Fast Start — Too Big to Succeed

Fast Start conversation:  Big companies can spread fixed costs across a larger base.  Big company capability to spread costs means better shareholder, financial performance. Large companies benefit from scale.  Or so it is said. CFO.com’s Too Big to Succeed revealed 748, large companies delivered median annualized total shareholder returns of 2.7%. Size matters, but not compared to small companies who, over the same time, delivered median annualized total shareholder returns of 9.7%. Are investors better off as small company shareholders rather than large company shareholders?

Darth Vader, conference table, Toby Elwin, blog, social metrics, matter, boss

Social metrics that matter to your boss

A business case usually relies on numbers.  Numbers to justify the investment, numbers to project the return on investment, and numbers to compare against other investment opportunities. Numbers that matter, matter differently dependent on the view of the person you talk to. Certainly social media, or social software, numbers rely on us to know our boss and know their need and understand what their need for numbers is to evaluate success. Recently, I went to Google for a social media metrics search and came across a good article to share for two reasons.  But, context really, my search spurred from discussion with someone who asked what metrics do I need to make a business case for social media success to my C-level?  Making dumb, data-driven decisions is not a wise career move. I had not been asked to make a data-driven business …

human capital, risk assessment, weight, tangible, intangible, Toby Elwin, risk

Evaluating risk: financial models versus competency models, part 1

We make models to get an idea, on a small-scale, of what might happen on a large-scale.  Models help identify risk and attempt to predict outcomes.  Many use models to then run scenarios or alternatives to identify what could or should be.  Models then become a map for many management discussions as models provide options and a business without options is on borrowed time. No model is, or ever will be, 100% accurate or predictive.  Even with 100% of the information available, models can not predict the future, models can only guide business discussions and inform. I like to advocate that models move our discussions from a personal (emotional) case to a business (rational) case. One of the simplest reasons, other than the human condition called error, that models are not and will never be 100% accurate is time.  Time is the most …

human resources, foreign, language

Business as a foreign language for HR professionals

Today in Human Resource Executive Online I eagerly read a post titled Is Business a Foreign Language for HR? Anyone who has seen or read my blogs knows, I’m pretty insistent that human resources (HR) to include organization development, organization behavior, training, diversity, compensation, does not deserve a place at the table until HR understands the essentials of business:  finance and sales. The article brought a deeper perspective: According to Dave Ulrich, “we have consistently found that knowing business is not as highly ranked as a predictor of HR effectiveness.” Much more important in determining an HR executive’s effectiveness is whether the individual is viewed as a “credible activist” — someone who offers a point of view, takes a position, and challenges assumptions. They practice HR with an attitude, and are able to influence others. The article brought to light something new …

5 reasons human resources hurt consumer brands

Every person connected to your organization is in sales and marketing.  Each interaction anyone connected to your company, your government agency, your non-profit, or your university has with the anyone is an interaction with your brand. Every interaction with a vendor, supplier, or competitor is as important as an interaction with a potential customer.  At each touch point, your organization sells your organization’s values; each and every time. But what does this have to do with human resources?  Traditionally?  Nothing.  But today, everything.  And to bring this into a more clear picture, think on this:  every job applicant or potential employee your organization deals represents a potential customer or potential former customer. If you believe this, then your entire candidate tracking program should be treated as importantly as your sales people treat their sales pipeline or customer relationship management. A …

CSI, Gary Sinese, music industry crime, Toby Elwin, blog

CSI Music Industry — Part 1: The Crime Scene

First in a series of investigations [more like a cold case, see update below] around the music industry record business death and the music industry crime scene worthy of a CSI drama. Background: I went to Berklee College of Music as a conducting and arranging major. I switched my major to music business mid-way when I discovered how lawyers and accountants make the major decisions about the music I heard. I wanted to change that from a performer perspective. I worked three years in the record business and became convinced something was wrong with the record business model (1989-92). When I thought about a career in the record industry and my ability to advance being tied to a degree in law, not business, I became a bit more skeptical.  I did not want that route. I projected what I might …