August 26, 2002
I enjoyed “Only the Paranoid Survive” a lot more than I thought I would. I really thought the concept of strategic inflection points was basic to management. Also 10x forces.
I was surprised by Grove’s explanation of how to become aware of these points and the 10x forces underlying them - staying in touch with middle managers and those on the front lines. I was not expecting Grove, as CEO of a technology not customer-service company, to say that.
But that is another important reason why the CEO should be accessible to every employee - or it is a more concise statement of why - because while CEOs have a better sense of the total picture, frontline workers can see what’s going on in less granular time.
I also visited Wal-Mart yesterday. I was not blown away by their customer service. But maybe service is something that really comes into play when there’s a problem and therefore companies must generally distinguish themselves on some other basis and back it up with great service.
I also like Grove’s analysis of the actions of many managers facing a crisis - denial and an attempt to focus on something else. Could this be something that is happening at HP? That the CPQ merger was an attempt for Fiorina to distract herself from the fact that HP is not competitive in the face of Dell?
It is important to look carefully at every emerging change because if it is handled properly it can really b ea great oppportunity for stunning growth - look at Welch’s restructuring of GE in anticipation (far) of foreign competition, commoditization, etc.