwards, it’s very hard to get this business back. Usually it’s good if the market is cleaned.” 

In Italy, widespread use of job-retention schemes hurt labor productivity growth during the 2008-09 financial crisis, according to a 2018 paper by Giulia Giupponi of Bocconi University in Milan and Camille Landais, a professor at the London School of Economics. The least productive firms were three times more likely to tap the job-retention scheme than their stronger peers, the researchers found.

...

Germany’s sweetened job furlough scheme has “crazy consequences,” said Friedrich Merz, a senior politician in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party. “Employees are kept in businesses even though they are needed in other places.” Still, some businesses say the European model is better in the long run."

sábado, fevereiro 20, 2021

"You'll walk alone!"

"António Saraiva pede estratégia ao Governo “para lá da crise”"

Este é o título que o caderno de Economia do Expresso de ontem usa num comentário a uma carta do líder da CIP aos empresários associados. Portanto, é o governo que tem que dar a estratégia às empresas para que elas encontrem o El Dorado?

"“Portugal não pode conformar-se com o crescimento anémico das últimas duas décadas, em que ano após ano somos ultrapassados no ranking europeu do produto interno bruto (PIB) per capita.” [Moi ici: Nunca o ouvi comentar as proclamações do governo com a baboseira de que estávamos a crescer mais do que a média europeia] Por isso, defende que 2021 “é a oportunidade para darmos um ‘abanão’ ao nosso modelo de crescimento, à forma como é visto o mundo dos negócios e nos tornarmos um país mais competitivo”, [Moi ici: Será que ele faz ideia do que é isto de um país mais competitivo? Os países não competem, escrevia o velho e são Krugman. As empresas é que competem. Como é que a economia de um país (somatório das suas empresas) fica mais competitiva? Ah! Se Saraiva estudasse o ressurgimento finlandês após a queda da União Soviética... aprenderia aquela frase na coluna das citações ali ao lado "In essence, creative destruction means that low productivity plants are displaced by high productivity plants."  Imaginam Saraiva dizer aos associados da CIP que um país mais competitivo significa que alguns, (Poucos? Muitos?) dos associados têm de ser expulsos do mercado por concorrentes mais competitivos. Imaginam mesmo?] frisando que “a ambição está  muito longe de ser o regresso ao passado: o objetivo é um novo ciclo de desenvolvimento sustentado”,

...

“Tão ou mais importante do que avaliar a situação e propor medidas no imediato é o futuro. É preciso ter uma estratégia de desenvolvimento [Moi ici: Portanto, uma estratégia de desenvolvimento para o país tem de ser top down, uma espécie de master plan elaborado por uns iluminados lesboetas, sem contacto com a realidade para lá do ecossistema das carpetes e biombos dos escritórios. E tem de ser um documento único? ... E o que é válido para o sector A também é válido para o sector B? E dentro do sector C, o que é válido para a empresa i também é válido para a empresa ii e para a empresa iii? Isto parece-me conversa de gente perdida que não tem a minima noção de como sair do buraco e pede a outrém uma corda para o tirar de lá] e olhar o país para lá da crise”"

...

"a CIP está a “preparar um documento estratégico que convoque a todos para a necessidade de  assumirmos, de uma vez por todas, a necessidade de o país ganhar competitividade, prosseguir o desenvolvimento, ter mais e melhor investimento e emprego”, [Moi ici: Catequese... prometer um mar de rosas... e os sacrifícios? Toda a gente quer ser rica e ter saúde, ninguém quer ser pobre e doentio. Azar, ter estratégia é fazer sacrifícios. Onde é que Saraiva escreve sobre a necessidade de os fazer? Onde escreve sobre a necessidade de fazer escolhas dolorosas?] escreve na missiva aos empresários. 

...

