Strategy, branding and health care: Why values go beyond benevolence

Ed Stein,, reprinted with permission If the current dialog about health care reform can teach us anything, it highlights the importance of figuring out our values. We all know the importance of inside-out strategic planning (and brand development, for those who consider them separate). The enterprise values, vision, and mission (brand) should be a collective exercise. Involve as many people as possible. Hold retreats, perform exercises, play games, put the words of participants on giant sticky notes. Transform the more insightful quotes into pictures on the graphical strategy map. Include verbatims in the final deliverable. Stage-gate the process by…

Connected lessons: when should we forgive?

I connect things. I’m wired to. Sometimes it’s powerful, and sometimes it unnecessarily complicates. It can make for good integrated plans, but it can also result in tangled communications. The past few weeks have been powerful. I’ve reconnected with two long-lost friends. One's a guitarist I met while attending Berklee College of Music, the other a magazine editor I worked with for a short stint in my career. The guitarist moved back to Israel, the editor moved a few blocks away from me. The guitarist I found on Facebook, the editor I found at the neighborhood frozen custard shop. International,…

Culture eats strategy for lunch

It’s like a unknown, unmapped compound straight out the X Files. Newmont has built a community in the middle of Ghanaian nowhere for its western expat employees at Ahafo. A pristine suburbia with driveways, lawns, playgrounds, sidewalks, concrete curbs. Flower pots on porches. And a community center in the middle of it. The gathering place for middle management to vent frustrations of Denver senior leadership, share stories of near mishaps, talk about home. It was here, drinking beer and eating bar-b-queue, when a concept that’s been bouncing around in my head finally settled. (more…)

Machetes and mowers

When you’re anxious to go on a tour of an African mine site, sitting in a florescent lit room listening to presentations makes you a little jumpy and inattentive. Even so, when Jay Bastian started talking about the mowing operations at his mine, my ears perked up. (more…)