Bradford ‘Management Thinking’ Digest – the latest on business strategy, leadership, finance, innovation and sustainability

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This edition of Bradford University School of Management’s digest of the latest business thinking features

  • How to grow like Apple
  • Tomorrow’s MBA
  • Finance transformation
  • Leaders’ conversation skills

Please share your views here and on Twitter @BradManagement

STRATEGY

Business News Daily: How to grow like the ‘Golden’ Apple

Mario Simon, the managing director of Millward Brown Optimor, publisher of the recent BrandZ Top 100 Brands Survey, shares his advice on how small businesses can emulate the success of big brands like Apple.

In this interview with Business News Daily he says: “Many small business owners think you have to be a Proctor and Gamble or a Coca-Cola to invest in brand. But, the concept of the brand and what brings employees, consumers and customers together is powerful. Great businesses understand that intuitively. They do that systematically and leverage that asset.”

“For small business, building brand equity – no matter what kind of business you are – starts with deeply understanding your customer and then developing a strategy to allow your company to add meaning to their lives.”

INNOVATION

MBA-Channel.com: Tomorrow’s MBA – teach us how to run our own business!

Our Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Christos Kalantaridis, talks to MBA Channel about why Business School is the best place for future business owners to learn entrepreneurial skills.

He says: “Business Schools provide an education that is formed not just by economics but also draws from other social sciences, business and management theory. They have a broad range of disciplines and can help to create the right mix of skills and competencies for future entrepreneurs.

“The process of creative thinking, for example, is a matter of routine in my class. At Bradford, we teach an idea management system and my students learn entrepreneurial techniques to use in their own venture or in their role as part of a larger organisation. MBA students often become executives in large organisations and need to understand the importance of creating a corporate culture of entrepreneurship. The core classes of any good Business School in marketing, operations or finance are all essential for entrepreneurs.”

FINANCE & SUSTAINABILITY

Business Finance Magazine online: How to leverage sustainability initiatives for finance transformation

This article by Deloitte Consultants Chris Park and Samuel Silvers discusses the finance function’s expanding role in supporting sustainability. They identify 6 ways that sustainability initiatives can involve a new role for the finance function.

1. Enterprise value: Sustainability initiatives can be evaluated as investment opportunities rather than just costs, so the finance function can provide input into sustainability investment decisions and maximising potential returns.

2. Stakeholder relations: Companies are increasingly using sustainability communications strategy to help position them as a leader and influence investment opportunities, recruiting and retention, and product and brand loyalty.

3. Reporting: Many organisations seek sustainability information from companies today. Finance has a role to play in defining and developing internal and external reporting strategies, processes, and controls to communicate information accurately and consistently.

4. Tax and regulatory drivers: Governments often influence private sector sustainability initiatives through tax laws and regulatory requirements. This means that companies are building sustainability considerations into tax planning, risk management, and operational performance assessments.

5. Greenhouse gas and waste stream impacts: Greenhouse gas regulations effectively introduce a cost of carbon and monetise an organisation’s reduction efforts, which can be factored into financial planning.

6. Enterprise risk management: Reduced energy, commodity, and resource consumption can lower business risks of dramatic price increases. Leading organisations are incorporating sustainability-related risks into their risk maps and accounting for the impact of fluctuating resource prices in their planning, forecasting, and treasury activities.

LEADERSHIP

Pan European HR Network Blog: Conversations still difficult for leaders

This blog explores the reasons why leaders at all levels still find ‘difficult conversations’ with their teams and their boss the biggest challenge in leadership, despite new technologies meaning that we have more connections and conversations than ever.

Blog author Alan Arnett says: “It is more comfortable to sit behind a computer or smartphone screen and compose your own thoughts without having to pay attention to someone else’s reaction. But, the most widely used online conversation tool used by businesses internally is instant messaging – which is the technology closest to real time conversation. The tool they are most excited about? Cisco Telepresence (other video conferencing systems are available).  And why are they so excited?  Because it is most like having the person in the room and talking face to face.

“So, while I am sad that humans still find conversations difficult, I’m really happy that humans still prefer real conversations and are working to find better ways to have them.”