Saraiva defende “um pacto social para o crescimento, que inclua a política de rendimentos, os eixos da competitividade a política fiscal, revisitando a política fiscal e dando-lhe previsibilidade”.[Moi ici: Às segundas, terças e quartas pede apoios ao governo, às quintas, sextas e sábados protesta contra o nível da carga fiscal. Blahblahblahblah só lugares comuns. Por que terá escrito a carta? Para comunicar estes lugares comuns?]  E remata: “Temos de fazer o caminho de uma nova especialização do nosso modelo de desenvolvimento. Isto exige estratégia e a aposta na diversificação de sectores. Não podemos assentar num único sector, como tem acontecido com o turismo. Queremos que o ministro da Economia seja o arquiteto da recuperação e as empresas farão, como têm feito, o seu trabalho.”" [Moi ici: O quê? O ministro da Economia? Arquitecto da recuperação? E o trabalho das empresas é seguir as orientações desse suposto iluminado? Acham isto normal? O que é isto? É isto a liderança da CIP? Portanto, o que as empresas precisam é de pactos... Eu tenho uma visão muito mais cínica da coisa. As empresas têm de se amanhar elas próprias. Os governos são como os Hunos, uma incomodidade que se traduz no pagamento forçado de um tributo. Até podemos pedir aos Hunos que baixem o tributo porque o ano foi mau, mas não esperem que sejam eles a arquitectar a recuperação de coisa nenhum. O negócio deles é extrair, não é criar.]

Eu se fosse jornalista, depois de ler a carta, perguntaria a António Saraiva que vestisse o papel de arquitecto da recuperação e que listasse três medidas concretas que ajudassem o país a ser mais competitivo.

Aposto que não conseguiria fugir de generalidades. 

Não! Por favor, ponha o trem de aterragem, quero sentir o chiar dos pneus, quero sentir o cheiro da borracha dos pneus a tocar na pista do aeroporto. Três medidas concretas que supostamente ajudem o país a ser mais competitivo.

Lamento, a minha missiva para os empresários seria outra. Até podia começar com a canção dos adeptos do Liverpool:

"When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high

And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm

There's a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark"

Mas o refrão seria outro: "You'll walk alone!" 

Não confiem em apoios pedo-mafiosos do governo de turno. Não confiem em estratégias elaboradas por quem não vos conhece, nem conhece os vossos clientes, não externalizem a tomada de decisões sobre o futuro da vossa empresa. 

O quanto António Saraiva podia aprender com as toutinegras de MacArthur ou as paramécias de Gause.

Eucaliptos - dois pesos duas medidas

Não podia estar mais de acordo com estas palavras do ministro do Ambiente escritas no Expresso de ontem ao abrigo do direito de resposta:

"Falou-se da plantação da pera-abacate no Algarve. A minha opinião, tão negativa sobre esta cultura, não mereceu dúvidas a quem, na TVI, destaca frases dos entrevistados. O destaque foi: “A pera-abacate, que existe desde 2007, é uma tontice.” Foi esta a frase no rodapé do ecrã. Na entrevista, atribuo a sua plantação a mecanismos perversos de financiamento da Política Agrícola Comum (PAC) e defendo que, revista esta política europeia, a agricultura seja adaptada ao território, mormente no que respeita aos consumos de água das culturas. Depois, afirmo que “se não houver água, ela não pode ser regada”, o que só reforça a ideia de que esta é uma cultura inadaptada. Por isso, sendo correta, a citação é evocada de má-fé.

Que fique claro: é inaceitável a promoção e financiamento de atividades económicas que não respeitem os limites dos sistemas naturais

...

A atividade agrícola não tem licenciamento ambiental. Isto não invalida a defesa intransigente da promoção de cadeias curtas de produção e de consumo que, naturalmente, combatem a monocultura."

Só é pena que o mesmo ministro apoie a monocultura do eucalipto.

BTW, por estes dias em que vejo imagens de inundações no Algarve tenho-me lembrado muitas vezes da pera-abacate. Vamos ver se este Verão se ouvem vozes a dizer que as barragens algarvias estão sem água. 

sexta-feira, fevereiro 19, 2021

Debates e negociações (parte II)

Parte I.


