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Sam Walton's Way
The Editors of New Word City
Spieldauer: 28 Min.
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It would be difficult to overstate the impact Sam Walton had on American business, specifically retailing. The standalone box stores he pioneered have quite literally changed the nation's landscape. His innovations in supply-chain management and distribution totally reshaped the relationship between suppliers and retailers, and, for the most part, took wholesalers out of the equation.
Bottom (and top) line: To turn Home Depot around. Frank Blake restoked employee morale, zeroed in customer needs, and focused on the core business. Best of all, he wasn't Bob Nardelli. What can you learn from Blake's story? Sell the project, not the product. Jump without a (golden) parachute. And never hold yourself above your people.
For JetBlue, the ice storm of 2007 was a nightmare come true. Thousands of passengers were stranded, many of them locked for hours in planes on runways. How the airline handled the public relations damage, fixed the problems, and rehabilitated its image is a model of disaster control.
How did the lumbering fast-food giant McDonald's cure its own sclerosis and become a newly lean, hungry competitor? Its comeback offers lessons for leaders everywhere in focusing on what their customers really want. For example, don't react to competitors, react to customers. When you broaden your market appeal, don't abandon your first customers....
Henry Ford's vision of a car for Everyman and a living wage for his employees created the middle class and forever changed America. But the deeply flawed genius got lost in his own new world. Among the lessons you can learn from his life: Make yourself stand out. If you find a diamond, don't throw it away. Don't neglect opportunities no matter how remote. Understand your weaknesses.
How did Zappos grow 20 percent in the midst of the worst recession in decades? It used super service to build a huge and loyal customer base. It brought in some fresh air-and fresh ideas. And it got social. Here's how you can follow in Zappos footsteps.
Netflix creates loyalty with every conceivable tool of friendly persuasion, from high-tech market analysis to low-tech phone banks manned by people famous for coaxing smiles out of grumps. Result: a vibrant, highly successful enterprise that has beaten off numerous competitive threats and built an ever more credible promise of future growth.
Here we begin with a paradox: United Parcel Service, good old "Brown", is seemingly a mighty bore yet actually a mighty innovator, one of America's most creative companies. Constantly finding new ways to capitalize on change, it has escaped corporate complacency and flourished in hard times. Now it's coping with global recession by reinventing itself yet again - this time with a whole new sideline, supply chain management.