Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 6/19/15

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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 Elon Musk, Campbell Soup, Korn Ferry, Restoration Hardware, and Zara.

From Phanish Puranamand Nirmalya Kumar: Elon Musk, Frugal Engineer

“Tesla’s game-changing batteries for the home are a page straight out of India’s frugal engineering playbook.”

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Campbell Soup wants to be known for more than canned chicken noodle

“Campbell Soup Co.’s classic condensed soups — cream of chicken noodle, cream of mushroom and tomato — are still the company’s best-selling products. But as soup consumption declines in the U.S. and traditional packaged goods are increasingly villianized, Campbell’s iconic offerings aren’t the focus of the company’s growth plans.”

From the Economist: From headhunters to culture vultures

“Like its competitors, Korn Ferry has been buoyed by the stronger American economy. According to Hunt Scanlon Media, a trade publisher, the industry’s revenues in America rose by 11% last year. Its core business faces fierce headwinds, however. LinkedIn and other career-networking websites are making it easier for companies to do their own recruiting: JPMorgan Chase now has almost 500 executive recruiters of its own. As a result of this trend, Korn Ferry collected less revenue from searches last year than in 2008. Instead, its growth has come from pushing into new areas of business. Korn Ferry has bought a host of firms that aim to improve workforce performance even when there is no vacancy to fill.”

From Crain’s Chicago Business: Restoration Hardware’s CEO: ‘It’s not about the Internet’

“Restoration Hardware isn’t interested in investing money in its online store. Rather, the home furnishing retailer is plopping down huge flagship stores—which it calls ‘next-generation design galleries’—in major markets across North America, including one planned for Chicago.”

From Ashley Lutz: This clothing company whose CEO is richer than Warren Buffett is blowing the competition out of the water

“Inditex, the fast-fashion retailer’s parent company based in Spain, recently said profits in the first quarter jumped by a whopping 28%. Sales were up by an impressive 14%”

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