"We won’t have much luck changing other people’s minds if we refuse to change ours. We can demonstrate openness by acknowledging where we agree with our critics and even what we’ve learned from them. Then, when we ask what views they might be willing to revise, we’re not hypocrites.

Convincing other people to think again isn’t just about making a good argument—it’s about establishing that we have the right motives in doing so. When we concede that someone else has made a good point, we signal that we’re not preachers, prosecutors, or politicians trying to advance an agenda. We’re scientists trying to get to the truth. “Arguments are often far more combative and adversarial than they need to be,” Harish told me. “You should be willing to listen to what someone else is saying and give them a lot of credit for it. It makes you sound like a reasonable person who is taking everything into account.”
Being reasonable literally means that we can be reasoned with, that we’re open to evolving our views in light of logic and data.
...
When I asked Harish how to improve at finding common ground, he offered a surprisingly practical tip. Most people immediately start with a straw man, poking holes in the weakest version of the other side’s case. He does the reverse: he considers the strongest version of their case, which is known as the steel man."
Trechos retirados de “The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know” de Adam Grant.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 18, 2021

Pensar no futuro

O covid só veio acelerar as mudanças que já estavam em curso.

Interessante o que se lê sobre o Bangladesh: 

"The pandemic is not the only pressure point on fashion’s traditional supply chain. The rise of ultra-fast, online-only fashion companies is playing havoc with manufacturers’ business model, and the changing retail landscape is likely to feel long-lasting and far-reaching consequences.

Where traditional retailers would make large orders of each style, their more nimble, digital competitors have found success in a test-and-repeat model, ordering limited runs and swiftly doubling down on styles that sell. For factories, it’s a costly planning nightmare; the pivot to smaller, quicker inventory restocks could make sourcing from countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan — where lead times are longer and order minimums are relatively high — less attractive to buyers.

Manufacturers are caught shouldering much of the cost of uncertainty, with inventory volumes and associated labour requirements increasingly difficult to predict. “Those components of supply chain which have historically been much more formulated ... are now going to change, [with] speed being the name of the game,”

...

Others see opportunity in adapting to the fast-paced needs of ascendant, digitally native brands. Sean Coxall, a former executive at supply chain solutions giant Li & Fung, launched his company, 707, in January to offer supply chain solutions to direct-to-consumer upstarts. [Moi ici: Ao tempo que penso nisto. As marcas online não vão a feiras conhecer potenciais fabricantes]

We’re changing from supply chain to demand chain,” he said. “If you’re a factory, you need to forget the old way of asking for 100 days’ lead time... you know everything needs to be a lot more flexible and agile right now.”"[Moi ici: Quantas fábricas estão preparadas para dar a volta ao modelo de produção? É mais fácil criar uma de raiz do que dar a volta à cabeça das pessoas

Trechos retirados de "In Fashion’s Global Supply Chain, a Ruthless Race to the Bottom

quarta-feira, fevereiro 17, 2021

Debates e negociações (parte I)


Não fazia ideia de que existem campeonatos europeus e mundiais de ... debate.
"This section of the book is about convincing other people to rethink their opinions. When we’re trying to persuade people, we frequently take an adversarial approach. Instead of opening their minds, we effectively shut them down or rile them up. They play defense by putting up a shield, play offense by preaching their perspectives and prosecuting ours, or play politics by telling us what we want to hear without changing what they actually think.
...
A good debate is not a war. It’s not even a tug-of-war, where you can drag your opponent to your side if you pull hard enough on the rope. It’s more like a dance that hasn’t been choreographed, negotiated with a partner who has a different set of steps in mind. If you try too hard to lead, your partner will resist. If you can adapt your moves to hers, and get her to do the same, you’re more likely to end up in rhythm.
...
In a war, our goal is to gain ground rather than lose it, so we’re often afraid to surrender a few battles. In a negotiation, agreeing with someone else’s argument is disarming. The experts recognized that in their dance they couldn’t stand still and expect the other person to make all the moves. To get in harmony, they needed to step back from time to time.
...
The average negotiators went in armed for battle, hardly taking note of any anticipated areas of agreement. The experts, in contrast, mapped out a series of dance steps they might be able to take with the other side, devoting more than a third of their planning comments to finding common ground.
As the negotiators started discussing options and making proposals, a second difference emerged. Most people think of arguments as being like a pair of scales: the more reasons we can pile up on our side, the more it will tip the balance in our favor. Yet the experts did the exact opposite: They actually presented fewer reasons to support their case. They didn’t want to water down their best points. As Rackham put it, “A weak argument generally dilutes a strong one.
...
These habits led to a third contrast: the average negotiators were more likely to enter into defend-attack spirals. They dismissively shot down their opponents’ proposals and doubled down on their own positions, which prevented both sides from opening their minds. The skilled negotiators rarely went on offense or defense. Instead, they expressed curiosity with questions like “So you don’t see any merit in this proposal at all?”

