Episodes

  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 268, an episode with an attorney and the host of the No Straight Path Podcast, Ashley Menzies Babatunde.


    The pressure of keeping up with today’s competitive world is undeniably haunting. Most people spend a considerable amount of time at work and struggle to maintain their wellness and wellbeing. Many people are unhappy because they try to achieve too many things in life and lose track of the simple things that truly matter.


    In this episode, we speak about the gravity of maintaining wellness, prioritizing the time for taking care of yourself, finding your purpose, and living a life with a sense of completeness. We discussed how we can create a healthier and happier society while being successful in our careers and life.


    Ashley Menzies Babatunde was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Ashley is a litigation associate in O’Melveny’s Los Angeles office. Her practice focuses on Health Care and White Collar Defense & Corporate Investigations.

    Ashley is a storyteller, optimist, professional heart-warmer, and hopeful romantic. She is passionate about the intersection of humanity and career. She has realized that her achievements or her failures do not define her. Instead, she is defined by the human qualities that have allowed her to achieve success and overcome challenges.

    Check out Ashley’s podcast:

    No Straight Path aims to humanize success from the millennial perspective. The world often sees the shiny resumes, highlights shared on social media, and job titles associated with a person's LinkedIn profile. We rarely see the story behind it. And when we do, it's often in a memoir towards the end of someone's journey. The podcast aims to delve into the story behind the success with a closer to real-time approach.

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 267, an episode with an award-winning advisor, speaker, and author, Christie Hunter Arscott. Get Christie’s book here: https://amzn.to/3Qia05S

    Most of the time, the word risk is associated with fear and uncertainty. We tend to struggle with harnessing the power of risk-taking. But the first bold step sheds light on that. As Christie mentioned in this episode, “An intentional and strategic risk, even when the output is not what you desired, still can propel you further than if you made the consistent choice to play it safe.”

    In this episode, we discussed the power of intentional risk-taking in building one’s career. We spoke about how to encourage women to take chances on themselves to face intentional, intelligent, and strategic risks.

    Christie Hunter Arscott is a leading expert on how we can harness the power of intentional risk-taking to create more dynamic and vibrant careers and organizations. A Rhodes Scholar, Christie has been named by Thinkers50 as one of the top management thinkers likely to shape the future of business. Christie was also selected for the biannual Thinkers50 Talent Award shortlist of the top global thought leaders in the field of talent management.

    Christie’s research and writing have been featured across international publications, including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, European Business Review, TIME, Fast Company, Business Insider, and more. Her article "Why So Many Thirtysomething Women Are Leaving Your Company" was selected for the Harvard Business Review collection of the top articles on diversity.

    Christie has spoken worldwide to organizations and institutions, including the World Economic Forum, Harvard Business School, the University of Oxford, and the Global Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. Her corporate clients include Bacardi, Deloitte, PWC, HSBC, and more.

    Christie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brown University, a certificate of Distinction in General Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and two Master’s degrees with a focus on gender research from the University of Oxford. She currently serves on the Women’s Leadership Board of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School.

    Get Christie’s book here:

    Begin Boldly: How Women Can Reimagine Risk, Embrace Uncertainty, and Launch a Brilliant Career. Christie Hunter Arscott. https://amzn.to/3Qia05S

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 265, an episode with a veteran Silicon Valley dealmaker, Touraj Parang. Get Touraj’s book here: https://amzn.to/3bmsDGj

    In this episode, Touraj takes us through his unique, decades-long experiences as an entrepreneur and investor. He shares the lessons he learned when he sold his first startup – with no exit plan – for pennies on the dollar. It was then followed by great success with his next startup as he applied his learnings and prioritized executing an exit strategy. Touraj discussed the key things to consider and the red flags to avoid when selecting investors and co-founders.

