News Consultants

News

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Rob Mann with MilestonCVC.

Having worked across the globe, Rob has over 20 years of consulting and industry experience focused on growth and innovation, product development and related operations. He previously worked at McKinsey as a Senior Expert in Product Development & Design. He led North Highland‘s Growth & Innovation Practice which became an ALM Top 10 practice under his leadership. While working at PwC (PRTM), SapientRazorfish and Kearney, his work entailed growth and innovation, digital enablement, and strategic sourcing. In addition to advisory services, approximately half of his consulting career entails interim management roles where he’s conceived, developed and launched new products and businesses for mature brands and start-up companies.

Along with his consulting work, Rob taught in the Marketing Department at the Wharton School for nearly 20 years, where he served as the Director of Consulting and Strategy in Wharton’s GCP. He was the Global Conference Chairman for the Product Development and Management Association where he led events and seminars. Known for immersive consulting experiences mixing fun and learning, Rob is a sought-out mentor enjoying long, deep developmental relationships with trusted clients, colleagues and students. Rob travels the globe with his family, enjoys baseball, teaches Bourbon design/development and is an avid hiker.

 

As we move towards the end of the pandemic and a surge in business, Geoff Wilson provides a post for leaders to help navigate the next economic journey.

We are in a world of opportunity and hurt.  Demand is high, spirits (and prices) are up, and supply is constrained.  What’s a leader to do?

When I was a young man I learned microeconomics on the back of a simple diagram with two lines…one for demand (always downward sloping) and one for supply (this one goes up).

Turns out, the microeconomists were right.  Mostly.

We are living in a fever dream at the moment.  It comes with the pleasure fog of rising demand for…well…everything as people regain the confidence that they can interact and transact with one another without threatening lives. It also comes with the tormenting nightmare of not being able to hire, source, or build the products and services that they need.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. The most plausible explanation is that we are simply mired in the midst of a massive supply chain bullwhip that is synchronized around the world for once. As positive and negative information trickles out across industry chains, individuals firms attempt to adjust…and they do so badly.

Add the labor-market distortions brought by extended unemployment benefits, extended school and family support organization closures, fear of the unknowns around coronavirus reoccurrence, and general inflation; and you have a multi-faceted political and commercial game that would make George R. R. Martin blush.

But all of this is couched, at least for the moment, within a massive environment of opportunity.  Demand is popping for most of the economy, and poised to pop for much of the rest.

So (as I’m often wont to ask), what’s a leader to do?

Here are a few ideas.

 

Key points include:

  • Prioritizing the opportunity
  • Time to innovate
  • Explore new supply chain structures and mechanisms

 

Read the full article, Revenge of the Microeconomist in the Real World, on WilsonGrowthPartners.com.

 

 

As we move towards the end of the pandemic and a surge in business, Geoff Wilson provides a post for leaders to help navigate the next economic journey.

We are in a world of opportunity and hurt.  Demand is high, spirits (and prices) are up, and supply is constrained.  What’s a leader to do?

When I was a young man I learned microeconomics on the back of a simple diagram with two lines…one for demand (always downward sloping) and one for supply (this one goes up).

Turns out, the microeconomists were right.  Mostly.

We are living in a fever dream at the moment.  It comes with the pleasure fog of rising demand for…well…everything as people regain the confidence that they can interact and transact with one another without threatening lives. It also comes with the tormenting nightmare of not being able to hire, source, or build the products and services that they need.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. The most plausible explanation is that we are simply mired in the midst of a massive supply chain bullwhip that is synchronized around the world for once. As positive and negative information trickles out across industry chains, individuals firms attempt to adjust…and they do so badly.

Add the labor-market distortions brought by extended unemployment benefits, extended school and family support organization closures, fear of the unknowns around coronavirus reoccurrence, and general inflation; and you have a multi-faceted political and commercial game that would make George R. R. Martin blush.

But all of this is couched, at least for the moment, within a massive environment of opportunity.  Demand is popping for most of the economy, and poised to pop for much of the rest.

So (as I’m often wont to ask), what’s a leader to do?

Here are a few ideas.