Questions were the fourth difference between the two groups. Of every five comments the experts made, at least one ended in a question mark. They appeared less assertive, but much like in a dance, they led by letting their partners step forward."
Continua.

Trechos retirados de “The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know” de Adam Grant.

terça-feira, fevereiro 16, 2021

Publicidade descarada

Formação online, via zoom, sobre a implementação da ISO 14001:2015. 

25 horas - Março e Abril

Interessados podem inscrever-se por aqui.

segunda-feira, fevereiro 15, 2021

"Business is about pleasing the customer"

"Many motivational speakers and personal coaches with a background in sport insist that sport is a fundamental metaphor for business and that the two are similar in the skills and attitudes needed for success. 
...
Sports are played within a strict and limiting set of codified rules.  If you break them you are disqualified or penalised.  In business the customer is the referee.  You can break almost any rule and get away with it provided the customer likes it (and you stay legal).  
...
Sport is all about beating the competition but if you are working in care for the elderly or a hospital you are not concerned about beating the competition.  You are concerned about collaborating with your colleagues to get the best outcomes for the client.  In business you are focused on the customer – not the competition.  Sport is about beating the opposition.  Business is about pleasing the customer."
Recordar:

domingo, fevereiro 14, 2021

How can we use the process approach (part IVa)


5.Processes and strategy

5.1 Anything about strategy in ISO 9001 and ISO 9000?

ISO 9000:2015 defines strategy as:
plan to achieve a long-term or overall objective
When you remember the old article from Henry Mintzberg, The Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy, published in October 1987 by California Management Review. 
Summarizing the strategy in a plan is too little, too poor. 

What about ISO 9001:2015, where does the strategy come in? 

Clause 4.1:
The organization shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and its strategic direction
Interestingly, not many people realize that relevant external and internal issues and their classification are a function of strategic orientation.

Clause 5.1.1:
ensuring that the quality policy and quality objectives are established for the quality management system and are compatible with the context and strategic direction of the organization;
OK, alignment of quality policy with context and strategic direction.

Clause 5.2.1:
is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction;
Again, alignment of quality policy with context and strategic direction. Quality policy should derive from strategic orientation.

Clause 9.3.1:
Top management shall review the organization’s quality management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy, effectiveness and alignment with the strategic direction of the organization.
OK, this is understandable, it is peaceful. 

That’s it!!!

Not very useful as a guide to work with strategy.

Let us try another door. One of the quality management principles is customer focus. ISO 9000:2015 states:
The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations.
One of the things that worries me about ISO 9001 is that it uses the language "customer" instead of "target customer".

Seth Godin in his book “We Are All Weird” writes:
"The mass market — which made average products for average people was invented by organizations that needed to keep their factories and systems running efficiently.
Stop for a second and think about the backwards nature of that sentence.
The factory came first. It led to the mass market. Not the other way around.”
“For a hundred years, industrialists have had a clearly stated goal: standardized workers building standardized parts”, [Another text by Seth Godin, from his blog]. This resulted, as a business model, while demand was bigger than supply. When demand is bigger than supply, the boss, the one calling the shots, is the one who produces. And when that is the case, whoever is more efficient wins. Everyone tries to compete for the lowest cost. 
In this world, the competitive landscape can be compared to a single mountain and all competitors try to climb that mountain, the higher they rise, the higher the yield, but the higher they climb, the fewer the number of companies that survive, because in this landscape of a single mountain, the one that wins is the one that uses the effect of scale, grow in volume to lower unit costs and be more competitive.

