Why Your Company Should Use the Kickstarter Model to Innovate

Harvard Business Review

Impulse patronage" looks and feels like impossibility to anyone who isn''t a manager with a cash-flow-positive P&L and the courage to take a chance.

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Women Who Sell Get Promoted

Harvard Business Review

After all, sales experience feeds the types of line jobs — where individuals have P&L accountability — that are a pipeline to the C-suite. It's no great revelation that women have exceptional selling instincts.

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Trending Sources

Women, Finance the World You Want

Harvard Business Review

But if women don't feel comfortable handling their own money, it's unlikely that they'll feel comfortable handling a P&L for their firm — and if you don't feel comfortable with P&L responsibility, you're not going to make it to the top ranks of management. Women are gaining financial independence to an unprecedented degree — they now make up the majority of college graduates, are nearly half of the labor force and are becoming the primary earners in many households.

P&L 5

Your Career Needs to Be Horizontal

Harvard Business Review

Look," he said, "I currently have 10,000 people reporting to me and responsibility for the largest P&L in the company. Like it or not, most of us think about career success in terms of moving up the hierarchy. Let me illustrate with a story: I once worked with the new CEO of a well-known global firm which was barely breaking even. The CEO's mandate from the board was to improve profitability.

P&L 5

Corporate Strategy Is a Fool's Errand

Harvard Business Review

These four divisions set their own strategy — e.g. the business strategy for engineering services, the strategy for elevators, et cetera — and have their own management teams and P&L.

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Don't Let Your Career "Just Happen"

Harvard Business Review

In others, they lack the critical experiences or skills required to take the next step, such as an international assignment, high-risk project, or major P&L responsibility. We all know The Statistic: Only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. But the gender split in mid-level management is now nearly even. While women have made progress in being recognized as managers, why aren''t they making it to the top?

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Successfully Integrate Your Work, Life, Self, and Community

Harvard Business Review

David is a VP accountable for a multibillion-dollar P&L. You can be a committed A-player executive, a good parent, an attentive spouse, and a healthy person with time for community engagement and hobbies. How on earth do you do all that? Stop juggling and start integrating. Begin with a clear view of what you want from — and can contribute to — each domain of your life (work, home, community, and self).

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Strategy Essentials You Ignore at Your Peril

Harvard Business Review

If you have a competitive advantage, it will show up on your P&L. Michael Porter, the world's leading authority on competition and strategy, is sometimes the victim of his own success. We use his terminology every day — competitive advantage, the value chain, differentiation, value creation. We think, therefore, that we "know" his work. But in fact, most managers don't. They talk the talk, but they have turned his powerful ideas into business buzzwords.

Should You Share a Room on a Business Trip?

Harvard Business Review

Every manager has a P&L that he or she is responsible for," he says, "and while we don''t make sharing rooms a hard and fast rule, it''s our sense that when people have their own budgets and ownership for their profits, they''ll continue to operate that way.".

Three Diversity "Best Practices" That Hurt Women

Harvard Business Review

Our annual Global Gender balance Scorecard shows that 63% of the women sitting on Executive Committees of the top 100 US companies are in support functions, not P&L roles. The issue of gender balance in corporations often seems unnecessarily complicated.

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You Can't Impress Stock Analysts.and Shouldn't Try

Harvard Business Review

keep hearing from top executives at large, profitable companies that they're under "P&L pressure." ExxonMobil reported last week that its net income reached $10.3 billion.in just the third quarter. The oil giant is arguably the most profitable corporation in history. Ten billion in three months is historic, but as the New York Times reported, " analysts were not impressed.". Is there a better distillation of the serious problem with our economic system?

The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Legacy of Steve Jobs

Harvard Business Review

Place product experience first, not P&L. Jobs considers P&L to be a distraction. According to Fortune Magazine , only one executive at the firm — the CFO — has P&L responsibility. Since Steve Jobs' resignation as CEO at Apple last week, there has been much concern, discussion , and hand-wringing in the business world. To many, Jobs is a once-in-a-lifetime genius whose success can't be replicated or continued.

