Great Digital Companies Build Great Recommendation Engines

Harvard Business Review

Recommendation engines (or recommenders ) force organizations to fundamentally rethink how to get greater value from their data while creating greater value for their customers. “Build real recommendation engines fast” is my mission-critical recommendation to companies aspiring — or struggling — to creatively cross the digital divide. Laura Schneider for HBR.

Morning Advantage: Leaders Need Hugs Too

Harvard Business Review

Bezos has even hired a team to search the ocean for the five engines of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which he plans on returning to NASA. The Imprecise World of Accounting (CFO). Some top execs may take home eight-figure salaries these days, but I wouldn’t wish their jobs on anyone. Just take a look at these excerpts from interviews with global leaders at McKinsey Quarterly — they read like transcripts from a therapy session.

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10 Reasons Why Every Manager Should take a Finance Course

Great Leadership By Dan

The audience was mostly engineers – program and project managers, the ones in charge of designing and making complex stuff. Yes, you too can speak like a CFO! We just finished a “ Finance and Accounting for the Non-Financial Manager ” program this week for a large client. It was 3.5 days, which may seem like a lot, especially for a topic that has the potential to be deadly dry and boring. The participant’s comments and evaluations at the end of the program reminded me of why every.

"I'd Like My Life Back" -- a lesson for CEOs in building an organization that listens to warnings

Great Leadership By Dan

Yes, in these many reports will be false alarms and non-emergencies; one CFO told me that someone actually ordered a pizza on his company''s hotline.

CEO 307

An Effective Business Review Meeting?

N2Growth Blog

Another common complaint about Business Review Meetings is that nearly always the time gets hijacked with discussions on day-to-day operating or tactical issues, especially when we have a room full of engineers turned managers; they quickly dive down into trying to fix the problem right then. I had the opportunity to sit with Lewis Booth , former CFO of Ford Motor Company, who along with the senior executive team, led the successful turnaround and global repositioning of Ford.

Review 308

How Industrial Firms Invest in Renewable Energy, Affordably

Harvard Business Review

They had framing conversations with the CEO and CFO early on to discuss any financial or operational challenges. Sustainability Accounting Operations management Engineering, Construction & Infrastructure Manufacturing Digital Article

CFO 16

Why Leaders Need To Show Humility

Tanveer Naseer

The hubris displayed by Skilling, along with founder Kenneth Lay and CFO Andrew Fastow, didn’t just destroy Enron. At Boeing, Alan Mulally was hired right out of college as an engineer and went on to become its CEO before becoming the chief executive at Ford.

Kaplan 203

Let’s Stop Pushing “Development” as a Cheap Replacement for Training

Great Leadership By Dan

Sales reps were trained in their products and how to sell them, scientists went to conferences, engineers were offered continued training to keep their skills up to date, and new managers were trained how to manage. A new CFO came on board and decided that training was a luxury that could no longer be afforded. A slightly abbreviated version of this post was recently published in Smartblog on Leadership : True confession time.

Leadership and Product Management

Lead on Purpose

Here are the key roles that are crucial to your success as a product manager, and why they are important: Engineering/QA: The relationship with the engineering/development team is paramount for product managers.

B2B versus B2C Marketing Adjustments

Coaching Tip

Think about the Boeing Engineer evaluating a GE jet engine for a new airplane…a CIO evaluating a new Enterprise Resource Planning System software provider…or a CFO reviewing audit firms. . By Guest Author Sean Geehan. One of the biggest differences between B2B and B2C worlds is marketing. Many successful marketing leaders have a difficult time making the required adjustments to be successful. . For instance, let’s look at branding and positioning.

B2C 86

Nice Guys Can Finish First

Marshall Goldsmith

Who would you rather have as a CFO? And not many people remember that Jack Welch has a PhD in chemical engineering. The higher up you go – the more important your people skills become! by Marshall Goldsmith. Imagine a world where technical skills, educational pedigrees, even professional achievements and track records no longer matter. Everyone is blessed with equal brains and talent.

People Skills

Marshall Goldsmith

You don’t get to be the CFO without knowing how to count, how to read a balance sheet, and how to handle money prudently. Who would you rather have as a CFO? in engineering, but I doubt if any problems he encountered in his last 30 years at General Electric were even remotely related to these skills.

Ideas Plus Influence

Terry Starbucker

He explains, “It becomes increasingly important to have those strategic conversations with your CFO, investor relations teams, government affairs teams, strategy and corporate development teams and all key stakeholders…” It’s particularly important to seek out perspectives from people with informal or emerging power.

People Skills

Marshall Goldsmith

You don't get to be the CFO without knowing how to count, how to read a balance sheet, and how to handle money prudently. Who would you rather have as a CFO? in engineering, but I doubt if any problems he encountered in his last 30 years at General Electric were even remotely related to these skills. The reason I devote so much energy to identifying interpersonal challenges in successful people is because the higher you go, the more your problems are behavioral.