As soon as supply started to exceed the level of demand, the economic world began a transformation towards more variety. In terms of the competitive landscape, this translates into many, more and more mountains. And those who climb one do not compete with those who climb the other:
In an economic world full of different peaks in a rugged landscape there are many types of customers. Different customers look and value different things. 

Let us stay away from statistics and look customers in the eye, literally and metaphorically. If we look at customers who value price above all else, what satisfies them? 
Satisfied customers do not happen by chance, they are the normal and natural result of work done upstream to achieve the results they value. 

What do we have to do upstream to produce these results in a perfectly normal, systematic, and sustainable way? 
This market is highly competitive, different competitors seek to improve their efficiency, whoever is more efficient wins, whoever stretches the frontiers of operational excellence wins. 

Amateurs cannot compete with paranoid competitors.

Now, let's look at another type of customer, the one who wants tailor-made service, or a customized product. What do they value? 
What kind of priorities are behind these results?
Finally, let's look at another type of customer, the one who wants innovation, or values design above all. What do they value? 
Again, what kind of priorities are behind these results?
Now imagine an organization that wants to serve the three types of customers at the same time
What a big mess it will be! A typical stuck-in-the-middle situation.
The following figure is taken from an article called “Using Product Profiling to Illustrate Manufacturing-Marketing Misalignment” by Terry Hill, Rafael Menda, and David Dilts and published in July 1998.

One can look into an organization and evaluate its products and markets, its manufacturing structure, and its infrastructure. 
For example, about the products and markets: organizations can have wide or narrow product ranges, high or low rate of new product introductions. High or Low frequency of schedule changes. And different order winners, the most relevant topic at the eyes of certain groups, certain segments of customers.
For example, for manufacturing: organizations can have small or large production run sizes, high or low set-up frequencies, low or high set-up costs.
For example, for infrastructure: organizations may be designed to new product introductions or for process improvements to improve efficiency. Manufacturing Managers’ tasks may be dedicated to schedules or to quantity.

Let us see two examples.
The blue company is a company that bets on innovation, they have a wide range of products, they have a high rate of new product introductions, They are flexible enough to accommodate and thrive in the middle of a high frequency of schedule changes. Customers love the innovative products and the brand. Their manufacturing is aligned by being able to run small production sizes, handle a high frequency of set-ups and their cost is low. Infrastructure is aligned with product introductions and meeting schedules.
On the other side, one can think about a green company. A company that bets on low cost to compete on price, they have a narrow range of products, they have a low rate of new product introductions. A new product introduction is a headache, is more entropy. They try to minimize the frequency of schedule changes, which reduces throughput, that reduces efficiency. Customers love their low prices. Their manufacturing is aligned by being able to run large production sizes without stop, they minimize set-ups, and their cost is high. Infrastructure is aligned with efficiency and process improvements process in and throughput.
Different organizations, different strategies, different processes, different mindsets.

Now consider the example of a third company, a company that has a weak or unclear strategy, a company not aligned.
They have a wide product range, an average rate of new product introductions, an average frequency of schedule changes, and their order winners are based on price. Things don’t fit nicely together
They run small to average production run sizes and average set-up frequency and cost.
Their mind is in searching for efficiency but at the same time, they look to meet schedules to satisfy different customers looking for different products in small quantities.
This company is a mess, is stuck in the middle trying to serve everybody and fighting with conflicting priorities.

