Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/8/16

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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 Urban Outfitters, Harman International, Shake Shack, iPark, and Nestlé.

From Suzette Parmley: Urban Outfitters doubles down on big stores as competitors cut back on space

“The moves in recent months have burnished the company’s reputation as a rebel in the retail world.”

From Wharton: How Audio Giant Harman Broke Down Silos to Spark Innovation

“Noted turnaround specialist Dinesh Paliwal is transforming Harman International, an audio solutions company behind such iconic brands as Harman/Kardon, JBL and others. As Harman’s chairman, president and CEO, his mission in the digital age has been to transform the company from a founder-run, top-down culture to one that is customer-centric and driven by innovation. Paliwal has instituted major changes, including breaking down silos, adopting elements of a startup culture and setting up internal crowdsourcing — all with a relentless focus on reinventing the business. Innovation, he says, is not just about breakthrough scientific ideas. It’s about processes, too, such as making customer service better and running projects more efficiently in a new way.”

From Samantha Bomkamp: Shake Shack expansion: 5 questions with CEO Randy Garutti

“Shake Shack is growing at warp speed, but its chief executive says controlled expansion is the key to keeping the company strong in the long term.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Bourree Lam: What It’s Like to Preside Over a Small Empire of Parking Garages

“Bill Lerner runs more than 100 parking garages in New York City. Lerner’s father started his parking-garage business in the 1960s in lower Manhattan, and eventually, Lerner inherited the business, which is now called iPark and scaled it up in size. I talked to Lerner about what it’s like running a parking garage and the parking industry more generally. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Michelle Gerdes: Why Nestlé Was So Quick to Hire an Outsider CEO

“Nestlé surprised the business world this week when it announced a new CEO. The Swiss candy and snacks company did not name the new boss from within the ranks of its top executives, as is common at long-established corporate giants. And it looked far beyond the confines of the food industry. Ulf Mark Schneider, the new CEO, had previously served as CEO of European healthcare company Fresenius, which specializes in treating kidney disease.”

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