    Touraj Parang is a seasoned entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and M&A expert who has sat in every seat around the table, structuring and negotiating strategic transactions since the late 1990s, including as a corporate attorney at legal powerhouses WSGR and O’Melveny & Myers. Touraj has been a founder, executive, and trusted advisor to several fast-growing technology startups with exits to LinkedIn, Instacart, Vistaprint, Postmates, and Amplify, among others. He has also spent nearly a decade on the acquirer side of M&A deals as a corporate development executive at Webs and GoDaddy.

    Exit Path draws on Touraj’s unique, decades-long experience involving hundreds of M&A transactions, strategic partnerships, and venture capital investments totaling billions of dollars in aggregate value. He is currently the President and Chief Operating Officer at Serve Robotics, a startup shaping the future of sustainable, self-driving delivery that he helped spin out of Uber, and an Operating Advisor at Pear VC, an early-stage venture capital firm, where he enjoys collaborating with and providing strategic guidance to mission-driven entrepreneurs. He earned his JD from Yale Law School and his BA in Philosophy and Economics from Stanford University.

    Get Touraj’s book here:

    Exit Path: How to Win the Startup End Game. Touraj Parang. https://amzn.to/3bmsDGj

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 264, an episode with startup entrepreneurs Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba. Get Ash and Hasan’s book here: https://amzn.to/3Q8ctPD

    In this episode, we speak about the concept of unfair advantage and the process of identifying and managing it so it’s your edge over any competition. Many people have the limiting belief that they don’t have something authentic to offer, but what they don’t realize is that we all have unique skill sets and talents. It only takes self-awareness to realize that the ingredients to success are already within you.

    Ash Ali is an award-winning serial tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Ash sold his first internet business at just 19 years old (and most recently, his Dubai-based on-demand mobile app startup in 2018). As the first marketing director of Just Eat UK, which IPO’d for £1.5 billion, he was included in the Top 250 Growth Hackers, as well as the Top 100 Asian Tech Stars in the UK. With over 20 years of hands-on experience creating and growing startups, he has consulted, advised, and invested in hundreds of startups at various funding stages. Ash is a highly sought-after international speaker and expert on digital disruption and tech transformation, and has spoken at numerous global organizations and conferences, including Salesforce, Ernst & Young, and TEDx. He is currently co-founder of Uhubs, a new skills training platform that helps entrepreneurs and professionals upskill.

    Hasan Kubba is an author, entrepreneur, and startup strategist. Hasan is a specialist in technology startups, marketing, and fundraising. With his own London-based digital marketing business and startup investment experience, Hasan is particularly strong at breaking down complex business concepts into simple and effective strategies and tactics. His recent TEDx talk titled Startups, Entrepreneurship, and Unfair Advantages was voted the highest ever on the official TED subreddit. He is passionate about the future of entrepreneurship and digital disruption globally and is an in-demand startup mentor to early-stage entrepreneurs, workshop trainer, and international speaker.

    Get Ash & Hasan’s book here:

    The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed. Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba: https://amzn.to/3Q8ctPD

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 263, an episode with an artist, researcher, author, and educator at Northwestern University, Julio Mario Ottino. Get Julio’s book here: https://amzn.to/3b4390g

    Individuals and organizations face complex problems and challenges today that demand a new way of thinking to grasp underlying solutions and opportunities. In this episode, Julio shares the beauty of the coexistence of art, science, and technology – rather than being separate disciplines – to navigate the complex world.

    Julio was born in Argentina and grew up with twin interests in physical sciences and visual arts, finding beauty in math and art, and seeing creativity as being one thing, rather than something that lives in compartments. Art provided a cathartic means of expression while he grew up in turbulent times. He managed to create a solo art exhibit while drafted as an officer in the Argentinian Navy. When he moved to the United States to pursue a doctorate, his research achievements followed.