Continue.

sábado, fevereiro 13, 2021

Acerca dos monopólios informais (II)


"How does a little monopolist grow its monopoly from a tiny one to a big enough one to be economically survivable, then attractive, then a money machine? It is by delighting its customers. And it isn’t altruistic. It needs more customers to get the economic model to work. And each customer benefits from the attempt to get the next one in order to make the economics work. It is a win-win!
But then the monopolist gets to the point of making the economics work, and beyond there, the monopoly becomes a magnificent profit machine. At that point, another customer would be perfectly nice, but who really cares? The monopolist is rich beyond its wildest dreams.

At that point, unless the monopolist remembers Rule #2, customers go to the back of the line. They just cease to matter. In fact, they become an irritation that gets in the way of self-actualization, which is the thing that really matters to the monopolist. And then the monopolist comes up with clever ways to make more money by abusing them. Sell their data to nasty people. Force them to sign restrictive contracts. Bias search results that they used to count on for their objectivity. It goes on and on. (The analog for businesses with only a small core of monopoly customers is to take those customers completely for granted while making luxurious offers to attract new customers.)
And then the monopolist starts the slow downward spiral. It is a very slow death. Again, the future is already here; it is just not evenly distributed. Customers will appeal to the government for help (ask AT&T, IBM and Microsoft). Or they will use a different device because it doesn’t use the monopoly operating system. Or they will abandon the monopolist’s service just to prove a point. In due course, the economics crater."

sexta-feira, fevereiro 12, 2021

Incomodar os incumbentes preguiçosos...

Esta estória é deliciosa. Como um novato, fazendo uso de um diferente modelo de negócio, fazendo uso do marketing, incomodou um incumbente estabelecido e adormecido. 

"Figs Inc. has fashioned itself as the Warby Parker of medical uniforms, using advertising splashed on subways and billboards to sell its form-fitting scrubs directly to nurses and doctors.

...

Careismatic Brands, a leader in medical apparel with brands of scrubs like Cherokee and Dickies, has pursued litigation against Figs since 2019, saying the smaller company has misled health-care workers with boasts about how its products help keep them safe.

Figs’s advertising and social-media presence look more like those of a fashion brand than a medical-apparel maker, including sometimes irreverent videos and images of people wearing Figs while getting out of helicopters, skiing, and skateboarding. Its online-sales model, aimed at selling directly to medical professionals, contrasts with Careismatic’s heavy reliance on bricks-and-mortar retailers

Careismatic, previously known as Strategic Partners Inc., has asked a federal judge in Riverside, Calif., to issue an injunction requiring Figs to publicly renounce some marketing claims, including that its scrubs kill bacteria and infection on contact, repel liquids and reduce hospital-acquired infections by 66%.

Startups increasingly have to prepare for legal challenges from the industry they are trying to disrupt, said Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University. Starting with the rise of Uber and Airbnb, “The incumbents chose regulation and litigation to try to push them back,” he said, a strategy that has been replicated.

Los Angeles-based Careismatic, founded in 1995, sells some products directly to consumers but also relies on partnerships with thousands of retail stores, many independently owned. Emails included in Figs’s latest filings show several retail partners emailing Careismatic executives with concerns about Figs’s business model and products.

“We need ‘Figs-like’ material as fast as you can create it,” wrote one Kentucky retailer in February 2018, the filings show.

The global medical-uniform market is worth an estimated $66 billion annually, with $11 billion in the U.S., according to a recent report on Figs from investment bank Piper Sandler. Citing estimates from Forbes, the report put Careismatic’s annual revenue at $700 million and Figs’s at $250 million.

Since filing its first lawsuit in February 2019, Careismatic has amended its claims a number of times and filed similar actions in state and federal court. In addition to challenging the marketing claims, it questions whether Figs donated a pair of scrubs for every pair sold, as it purported to do for many years.

Ms. Spear said she and Ms. Hasson, who has a background in fashion, started Figs because they saw a staid industry with room for innovation. Most health-care professionals have to buy their own uniforms, and most options were boxy, scratchy scrubs sold at medical-supply stores alongside wheelchairs and bedpans, Ms. Spear said. Figs developed a slimmer-fitting version in a range of colors using an antimicrobial fabric, costing about twice as much as some competitors’ scrubs."

