BY JOSH JONES
Think back to when you were 23 years old – how each day at work felt, the day-to-day tasks for which you were responsible. Now imagine an alternate reality: Instead of that job, you’re on a military outpost in southern Afghanistan, responsible for leading a platoon of 25 Soldiers in a combat zone. Easy enough? Now you’re tasked with separating from your larger unit and moving to a completely new area under a separate unit in a different part of the country. Your unit completes this transition skillfully, starts to settle into the new space for a couple weeks, and then you are told to move your platoon again to a new unit. This new unit is from a different nation, and the primary language is not English. You will have to embed with this new team to learn about the area in which they operate. Welcome to the life of a leader dealing with constant change.
BY BOBBY KOSH
New York City, 1949: Nine musicians are listening to Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite on the record player. They sit inside a small mid-town basement apartment, floating in a haze of reefer, just three blocks away from the clubs that represent the epicenter of the jazz scene. Every day they spend hours discussing their craft, comparing styles and experimenting with their instruments. The group is Miles Davis and his all-star jazz Nonet, and this apartment will become the incubator for one of the most radical transformations in music. They’re creating a new style of jazz and one of the best albums of all time: “Birth of Cool.”
Industry-transforming revolutions like this one are rare. Miles Davis did it once with “Birth of Cool,” and then twice more over the next two decades. In contrast, most businesses and come up short in their efforts to create new innovative ideas or tackle bold, large-scale endeavors. Whether launching a new major product line, entering new markets or reforming their operational capabilities, most companies fail or settle for modest results.
So how did Miles Davis do it? He was exceptionally talented and a musical prodigy, but individual talent alone wasn’t enough. Music is a team sport, and Miles assembled, led and managed his musical ensembles in a revolutionary way: He built a team of virtuosos.
Propeller recently hosted the Association of Change Management Professionals PNW group to discuss the powerful effects of storytelling in times of transition. There are three simple steps that our speaker, Ann Smith, shared with the group. Individuals and organizations can use these steps to tell an authentic and impactful story that inspires change.
Step 1: Craft your message to make the change familiar
Step 2: Be authentic in your delivery
Step 3: Allow for interaction from your audience and respond to them
The Portland Business Journal's Book of Lists provides the names of top industry leaders in PDX each year. We were listed as #5 in terms of the number of management consultants we have in the Portland Metro Area, up from #6 the previous year. We're grateful for our clients and for our consultants who have a great passion for solving complex business problems.
By Amy Gee
In 2014, carbonated soft drink sales had been in decline for more than a decade. The public was increasingly concerned about high sugar consumption, shunning a flavor profile that had powered The Coca-Cola Company’s flagship product line for nearly 130 years. The company – like many of its legacy competitors – was feeling the strain. Soft drink sales were down across North America, ultimately reaching levels that hadn’t been seen since 2003, and Coca-Cola had fallen “particularly behind the curve in addressing the challenge,” analysts from BMI Research wrote in November 2014.
To reverse the steady decline in sales, Coca-Cola’s executives needed to revisit their expansive roadmap, 2020 Vision, and revise it to reflect changes in the market. Coca-Cola had unveiled the multi-year plan in 2009, with a stated goal of doubling Coca-Cola's system-wide revenue by the year 2020. What it was lacking, however, was shorter-term execution points that would allow the Atlanta-based beverage maker to adjust mid-course.
In what executives said amounted to “evolving” the 2020 Vision, the $46-billion company identified five key initiatives designed to drive revenue growth through segmented market roles, make disciplined brand and growth investments, drive productivity and continuous improvement, streamline and simplify, and focus on the core business model. The results were promising: Its North America division delivered its strongest annual performance in three years, with 4 percent organic revenue growth.