    Most of the early attention Ottino received stemmed from pioneering work in chaos theory and a combination of scientific insight and visualization. His research work has been featured on the covers of Nature, Science, Scientific American, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and other publications. He has supervised more than 65 Ph.D. theses, written over 250 papers and two books, and has given invited presentations at over 200 universities in the United States and around the world, as well as at organizations such as Accenture, Boeing, Google, 3M, and Unilever.

    An academic entrepreneur, Ottino was the founding co-director of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems and educational and research initiatives in design, entrepreneurship, and energy and sustainability. As dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, he founded educational and research partnerships with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Medill School of Journalism, Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Communication, and School of Education and Social Policy, as well as with external partners ranging from the Art Institute of Chicago to Argonne National Lab. In 2008, he was selected by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as one of the “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era.” In 2017, Ottino was awarded the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education from the National Academy of Engineering for the concept of whole-brain engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Get Julio’s book here:

    The Nexus: Augmented Thinking for a Complex World–The New Convergence of Art, Technology, and Science. Julio Mario Ottino. https://amzn.to/3b4390g

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 262, an episode with a professor at Queensland University of Technology, Amanda Lotz.

    In this episode, Amanda shares her insights as a media expert about Netflix’s recent announcement that they are introducing an ad-supported version of their streaming service. She spoke about the challenges that Netflix may face as it goes down the advertising route. Amanda discussed the pros and cons of a subscription-based model versus an advertisement-based model and what it will be for Netflix as it launches its new strategy.

    Amanda Lotz is a media scholar, professor, and industry consultant. Her expertise includes media industries, digital distribution, the future of television, the business of media, and net neutrality.

    Amanda leads the Transforming Media Industries research project in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of eleven books that explore television and media industries, including Netflix and Streaming Video: The Business of Subscriber-Funded Video on Demand, Media Disrupted: Surviving Cannibals, Pirates and Streaming Wars, We Now Disrupt This Broadcast: How Cable Transformed Television and the Internet Revolutionized It All, The Television Will Be Revolutionized, and Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television.

    Her most recent books explore the connections between internet-distributed services such as Netflix and the legacy television industry, as well as the business strategies and revenue models that differ. Her award-winning book, The Television Will Be Revolutionized, now in its second edition, has been translated into Mandarin, Korean, Italian, and Polish. She is frequently interviewed by NPR’s Marketplace, has appeared on BBC, CNN's The Nineties, HuffPost Live, and ZDF (German television network), and has been interviewed for articles in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Christian Science Monitor, the Associated Press, Wired, and Men’s Health among many others. She publishes articles about the business of television at Quartz, Salon, The New Republic, hosts the Media Business Matters podcast, and tweets about television and media @DrTVLotz.

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 261, an episode with the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware, Saleem Ali. Get Ali’s book here: https://amzn.to/3aOWwie

    In this conversation, we discussed numerous examples of major problems around the world, from the resources industry, environmental conflicts, culture, and the system of order and control of many organizations, and how these issues come down to the need for literacy and proper education.

    Environmental awareness is present today, however, we are lacking science or environmental literacy. Education is not an elite enterprise and someone even without formal education can be a citizen scientist who is seeing and observing the world and continuously gaining much more depth of knowledge and understanding to contribute to solving the problems of the world.

    Prof. Ali previously served as chair in Sustainable Resource Development and professor of sustainability science and policy at University of Queensland in Australia. He also was a professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Natural Resources and founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security. He was also formerly on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and the visiting faculty for the United Nations mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica).

    Prof. Ali's primary research interests have been in the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts in the mineral sector, and the process of using ecological factors to promote peace. Some of Prof. Ali’s former research appointments include a visiting fellowship at the Brookings Institution's research center in Doha, Qatar; a Public Policy Fellowship at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia; a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School; and a parliamentary internship at the U.K. House of Commons. He has teaching experience in courses on environmental planning, conflict resolution, industrial ecology, research methods, and technical writing.

    Before embarking on an academic career, Prof. Ali worked as an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric, an Associate at the Boston-based consulting firm Industrial Economics Inc., as well as a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Health Canada.

