Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 2/19/16

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Untours, Telenor Banka, Danaher Corporation, Kruskopf & Company, and Flannery Construction.

From Diane Mastrull: Setting a travel business on a new path

“About 12 years before Taussig, the cofounder of Untours, a travel-planning business in Media, drew his last breath on Jan. 11 at age 91, he had started devising the structure of its second act, and that of the foundation that distributes Untours’ profits to help eradicate poverty by aiding small businesses.”

From Joerg Niessing: Successful Digital Transformation Starts With the Customer

“Telenor Banka, Serbia’s first purely mobile bank, which opened in September 2014. Its name alone presents a uniquely 21-century paradox: The Telenor Group, as you may know, is not an established finance player but a telecoms firm majority-owned by the Norwegian government. This wasn’t Telenor’s first mobile banking endeavor — in Pakistan, the company introduced the widely touted Easypaisa service in partnership with Tameer Microfinance Bank — but no one predicted how quickly and decisively Telenor Banka would succeed. It took Telenor just 9 months to build its mobile bank and by the end of its first year in the market, the service had welcomed almost 140,000 customers in a country of just seven million people.”

From George L. Roth and Art Kleiner: Danaher’s Instruments of Change

“When the Danaher Corporation announced in May 2015 that it would split into two separate enterprises in 2016, it seemed at first like a reversal of the company’s history. Danaher had built itself into a remarkably successful business over four decades by acquiring and integrating new companies into a unified whole, improving them through a group of distinctive management practices known as the Danaher Business System (DBS), then holding onto them. Although it’s sometimes compared to a private equity firm, Danaher is different — it buys and builds companies for the long term, not for rapid fix-up and sale. Divesting is not the Danaher modus operandi.”

From the Star Tribune: Kruskopf & Company opens Truth Bar instead of the normal conference room

“People tend to be more honest in social settings, so when Sue Kruskopf’s Minneapolis ad agency needed more space, she opted to forgo a conference room and create a bar instead.”

From Neal St. Anthony: Keeping St. Paul’s Flannery Construction in the family

“Flannery, 38, started out cleaning up construction sites when she was a teenager. Last year, she bought her father’s company. The deal made her one of the few female leaders of a Twin Cities construction outfit.”

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