Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Executives and Management (Theory)

The Zambian Economist at the Crossroads of Global Business

The Zambian Economist at the Crossroads of Global Business

Business
Absolutely. I was born and raised in one of the poorest countries in the world and one that unfortunately remains so today. So I’m genuinely trying to find out the solution. Rather than say, “Growth is inherently the problem,” I actually think the manner in which we have created growth has been the problem. The reality is public policymakers have been using shortcuts to fuel growth, such as debt, such as a society that rewards capital more than it does labor, such as a lack of appreciation of the global picture. It’s sort of every nation for itself, and that results in a situation where you end up with public policymakers focusing on short-term solutions, and a decoupling between long-term economic imperatives and policies that will help win short-term elections. We are too focused on the ...

The C.E.O. Other C.E.O.s Turn to for Advice

Business
For companies, that means three things. First, we have to acknowledge the mental and emotional stress of people and provide resources and support and recognize that just because we’re experiencing the same pandemic, that doesn’t mean we’re having the same experience. Second, we need to find ways to bring more flexibility to work life, and not assume face time or travel time is equivalent to output and value creation. And third, we need to get people back together and we need to build connections. It just feels better when you can be with colleagues. Companies that fail on those three dimensions are really in a very vulnerable position regarding their work force.Beyond all that, what are the factors you believe are contributing to the labor shortage?It’s a robust economy, and people are bul...
Brick-and-Mortar Retail in the Age of Covid, and Amazon

Brick-and-Mortar Retail in the Age of Covid, and Amazon

Business
Brick-and-mortar retailers have been decimated in recent years. First came Amazon. Then the pandemic.Yet even as giant shopping malls are dying and many storefronts are shuttered, the big box stores that anchor strip malls throughout the exurbs are enjoying something of a renaissance. Companies like Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Home Depot have managed to hang on, and even thrive. Add to that list another, somewhat unlikely, entrant: Kohl’s.The retailer, which sells clothes, home wares, sporting goods and more, is hanging on against the odds. Just where Kohl’s fits in isn’t always clear. It’s smaller than a department store, but has many of the same offerings. Its stores are often near Walmarts, but feature more mainstream brands.Since taking over as Kohl’s chief executive in 2018, M...
The ‘Hedonistic Altruism’ of Plant-Based Meat

The ‘Hedonistic Altruism’ of Plant-Based Meat

Business
Not everyone is so convinced that plant-based burgers are healthy. I mentioned Beyond burgers the other day and someone started talking about all the chemicals.If you were to list out the chemical composition of organic Kobe beef it would be a superlong list of really long, complicated words that most of us couldn’t pronounce. All the amino acids, all the different lactic acids, all of the components that go into having a piece of muscle stay together in an animal’s body. We don’t have the luxury of just saying “plant-based beef.” So we have to list out our ingredients. But it’s not like there’s more ingredients in ours than there is in actual muscle if you break down the chemistry.We have a very large, incumbent industry that knows this is a big issue for us. There was a full-page ad in T...
How Freelancing Is Changing Work

How Freelancing Is Changing Work

Business
Hayden Brown grew up with parents who were out to change the world. Her mother worked on women’s empowerment issues, and her father helped develop a national park in the Himalayas. For a time, the family lived in Nepal.“It really instilled in me the value of spending one’s life doing work that has a real impact on others,” she said. “To this day, that is my parents’ ethos.”Ms. Brown wanted to make a difference, too, but resolved to do it in the private sector rather than in the nonprofit world. That led her to the consultant McKinsey & Company, and ultimately to Upwork, a site that matches freelancers with employers. Ms. Brown joined the company 10 years ago, and became chief executive in January 2020, just as the pandemic hit.To hear Ms. Brown tell it, Upwork is making the world a bet...
The Tao of Snoop Dogg

The Tao of Snoop Dogg

Business
We should be able to have some of our people — that look like me — as executives, as C.E.O.s, as platform owners. You know, the top of the chain, not just the spokesperson or the brand ambassador. We need to be the brand owners.Is that part of the reason you’re involved in the business?I helped make this business famous before it became legal. The forefathers were the ones before me. The jazz musicians, the Bob Marleys, the Cheech and Chongs, the Willie Nelsons. All of those guys laid the foundation down. I just continued what they were doing and put a little bit more spice on. I’m still paying respect to them, and knowing that this is a love branch. Cannabis, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, is all about love and bringing people together.Is the issue of trying to close the Black w...
Hubert Joly Turned Around Best Buy. Now He’s Trying to Fix Capitalism.

Hubert Joly Turned Around Best Buy. Now He’s Trying to Fix Capitalism.

Business
What was the moment when you realized that the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t working?My journey on this dates back to the early ’90s. When I started at Best Buy, the basic advice from investors and management was cut, cut, cut. Close stores. Fire everybody. We did the opposite. We listened to the frontliners. We treated head-count reduction as a last resort. So the philosophy was there from the beginning.If you think about business by first thinking about how you want to be remembered as a human being, most of us gravitate to the golden rule — doing something good to our people. If you can connect that desire in your heart with the way you run the business, the employees will love the company. The customers will love the company.What were some of the obstacles you encountered as y...
‘Our Menu Is Very Darwinian.’ Leading McDonald’s in 2021.

‘Our Menu Is Very Darwinian.’ Leading McDonald’s in 2021.

Business
Any of the topics that are going on today from a from a social standpoint — inequality issues, education issues, opioids, etc. — we are asked to opine on all of them. One of the things that I’ve had to think about is, where do we speak up on an issue, and where do we not speak up? The way we’ve looked at it is: Is it either directly in our industry — which is an obvious one that we would comment on — or does it go specifically to the pillars that we’ve said are going to matter to us? So we’ve talked about jobs and opportunity. We’ve talked about helping communities in crisis. We’ve talked about planet. And we’ve talked about supporting local farmers and ranchers. Those are the areas that we’ve said are specific to our business where we feel like we’ve got a role to play. If it’s outside of...
Sundar Pichai Faces Internal Criticism at Google

Sundar Pichai Faces Internal Criticism at Google

Technology
OAKLAND, Calif. — The seeds of a company’s downfall, it is often said in the business world, are sown when everything is going great.It is hard to argue that things aren’t going great for Google. Revenue and profits are charting new highs every three months. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is worth $1.6 trillion. Google has rooted itself deeper and deeper into the lives of everyday Americans.But a restive class of Google executives worry that the company is showing cracks. They say Google’s work force is increasingly outspoken. Personnel problems are spilling into the public. Decisive leadership and big ideas have given way to risk aversion and incrementalism. And some of those executives are leaving and letting everyone know exactly why.“I keep getting asked why did I leave now? I thin...
Carol Tomé, the C.E.O. of UPS, on Voting Rights and Vaccine Delivery

Carol Tomé, the C.E.O. of UPS, on Voting Rights and Vaccine Delivery

Business
How did you move from the Milton Friedman perspective to the stakeholder view?It’s been happening over years, but it really did start during the last recession, the housing crisis, when I was at Home Depot. I saw the power of investing in our people and really thinking of them as investments, not expenses. I saw the power of taking care of them during a time of trouble, and how committed they were to the company, and how hard they actually worked to create a great experience for the customer.It was like a flywheel. Our people were happy. Our customers were happy. The experience was great. And we were creating a lot of sales and profit, which allowed us to then return some of that to shareholders in the form of dividends.From a climate perspective, I think I’m maybe more sensitive than some...