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How Retailers Can Appeal to Lower-Income Shoppers

Harvard Business Review

These lower-income shoppers think like savvy CFOs and are willing to pay more for categories that provide a usage benefit as well as a variety of economic benefits for their own "household P&L.". Retailers must understand the role that a particular category plays not only in its shoppers' lives but also in its shoppers' financial context and their household P&L. This blog post is part of the HBR Online Forum The Future of Retail.

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How IBM's Sam Palmisano Redefined the Global Corporation

Harvard Business Review

He was comfortable making smart bets to position IBM for decades-long growth, such as creating the Emerging Business Organization to incubate new businesses and shield them from P&L pressures. In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so.

The $2,000 Car

Harvard Business Review

Local Growth Teams (LGTs) must have P&L responsibility (this is a key hurdle for American multinationals). Increasingly, Western companies are developing products in countries like China and India, and then distributing them globally. For example, GE developed an ultra-low-cost ultrasound for rural China which is now marketed in over 100 countries. Logitech developed an affordable mouse for the China market which sells for (the Chinese equivalent of) $19.99

It's Harder than Ever to Be a Senior Executive

Harvard Business Review

The CIO has to know what's going on in finance and marketing, for instance, and P&L experience is important even for support functions like human resources. The job of the senior executive is much more complicated today than it was a decade or two ago — and that trend will continue, especially if you hope to play on a global stage (which is a nearly universal condition these days for many companies). Here are five reasons. Soft skills are more important than ever.

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Case Study: When to Drop an Unprofitable Customer

Harvard Business Review

These deductions, which totaled 12% of sales, had previously been collapsed into a single line item in the P&L for each customer. Jane's smug expression said clearly, "Add this to your P&L, Tommy.". Editor's Note: This fictionalized case study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, along with commentary from experts and readers.

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Top 10 Green Business Stories of 2011

Harvard Business Review

Valuing and internalizing the externalities: Puma Calculates its Environmental P&L. It's unclear what companies can do with these numbers since externalities are by their nature, well, external to the regular P&L. Yes, it's December again somehow: time to look back on what we've learned and oversimplify into a handy list. Here's my take on the 10 big stories in sustainability and green business this year: The usual sustainability drivers got stronger.

One Microsoft. Four Ways to Integrate Fiefdoms.

Harvard Business Review

The first is to get various functional silos and P&L centers sharply aligned with the specifics of customer requirements. One Ford. One Apple. Now one Microsoft. Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a restructuring designed to unite the organization behind a single strategy and create high-value experiences for their customers. Many more organizational structure changes are likely to come.

Top 10 Sustainable Business Stories of 2012

Harvard Business Review

Puma, after making last year's list with it's Environmental P&L, kept the momentum going and announced a new "InCycle" collection with biodegradable sneakers and shirts, and recyclable jackets and backpacks. It's time once again to try and summarize the last 12 months in a handy list.

Scaling Is Hard. Here's How Akamai Did It.

Harvard Business Review

Look at the (quite ugly) P&L for Akamai in 1999 and 2000 — costly mistakes were made, but ultimately enabled the company to scale as rapidly as it did: Scaling Akamai — Part 2: From Product to Platform. I have been thinking lately about how hard it is to scale start-ups.

Is It Heresy to Make Salespeople Pay Their Expenses? An HBR Management Puzzle

Harvard Business Review

My kind of expense approach can help the sales force develop their awareness and skills at P&L management, and that in turn might allow us in the future to peg incentives not only to volume but to profitability of sales.

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Microsoft Taxes Itself

Harvard Business Review

And more recently, athletic apparel company Puma (working with my colleagues at PwC and the UK's TruCost) produced an " environmental P&L " which measured the "real" cost of carbon and other environmental inputs like water. This week, Microsoft is announcing an unusual initiative that it hopes will change how the company operates: an internal fee on carbon.

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The 787's Problems Run Deeper Than Outsourcing

Harvard Business Review

If you've done it too soon and tried to modularize parts of an unsolved puzzle across suppliers, then each time one of those unanticipated problems or interdependencies arises, you have to cross corporate boundaries to make the necessary changes — changes which could dramatically impact the P&L of a supplier. The 787 Dreamliner was supposed to be a big jump forward for Boeing — notably, the first plane to be made entirely of composites rather than aluminum.