Skills 105

4 Tips for Efficient Succession Planning

Marshall Goldsmith

Following are two classic examples how succession plans may lack realism: The head of engineering is a high performing leader who has the potential to be COO. She has always been in an engineering role. The CFO is a high performing leader who has passed all the assessment criteria to be a high potential, ready-now candidate for the CEO job.

50 Ways to Leave your Lover: Keep Failing Til the Last Thing You Try Is Successful

Mills Scofield

In the early weeks we learn that our product won’t stand up to the sanitation requirements of the industry and we’re presented with real engineering problems in design and materials, but these are problems we know how to solve.

CFO 91

When It Pays to Think Like a Finance Manager

Harvard Business Review

In addition to my work as a financial trainer, I am part owner of a small manufacturing engineering company with a lot of technical employees. The two founding partners were both engineers who loved technology.

NPV 16

What It Will Take to Fix HR

Harvard Business Review

In the July/August issue of HBR , Ram Charan argues that the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) role should be eliminated, with HR responsibilities funneled in two separate directions — administration , led by traditional HR-types, reporting to the CFO; and talent strategy , led by high-potential line managers, reporting to the corner office. What would the capital markets look like today if a similar tack had been taken when the CFO role was ripe for transformation?

CFO 12

R&D Won’t Succeed If It Ignores the CEO’s Vision

Harvard Business Review

He wants engineers “innovating more on how to [design jets] more simplistically, as opposed to driving more complexity… How do you innovate to make it more producible? What would inspire the CFO or CEO to talk to investors about a major innovation underway?

CFO 16

Employee Values = Stakeholder Value

Harvard Business Review

And as a former CFO I also understand the preoccupation with numbers, but during my time as a CEO it has become clearer to me than ever, that numbers don't tell the whole story. It doesn't matter if you are an administrative assistant or a CFO; all employees need this common experience.

CFO 22

Why We Need to Update Financial Reporting for the Digital Era

Harvard Business Review

One CFO said that her valuation should be considered on a per idea basis instead of a per earnings multiple. Second, companies perform “acquihires,” — that is, the buying of a company primarily for its engineering and product design talent, instead of for its revenues or profits. One CFO commented that standard setters enjoy monopoly power and have no incentives to change their methods to be more responsive to investors. Martin Konopka/EyeEm/Getty Images.


Why We’re Seeing So Many Corporate Scandals

Harvard Business Review

While mid-tier executives and engineers “pulled the trigger” to design Volkswagen engines that responded falsely to emissions tests, Ferdinand Piech and Martin Winterkorn’s demands of win-at-all-costs performance and the absence of appropriate procedural safeguards enabled – even encouraged – them to do so.

CFO 14

Mary Barra and the New General Motors

Harvard Business Review

An engineer with a diemaker father who worked in a Pontiac plant, Barra is a 33-year company veteran. Barra began her career at the old GM as a young student engineer. Little did any of us know then, but two of the world’s most powerful future CEOs – the future heads of Fortune 20 companies — were getting their engineering training at General Motors Institute — Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, and Mary Barra. It is now official. Girls like cars.

How to Transform a Traditional Giant into a Digital One

Harvard Business Review

Three years later, GE hired veteran software engineer Ganesh Bell to be chief digital officer of GE Power and Water. Domain expertise at an automaker includes things like mechanics, telematics, structural engineering, design, and so on.

Uber Is Finally Realizing HR Isn’t Just for Recruiting

Harvard Business Review

Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer at Uber, recently wrote about her “very, very strange year at Uber,” characterized by a pervasive culture of alleged sexual harassment. Employees and other constituents should expect HR to hold leaders accountable for fiduciary and strategic risks, just as a CFO would be expected to hold leaders accountable for a risky pattern of using corporate funds or resources.

It???s Time to Retool HR, Not Split It

Harvard Business Review

Retooling HR makes organization leaders smarter by applying their existing sophistication about finance, engineering, operations and marketing to HR and talent decisions. It does require that leaders reach across functional boundaries, but thats different than simply placing compensation and benefits under the CFO. Lets be clear. Ram Charans recommendation is wrong.

Case Study: Can You Fix a Toxic Culture Without Firing People?

Harvard Business Review

Water, no ice, please,” said Noelle Freeman, the CFO of Franklin Climate Systems. Franklin was in the business of designing, engineering, and manufacturing climate control systems for cars and SUVs. As CFO, Noelle was, of course, concerned about the numbers.

How to Kill Quarterly Earnings Guidance

Harvard Business Review

Earnings guidance attracts investors focused on the short-term, and tempts executives to engineer quarterly earnings to meet the expectations that they have issued. Quarterly earnings guidance has outlived its usefulness. There are instances when it might be perfectly legitimate and value enhancing to issue earnings guidance in an effort to inform the market about material disruptions, shifts in the business model etc.,

The C-Suite Needs a Chief Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

You produce growth engines with calculated bets, not “wild-ass gambles.” You do not work for the CEO, or alongside the CTO, CIO, and CFO. The best CEOs are excellent at growing and running a company within a known business model.