 

Key points include:

  • Prioritizing the opportunity
  • Time to innovate
  • Explore new supply chain structures and mechanisms

 

Read the full article, Revenge of the Microeconomist in the Real World, on WilsonGrowthPartners.com.

 

 

Geoff Wilson offers a practical process for increasing sales with no tricks or wizardry needed. 

The sales function far too often treated like an impenetrable combination of personalities, voodoo, and tradition.  It’s time for that to stop.

“I have a theory when it comes to sales.  It goes something like this: Along the way in their executive development, a lot of really smart people develop a disdain for sales as a function.  In some cases, they view sales as “dirty” or “basic.”  They might view sales as risky . . . why would a smart person ever subject themselves to the risks of not making a sales quota.

As that prejudice against sales develops, this particular sort of executive tends to think of sales and the people and systems that enable sales as a sort of mystery.  It’s a realm of knowledge that is best left to the salespeople, who take those risks and drive the relationships necessary for the business to thrive.

But they also leave a lot on the table.

Some of the most complete business strategies I have seen have also completely ignored the processes and tools that accelerate sales. Why?  Because, as noted above, it’s a mystery. It’s rumored to be personality- or relationship-driven.  The thinking goes that we can control our product.  We can control our operations.  We can control our cost structures and our hiring and our marketing messages.  But we can’t “control” our salesforce.

This thought process is dangerous since there are process losses in sales just as there are in a manufacturing operation.  The difference is that in a manufacturing operation if something is left by the wayside it gets calculated as a cost.  It’s a known quantity.

 

Key points include

  • What can and can’t be controlled
  • Focus and efficiency
  • Poor practices

 

Read the full article, Don’t Forget the Sales, on WilsonGrowthPartners.com.

 

 

In today’s fast-paced world focused on productivity, Geoff Wilson shares a short post and a poignant reminder on the importance of doing nothing and how it can benefit business.  

Albert Einstein once said that the reason he was so good at thinking about time and space was that he was delayed in his childhood development to the degree that he forgot to forget about such wondrous things as an adult.

The direct quote is this:

‘I sometimes ask myself how it came about that I was the one to develop the theory of relativity. The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about problems of space and time. These are things which he has thought about as a child. But my intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had already grown up.’

So, what’s the implication of this reflection from one of the greatest minds of all time for us management scientists?

I think it’s this: Protect time to “wonder.”

There’s no doubt that in today’s environment you are being tackled by the urgent. That customer or vendor issue is way, way more urgent than the chance to stop and think about structural changes in your market. But is it more important? I’m not sure.

 

Read the full article, Stay a Little bit Childish, on Wilson Growth Partners’ website.

 

 

Geoff Wilson asks the questions that make you think about your business strategy post COVID-19, identifies what you should focus on, and explains how you should move forward.

Hey, you there…the guy or gal with the life you always wanted.  How does it feel?

You are working from home.  Your computer screen has become your window into the world.  And, you have realized that it is, in fact, possible to pack more meetings into a day if you just sit still and do everything by videoconference.

But, how’s your business?  I mean, really, how is your BUSINESS?

I don’t mean how many COVID-19 cases do you have.  I don’t mean how many furloughs, shutdowns, or capacity reductions do you have.  I don’t mean how much stimulus cash you were able (or not able) to borrow.  And, I certainly don’t mean how much sales have decreased (or, if you are lucky, increased) over the past couple of months.  Those are interesting, good coffee chat items.

But they are the items in the spotlight.  And, the spotlight in this case is searing.  Everything–and I mean everything–is being cast in terms of the effects of COVID-19. Media coverage grasps at straws for something new after months of exhausting coverage and in doing so pulls ever more anecdotal evidence onto center stage.  Statistics that we never knew existed (well, ok, some of us knew what an R0 was, but only kind of) are now part of the national discourse.  And, yes, your employee base is focused on these same things.

But what about what’s happening with your business outside of the spotlight?  How are you thinking about that?  Because that’s really what you need to focus on.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Shocks in the system
  • Second-order effects
  • The Uber example

 

Read the full article, The great strategic “wreck-oning”, on the Wilson Growth Partners website. 

