As we approach the end of 2016, we are going to present some of the most popular of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing. Today, we cover our MOST popular post ever.
In 2012, a book titled The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time was published. This book is by Verne Harnish (CEO of Gazelles) and the editors of Fortune.
As Fortune’s Brian Dumaine said:
“Once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business as well. These big decisions are counter-intuitive — they go against the conventional wisdom. In hindsight, taking a different direction may seem easy, but these bet-the-company moves involve drama, doubt, and high tension. What made Apple’s board bring back Steve Jobs to the company?”
“What motivated Henry Ford to double the wages of his autoworkers, and how did that change the American economy for the next century? Why did Intel decide to spend millions to brand a microchip? The following stories, adapted from the new book The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, provide the background to these pivotal moments. You’ll learn how these groundbreaking decisions have shaped the thinking of today’s top leaders.”
Click the image to read the introduction of the book. [Please note: Since the publication of the original post, Fortune has removed its excerpts. However, the book introduction may be accessed from Amazon. After clicking the book cover below, wait for the pages to fully load; then scroll down to the introduction (which starts at p. 27). It is VERY interesting.]
What other “big” business decisions would YOU cite besides those noted?
10 Replies to “Best Business Decisions Ever?”
A big business decision that I would cite is always the one that involves if the company needs to discontinue. This can be a very hard and stubborn time, as some CEOs have a hard time realizing that the company will not be successful. At the end of the day, more than half of small businesses fail. So an incredibly hard decision is clearly when to hang up the cleats and close down shop. Every shop owner has big dreams of glory and this dream becoming a failed reality is hard on some owners.
Insight is very important for decision making. In the company, we always follow people who have a good vision. Because of the good vision of the leader, business will run better. According to Sun Tsu’s The Art of War, a commander is one of the important element that decides whether the strategy will be successful or not. Leaders who can make the best decision are the treasure of the company.
There is no doubt that Motorola is the industry leader in the analog cellphone era. It is Motorola that invented the real cellphone. However, when the analog cellphone era shifted to the digital cellphone era, Motorola had been overtaken by Nokia. Then, when the functional cell phone era shift to smart cellphone era, Nokia has been exceeded by Apple. If the user is more concerned about who’s cell phone is more resistant from broken, then iPhone is not competitive. When cell phone was only used to make phone calls, whether it’s durable is very important. But now, the “making call” function is only a small percentage of the whole phone functions, and we change cellphones every year. Durability is no longer critical. The real challenge is identifying or even facilitating the change of customers’ needs.
It is truly hard to estimate the impact a business will have on the outside world. Most business will ultimately fail therefore you really need to be persistent and have a great idea that sparks the interest of all different people to be successful. Some times it is even takes a little bit of luck. Like mentioned above “What made Apple’s board bring back Steve Jobs”, obviously they realized he had major talent, but did they really know he would be one of the greatest innovators of all time? This I am not that sure of but it certainly was one of the greatest business decisions of all time.
It is interesting to note that this book titled The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, explores relevant decisions that changed the cores of several companies. All of these decisions were the opposite of what would typically be considered correct at the time. I would have never though that Henry Ford would have the idea of raising the factory workers salary by doubling it. This would have allowed more free money to spend on cars.
No one wants to admit it, but big business is what drives the American economy, but that is not the only thing it does. Today big business is what changes the way consumers shop and big business is, for the most part, always responsible for change and innovation within a sector. One big business that is always behind innovation and change is Amazon. One decision that I believe changed the way an entire sector works and operates was the introduction of Amazon prime. Amazon prime changed the online business industry, and ever since its inception it has made Amazon an e-commerce giant. Amazon prime made people more inclined to shop online and over the course of the past few years it has gained the loyalty and business of millions of people. Amazon prime has forced other major companies, such as Macy’s, Walmart, Target, etc., to increase their online presence, and to also provide deals to compete with Amazon.
Shifting the strategy of the whole industry is one of the marketing perspectives which determines a true leader. In most cases, these strategies may be dramatical, doubtful, and full of tensions. However, if they succeed, they change not only the established way of operation of a single company but the whole sector.
How to make the most appropriate business decision has been discussed all the time. Many factors need to be taken into consideration to make a wise decision. Top leaders need to make right decisions to change the business world and in turn the decisions they made also decide who they are.