Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/1/16

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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 Amgen, Wells Fargo, Belk, Keurig, and The Sauce King.

From Patrick Litré and Ivan Hindshaw: The Chief Energy Creator

“When Amgen launched an effort to transform its performance in 2013, the company braced for a rough ride. Most people, after all, view transformation as corporate code for layoffs and cost cutting—a way for management to impose its will on the organization. Decisions tend to come down from on high with little real input from below. Sometimes the change is good, but it is always disruptive and unsettling. The whole process tends to be a massive energy burn. In Amgen’s case, it didn’t turn out that way”

From Wharton: How Wells Fargo is Reaching the Digital Customer

“Banks today are seeing their businesses disrupted by fintech – startups offering mobile payments, loans, virtual currencies and the like. To compete with digital startups and meet the heightened expectations of customers who want 24/7 access, engagement and security, Wells Fargo is actively bridging the gap between its cyber and physical operations. Jamie Moldafsky, the bank’s chief marketing officer, spoke about the company’s digital efforts”

From Katherine Peralta: Belk CEO Tim Belk to retire, ending 128 years with family member at the helm

“Tim Belk, CEO of the Charlotte-based retail chain that bears his name, is retiring in July – ending 128 years of day-to-day family leadership of a company that grew from a shop in Monroe to the biggest department store chain in America.”

From Vijay Govindarajan: What Innovative Companies Can Learn from Keurig’s Highs and Lows

“Continuously reinventing your organization doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch with each new innovation. Exploring new opportunities is an incremental process that begins with sensitivity to changes in the broader environment. These changes, often unclear and barely perceptible, foreshadow new trends in human behavior, technology, and demographics. Futurists call them ‘weak signals.'”

From Steve Jagler: The ‘Sauce King’ has recipe for retail success

“The grocery shopper was given one Saturday afternoon assignment by his spouse: Bring home the ingredients needed to make a spaghetti dinner. His cart fills up with the basics, including pasta sauce, onions, garlic cloves, mushrooms, noodles, Parmesan cheese and ground beef. As he prepares to leave the meat department, the shopper encounters a card table that was set up moments earlier by Dennis Elert. On the table is a cup full of tiny plastic spoons and a bowl full of red pasta sauce. The shopper samples the sauce. ‘It’s the best sauce you’ll find. It’s made right here in Wisconsin,’ Elert says to the shopper, who promptly replaces the store brand pasta sauce in his cart with a jar of Elert’s sauce.”

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