CTO 16

IT Doesn't Matter (to CEOs)

Harvard Business Review

They resist getting their hands dirty alongside the CIO, even though many of them will readily get down into the mud of a balance sheet with the CFO or strategize the details of global brand issues with the CMO.

CIO 16

The Game Buyers Play with Vendors

Harvard Business Review

Throughout the process, Bill was never allowed to meet with the decision maker, the CFO. Consider a sales engineer I'll call Martha Williams, who worked for a process-control design firm. Selling isn't as fun as it used to be.

Price 22

Case Study: Should You Adjust Your Business Model for a Major Customer?

Harvard Business Review

” Andrew Lowell, Lumiscape’s CFO, had thought it was a mistake to move exclusively to contracts. He clearly had a strong opinion on this, as any good CFO would. “There’s another one!”

Overcome Your Biases and Build a Great Team

Harvard Business Review

in January 1968 as a young 22-year old with $8 in his pocket and an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Bombay. I had an unlikely journey to the top. Born in India, I arrived in the U.S.

TSR 16

Win at Workplace Conflict

Harvard Business Review

The hospital CFO was not interested in funding a mammography service that would generate unreimbursed care while the university was raising debt to build a new campus.

CFO 16

What If Google Had a Hedge Fund?

Harvard Business Review

The world's biggest and fastest search engine can't help but generate terabytes and petabytes of actionable investment intelligence. In fact, Google chief economist Hal Varian (and other economists and forecasters) already use the search engine's data and analytics to predict economic futures. Google's Sergey Brin knows a multibillion investment opportunity when he sees one.

Hedge 15

Does Your CEO Really Get Data Security?

Harvard Business Review

How about this, the boardroom version of Sophie''s Choice: "Who would you rather fire, the CFO or the CSO?". Have you ever pondered what you''d ask the CEO if you were made chairman of the board for 10 minutes and could pose one question? You''d want to make it count.

CFO 17

Today's CIO Needs to Be the Chief Innovation Officer

Harvard Business Review

A few weeks ago, I was a keynote speaker at a large international technology conference and one of the demonstrations to illustrate game-changing technology involved using an iPad and a high-speed connection to fully control three of the most powerful workstations engineers have access to.

CIO 16

Data Can Do for Change Management What It Did for Marketing

Harvard Business Review

Banks and lenders have predictive analytics engines that tell the lender the probability that a customer will pay them back. This makes it difficult to justify investment in change management with the rigor that a data-driven CEO or CFO might expect. Neasden Control Centre for HBR. Business in the 21st century is being redefined by a data-driven revolution.

How One Family Business Found Its Sweet Spot

Harvard Business Review

When we looked closely at the numbers, we found that only 15% of the jobs bid in the last several years fit the sweet spot, the win rate for these jobs was near 50% (compared to a loss rate of about 80% for jobs outside the sweet spot), the average operating margin for jobs inside the sweet spot were twice as high as those outside it, and 70% of the company''s engineering resources were going into bids that the company either lost or completed at very low (or even negative) profitability.

COO 12

Scaling Customer Service as Your Startup Grows

Harvard Business Review

Don’t let your engineers hack together workarounds that will need to be maintained down the road; provide real engineering solutions to the types of problems new software has. Play your “founder card” for this person, it will empower them to advocate to engineering to fix recurring bugs and usability issues, push back on sales if (when) they keep selling bad fit customers, and argue with marketing about how to represent the product.

Getting Past a Career Setback: An Example and a Test

Harvard Business Review

Eventually her team ended up with a portfolio of investments that caught the attention of the CFO and CEO because some were bringing new technologies into the company’s supply chain, and others were hinting at new business models for engaging with customers. Managers often think about their careers in terms of winning and losing. Winners ascend the corporate ladder and get the praise, recognition, bonuses, and top jobs.

How AI Helped One Retailer Reach New Customers

Harvard Business Review

The marketing team was getting lost in attribution, pulling the same search engine marketing levers, talking to the same audiences, and creating the same campaigns with diminishing returns. Albert’s results have been so impressive to date that Simson is now encouraging RedBalloon’s CFO to think in a very different way about the marketing budget. Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images.

Five Questions Companies Should Ask Before Making an Innovation-Driven Acquisition

Harvard Business Review

Terra Networks agreed to buy internet search-engine leader Lycos in 2000 for $12.5 Interestingly, Dominic Caruso also came with the deal for that small biotech company, and he is now the pharma giant's CFO. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is nothing if not determined in its quest to acquire Illumina, the San Diego-based leader in genetic-sequencing equipment. In January, after Illumina's board rebuffed Roche's initial overtures, Roche made a $5.7