Trechos retirados de "Figs Fights Lawsuit Over Scrubs Ads"

quinta-feira, fevereiro 11, 2021

2020 vs 2019, 2019 vs 2018, 2018 vs 2017 - exportações

Há um ano publicava o quadro que comparava 2019 com 2018. Agora dá para apreciar 2020:

O quadro que sigo há anos... acho que em 2010 já publicava estes números.

Dá para ver como 2020 foi cruel para as exportações. 
PMEs uma desgraça
Empresas grandes ainda maior desgraça
Escapou a agricultura.

Desde o pico de 2017 o calçado já perdeu quase 500 milhões de euros de exportações.

Vamos mesmo ficar todos bem!




quarta-feira, fevereiro 10, 2021

Acerca dos monopólios informais (I)

Consideremos aqui o Facebook, a Apple como exemplo de monopólios. Basta atentarem no cabeçalho deste blog para lerem "monopólios informais":

"there is a huge incentive to attack the luxurious market of an existing monopolist — and innumerable companies do so. The monopolist must understand that these insurgents can’t help themselves: the opportunity is too attractive.

But taking on the monopolist at the heart of its business is rarely their approach. The dominant approach is to chip away at the edges of the monopoly. Think of the monopolist’s business as a circular disk. At the center is the perfect customer who thinks the monopolist’s offer is perfect. As you move away from the center, the offering is ever less perfect to those customers. And that is where insurgents attack: not at the center but at the fringes. And they win fringe customers.

When MCI and Sprint attacked AT&T’s monopoly, they didn’t attack the core of middle-American residential customers. They went after large businesses, who were being vastly overcharged relative to cost to serve, in order for AT&T to subsidize undercharged rural customers. Facebook’s insurgents aren’t attacking the core of its business. They are picking off customers who are hyper-sensitive to privacy issues (MT Social) or hyper-sensitive to ads (MeWe) or want to get credit for their participation (Minds) or they are searching for ideas/inspiration (Pinterest). If successful, that insurgent becomes the new monopolist for that niche — some of which are too small to be profitable, others not.

But the result is that the original monopolist’s territory becomes ever smaller as it is dynamically segmented around the edges. Ironically, the same thing happens in due course to the new entrants’ monopolies. So, dynamically over time, markets keep segmenting and segmenting into shrinking monopolies. It is inexorable."

Trechos retirados de "The Two Rules that Monopolists Ignore at their Peril

terça-feira, fevereiro 09, 2021

Every visit customers have to make ...

Sim, segunda metade dos anos 90, aprendi esta lição com este senhor. Influenciou postais como:

E fez-me criticar esta nota desde a primeira vez que a vi:

"Quem não aposta no "cheaper" e no "cost", aposta na interacção, aposta na co-criação, aposta noutro mindset... eu diria, "Every visit customers have to make are an opportunity for interaction and co-creation"

Nunca esquecer, Golias pode apostar e ganhar com a automação porque está no seu ADN; contudo, David não tem qualquer vantagem em seguir esse caminho, tem muito mais a perder do que os euros que poupa."

Diferenciação focada


Em sectores de bens ou serviços transaccionáveis, costumo encontrar PMEs com estratégias sustentáveis naqueles dois quadrantes de âmbito estreito.

Custo focado ou Diferenciação focada. Ambas assentam na escolha de um segmento de mercado limitado, um nicho. No entanto, as duas abordagens para satisfazer clientes são bem distintas. 

Todas as estratégias são transitórias, como aprendi há anos a estabilidade é uma ilusão. No entanto, penso que a estratégia baseada no Custo focado é menos defensável. Por isso, o seu sucesso dura menos. A Diferenciação focada, se bem trabalhada, se acompanhar o desenvolvimento dos clientes-alvo, pode durar muito mais tempo.

A Diferenciação focada não representa um grupo homogéneo. Tanto temos o "Made in Switzerland" como temos o "Made in Portugal", para nichos bem diferentes.

Onde é que a sua empresa se enquadra?