 

 

Geoff Wilson provides a reality check and a sage reminder to plant your feet firmly on the ground when looking to the future. 

 

Times of crisis require a change of perspective and a call to action.

So, here we are, weeks into a bizarre world of isolation, uncertainty, and pain.  If one thing is likely, it’s that after weeks of responsiveness, you may now start to see real signs of resignation and capitulation.  But, you may also see signs of opportunity and–dare I say it–optimism.  My sense is that both mindsets are probably “right” and “ok.”  This is no self-help blog.  I fully believe that there is plenty to fear in the environment beyond fear itself.

But.

I also think it’s important to realize that in times of crisis or trial or despair it’s our imperative to reflect and chart a course.  That course may be brand new and different, or it may be a retreat to the tried and true.  In either case…it’s a course.

One of the more influential books in my life is Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and influential thinking on how people find meaning in life regardless of experience.  His experience in the Auschwitz death camp sparked a globally influential view of how individuals find meaning in challenging and even hopeless circumstances.

 

Points addressed in this article include:

  • Reflecting and charting a course
  • Why me vs. what’s next

 

Read the full article, Finding meaning during crisis requires an answer, not a question, on the Wilson Growth Partners’ website.

 

 

Geoff Wilson asks you to take a moment to look to the future and determine the impact of the legacy you want to leave. 

We all leave a legacy of some sort. Ryan Newman’s survival of NASCAR’s worst wreck ever highlights the contrasts of passive and active legacies.

Do you know the legacy you are leaving with your business, team, or organization?

It’s surprising how little this topic actually gets highlighted when managers and executive teams focus on their strategic aims.  Sure there are legacies that are left via who you are–for example the ethical legacies like that of Marvin Bower at McKinsey or innovation legacies like that of Gordon Moore of Intel and Moore’s Law fame.  Those were probably not forged in a boardroom strategy session but rather through strength of personality.

But, there are also legacies left in a couple of other ways.  There are passive legacies that result accidentally, and there are active legacies that result from thoughtful focus and intervention.  This weekend offered a stark contrast of the two.

Monday’s Daytona 500 ended with a vicious wreck where driver Ryan Newman–leading the race at the time–was bumped from behind and spun violently into the wall of the final turn in the race.  His car, pictured above, went airborne, was struck broadside by another car at 190 miles per hour, landed on its roof, and then slid for a quarter mile or more in a conflagration of sparks and flames.

 

Read the full article, Legacy Lessons from NASCAR’s Worst Wreck Ever, on the Wilson Growth Partners website. 

 

 

Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires. 

The possibilities are endless.  Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’  I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer.  Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people.

Strategy, inasmuch as it deals with things that are less certain and immediate, is an argument.  It’s an argument formed from assumptions that are (or should be) formed from knowable facts and less knowable (but educated) estimates.

But, something tends to happen on the way to building business strategies that derails one of the most important imperatives.  We lose the power of inspiration. Usually, we lose it when the hardcore management nerds get ahold of the strategic planning and implementation ‘ecosystem’ and start over whelming the organization with jargon, tools, and really smart pablum.

 

Read the full article, Are your people uninspired? Maybe it’s time to hang the DJ., on the Wilson Growth Partners website.

 

Geoff Wilson explains what Andrew Luck’s recent retirement from football should teach executives about protecting top talent.

If you are an organizational leader who is leaning on a few star talents surrounded by a supporting cast of also-rans to ‘gut it out’ on a daily basis, you are playing a very dangerous game. Because when your top talent has had enough–when you have extracted enough of their soul by asking them to jump on yet another grenade dropped by a poor performing organization–it will be fully justified to go elsewhere.

And, if you aren’t doing this explicitly, it might be good to take a moment and reflect on whether you are doing this implicitly.  Take a look at the team you lead and ask whether you are leaning a bit too heavily on a talented few.  Take a look at the organization you lead and ask whether you are counting too much on a few talented teams to carry the rest of the organization.

Do this not because you have the time to do it.  Nobody does.  Do it because you can’t afford to grind your top talent down to a joyless nub.

 

Read the full article, What Andrew Luck just taught us about protecting top talent, on Wilson Growth Partners’ website.