Business Strategy, Decisive Management, and Success
An Article Written for the Euro-Horizon Magazine
By Dr. John Psarouthakis
Founder and President, JPManagementCenter, llc
Adj. Professor of Business Administration (ret.), School of Business, University of Michigan, and Sr. Lecturer (ret.), Mechanical Engineering, MIT. Founder and former CEO, JPIndustries,Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial Group.
Plato, many centuries ago, said, “Nothing endures but change itself”. What is different in our era is not the presence of change but its pace–the rapidity with which ideas arise, are developed and applied, and the immediacy and degree of their impact in our lives. Let me illustrate.
When I were a student at MIT in the ‘50’s, it used to take five to ten years for an idea, or research result from a University, to become reality in the market and in our lives. Today it is almost simultaneous! This drastic change has fundamentally altered how we manage business and how the universities relate to the society at large and to the economic development demands more specifically. In the long past corporate strategists could rely on the likelihood that things would not change for a relatively long time. Long term periods were identified as ten year long, while a short tem was a three year time. Today these expectations are tossed out of the window. There is no “static” period to plan within. Things are ever changing. We live in a time phase when strategies must be dynamic, flexible and responsive to the ever changing conditions around us.
George A. Haloulakos, CFA, is a university instructor, author and entrepreneur [DBA Spartan Research and Consulting]. His published works utilize aviation as a teaching tool for Finance, Game Theory, History and Strategy.
Value is the key performance measure in a market economy because it encompasses the long-term interests of all stakeholders in a company. In highly competitive global businesses – especially with diversified companies — it is essential for a firm to be effective in all three phases of managing cash flow — operations, investing and financing – to generate cash at a return exceeding its cost of capital. The concept of stakeholder management has broadened the responsibility of management to include financial stakeholders (i.e., equity owners and creditors) and non-financial stakeholders such as customers, employees and suppliers. This task is magnified for diversified companies whose corporate structure is based on a mix of different types of product or business groups having a variety of financial requirements. Corporate financial strategy for diversified companies based on a portfolio management style may benefit from a stakeholder approach in order to cope with a myriad of challenges including, but not limited to, achieving economy of scale, diversification and growth in difficult or less predictable environments. Two different eras – the “stagflation” period from the mid-1970s to the very early 1980s and the “globalization” decade of the 2000s – provided extremely competitive market conditions where diversified companies achieved mixed results with divergent stock price performance. The case studies reviewed here offer a study in contrast in how the stock market values diversified firms with different corporate financial strategies.
Dr. Allan H. Meltzer is an American Economist and the Allan H. Meltzer professor of Political Economy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. He is the author of a large number of academic papers and books on monetary policy and the Federal Resrve Bank. Dr. Meltzer’s two volume books, “A History of the Federal Reserve”, are considered the most comprehensive history of the central bank. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the development and application of monetary policy. Currently he is also President of the Mont Pelerin Society. Dr. Meltzer originated the aphorism “Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”
This is a monthly column written by Professor Meltzer for Defining Ideas of the Hoover Institution.
It is posted in http://www.hoover.org/research/
Our Constitution is explicit about who makes laws. Article 1 says: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.” One might think that the clause could not be misinterpreted or ignored, but it has been. An overwhelming number of federal laws are now made by administrative agencies under the executive branch. Our Constitution provides a government of checks and balances to protect citizens against tyranny, but these agencies are not subject to those checks and balances and they run roughshod over our liberty.
They pass their own rules and enforce the rules they make. In the event of challenge, they adjudicate the matter and issue judgments. Complaints can be heard in the regular court system, but that is a slow process. An outrageous example was a decision that closed a major accounting firm—Arthur Andersen—in 2003. By the time, the courts decided that the administrative decision was wrong, the Arthur Andersen personnel had scattered and the offices had closed. That is one well-known example but there are many others.