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Why Verizon's iPhone Could Be Good for AT&T

Harvard Business Review

A consumer P&L is a powerful tool in the face of a competitive threat, as it enables them to proactively lock up their most valuable Super Consumers and avoid expensive over-reactions to losing Divas and Deal Chasers. We would expect the consumer P&L for the Super Consumer portion of the top 6% of data hogs to be much more attractive than the P&L for the Diva/Deal Chaser.

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Microsoft's Skype Deal: How to Make it Work

Harvard Business Review

P&L organizations are typically designed to tightly link a product's cost to its revenues but they also stifle flexible thinking — about how to grow users independent of revenue, or how to get revenue from sources other than price. If this winds up recasting P&L responsibilities and incentives toward pay product managers, Microsoft may lose free product users as it begins to appear advantageous to ignore them in favor of customers for pay products.

Bring Back the General Manager

Harvard Business Review

Here are several ideas: Turn discrete customer segments or geographies into P&L units by giving managers the ability to "purchase" centralized services, and the accountability for achieving profitability targets. Have you noticed that general managers are scarce these days? These are the executives who run discrete businesses and control all of the resources associated with them. But in many large companies, the only true general manager is the CEO.

Educate Everyone About Second-Generation Gender Bias

Harvard Business Review

I look around and see that my male colleagues have P&L responsibility and most of us are in staff roles.

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Sell More with Smarter Trade Promotions

Harvard Business Review

Trade promotion is often the single biggest line item in a manufacturer's P&L. One of the most difficult conversations a salesperson can have is with retail customers about trade promotion. The reason: there's big money at stake.

ROI 0

Silver Linings for 2012

Harvard Business Review

Employees (and the more enlightened leaders I know) are realizing that happiness doesn't have much to do with endless "growth" or P&L sheets; it has much more to do with employees' personal fulfillment, if only for a few moments, each day at work and in life. If you pay attention to workplace surveys, the news sounds pretty bad.

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Warren Buffett's 2010 Shareholder Letter: What to Expect

Harvard Business Review

Berkshire's talented managers get the P&L independence to run their own businesses. This Saturday, Feb. 26, many thousands of people around the world will download Warren Buffett's 2010 shareholder letter. His pronouncements, like those of the past , will be scrutinized to divine the direction of the economy and Berkshire Hathaway, a multibillion-dollar enterprise he built from a failing New England textile business.

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Why Face-to-Face Meetings Make All the Difference

Harvard Business Review

By breaking down the geographic and psychological borders between subsidiaries and involving all of our senior managers in a regular, rigorous business analysis of each operation, we created a team that felt a sense of ownership not just of their P&L, but of the entire company. [For more, visit the Communication Insight Center.]. In today's economy, where the fast growth of emerging markets outpaces America and the developed world, if you haven't gone global yet, it's time to get moving.

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Quotas for Women on Boards are Wrong

Harvard Business Review

To do that, we need to promote women into roles where they can gain the relevant experience: running a P&L, leading a company, delivering performance numbers, leading transformational initiatives, and managing risk. One thing I learned before I became a director is that there are an abundance of board readiness events for newbies like me. Since there are so many, I recently chose to go to one that had four impressive women who had served on a mix of non-profit and corporate boards.

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Case Study: The Gentleman's 3

Harvard Business Review

The best way to evaluate an employee is to look at his unit's P&L. If there's no relevant P&L, you're pretty much flying blind.". Editors' Note: This fictionalized case study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, along with commentary from experts and readers. It is based on the HBS Case Study "Compensation and Performance Evaluation at Arrow Electronics" (case no. 800290), by Brian J. Hall and Carleen Madigan. It is available at hbr.org.

Where Will You Be in Five Years?

Harvard Business Review

Saying you want P&L responsibility in five years when you have no such ambitions may land you the job, but ultimately will you be happy? Brian was a highly ambitious senior executive; as the SVP of Commercial Payment Solutions, he held full P&L responsibility. Most people have been asked that perennial, and somewhat annoying, question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Case Study: Time for a Unified Campaign?

Harvard Business Review

You're responsible for your own P&L, just like all the other hotel managers, and that includes promotional spending of any kind. Editors' Note: This fictionalized case study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, along with commentary from experts and readers. If you'd like your comment to be considered for publication, please be sure to include your full name, company or university affiliation and email address. Welcome, welcome."