 



segunda-feira, fevereiro 08, 2021

"how to shape the future"

 

 "The future is not about prediction but about shaping the future with agile experimentation on what works and what does not work

Regardless of how much you plan, you will not predict the future because neither customers nor companies can anticipate what is possible. The only way to push for radical innovation is to accept the uncertainty and thereby accepting that with more traditional planning we can not predict the future.

By saying so, I do not mean that we need no planning or management anymore. We even need it more than ever, but with a different aim. The aim should not be to predict the future but to plan a creative process how to shape the future."

Recordar o pensamento baseado no risco que a ISO 9001 propõe: o que pode correr mal? 

Recordar os rinocerontes cinzentos e os fragilistas:

A 2 de Janeiro de 2016 escrevi em "O não-fragilista prepara-se para os problemas":

"Os fragilistas partem do princípio que o pior não vai acontecer e, por isso, desenham planos que acabam por ser irrealistas ou pouco resilientes. Depois, quando as coisas acontecem, chega a hora de culpar os outros pelos problemas que não souberam prever, não quiseram prever, ou que ajudaram a criar."
Em Julho do mesmo ano em "O fragilismo" escrevi:

"O fragilismo espera sempre o melhor do futuro, não prevê sobressaltos. Acredita que os astros se vão alinhar em nosso favor, não vê necessidade de precaução, just in case."

Trecho retirado de "The missing part for business model innovation: The process

Não esquecer

 

“Research shows that when people are resistant to change, it helps to reinforce what will stay the same. Visions for change are more compelling when they include visions of continuity. Although our strategy might evolve, our identity will endure.”

Trecho retirado de “The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know” de Adam Grant.

domingo, fevereiro 07, 2021

Estratégia e identidade

Na sequência deste artigo "O ano do "Great Reset"" descobri Suzie Scott. 

Ao ler o que ela escreve sobre os humanos, não pude deixar de pensar na transposição para as empresas, enquanto ressoava na minha cabeça uma velha frase de Porter retirada do clássico "What is Strategy?":

"As we return to the question, What is strategy? we see that trade-offs add a new dimension to the answer. Strategy is making trade-offs in competing. The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. Without trade-offs, there would be no need for choice and thus no need for strategy. Any good idea could and would be quickly imitated. Again, performance would once again depend wholly on operational effectiveness. 

...

Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do."

Vamos ao que li de Suzie Scott:
"Social identities are formed not only by what we are in life but also by what we are not. The infinite array of selves we cannot be, have never been and cannot imagine becoming form a vast, expansive landscape from which our actual selves emerge. [Moi ici: Isto também faz recordar o espaço de Minkowski - As escolhas que fizemos no passado limitam as escolhas que podemos fazer no futuro.] This is a residual category of nothing: the matter left behind after we carve out defining shapes. It is the scraps of cookie dough thrown in the waste bin; the discarded fabric from which our outfits have been cut. Phenomenologically, this represents the world of lost potential: the bracketed irrelevance of ‘everything else’ that recedes behind those objects that shine forth. Yet this contextual background gives greater meaning to the selves we do become, its negative space emphasising and accentuating their boundaries and contours. It plays a subtle but important role in supporting the construction of identity and enhancing its performance: like a theatrical understudy, its invisible labour is essential to the smooth execution of the show. Just as figures stand out clearly against contrasting backgrounds, so do positive identities comes into sharper focus when defined in negative relational contrast. I know who I am by what I am not, or refuse to be."

Todas as empresas têm uma estratégia, mesmo as que nunca deliberaram sobre ela. Uma estratégia pode ser deliberada, pode ser algo criado, ou pode ser algo que emerge do conjunto das decisões tomadas quotidianamente. Estratégias deliberadas talvez contribuam para uma maior noção de identidade: "Yet this contextual background gives greater meaning to the selves we do become, its negative space emphasising and accentuating their boundaries and contours. It plays a subtle but important role in supporting the construction of identity and enhancing its performance"

Trecho retirado de "The Social Life of Nothing"