    Prof. Ali is a citizen of the United States of America by birth; Pakistan by parental lineage; and Australian by naturalization. He received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an M.E.S. in environmental law and policy from Yale University, and his Bachelors in Chemistry from Tufts University.

    Get Ali’s Book here:

    Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life. Saleem Ali. https://amzn.to/3aOWwie

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 260, an episode with bestselling author, keynote speaker, workplace expert, and resilience researcher, Adam Markel. Get Adam's Book here: https://amzn.to/3PwE6l6

    In this episode, Adam speaks about how he reinvented his career path through valuable lessons and eye-opening life events. He shares his experience as a Jones Beach lifeguard in New York. As a first responder in a life-and-death environment, he learned the importance of cultivating a high-performance capacity and impeccable teamwork. He learned to never let anyone go under the water, not to quit, and to keep going no matter what the conditions were. Years later, after experiencing a panic attack due to stress and exhaustion, he was reminded of another important lesson that he learned at the beach: the importance of taking intermittent breaks. Rest, recover, and recuperate, or you cannot perform well.

    Lots of people think of resilience as getting up after taking a blow, moving forward after getting knocked down, and bouncing back from setbacks. Resilience is more than that. As Adam mentioned in this episode, “Resilience is not about how we bounce back. It's actually about how we bounce forward. It's not about how we endure life's challenges, adversities, and uncertainties. But actually how it is that we leverage that uncertainty for our growth.”

    Adam is the author of the #1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life. A leading international keynote speaker, he has reached tens of thousands worldwide with his message of resilience as the competitive edge in today’s complex markets. An attorney, entrepreneur, and transformational trainer, Adam is a sought-after business culture catalyst who inspires, empowers, and guides organizations and individuals to create sustainable, high-performance strategies.

    Adam is also the CEO of More Love Media and host of The Change Proof podcast, where he shares his insights on pivoting and resilience in today's fast-paced market and interviews experts, innovators, and influencers in the areas of business and life.

    Adam credits much of his success to the principles he learned during his eight years as a Jones Beach lifeguard in New York. He’s found that the principles of this type of culture and leadership equally apply to any business that wants to build a competitive advantage to win.

    After building a multi-million-dollar law firm, Adam pivoted his own career path to become CEO of one of the largest business and personal growth training companies in the world. Here he learned that motivation and inspiration alone are not enough to effectively utilize change. It's about providing leaders, teams, and audiences with effective takeaways to sustain them over time.

    Get Adam’s Book here:

    Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience. Adam Markel. https://amzn.to/3PwE6l6

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  • For this episode, let's revisit the 47th podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study. As I mentioned in previous posts, the reason we spend so much time on visioning workshop is because if you ever take a senior role in strategy in any company, or if you ever serve as a corporate strategy consultant, running a visioning workshop or corporate strategy workshop, in general, is the skill you must have. And scenario planning is something used extensively in visioning workshops.

    In this podcast and related article, we discuss what is scenario planning and how to run a scenario planning session during a visioning workshop as part of a consulting engagement. There is also a very elegant way to combine corporate finance and corporate strategy to help companies develop effective strategies under extreme uncertainty.

    Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

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  • For this episode, let's revisit the 42nd podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study.

    What I noticed on this, and other studies is that the associates and business analysts are very competitive, in a way that is damaging to clients, to the firm and to their own careers.

    I am fine with consultants being competitive but I think they go about it the wrong way. You can be competitive and work long hours but you should not seem to be competitive when you are working long hours.

    I am not saying don't work long hours. Yet, don't make it sound like you are competitive and that is why you are working long hours. Cause and effect matters. If you work hard to be competitive, people see you as someone who is working hard only because you want to get promoted and only because you want to stand out from everyone else.

    These consultants tend to be so obsessed with telling people how committed they are that they are moving away from the objective of getting the right work done.

    No one likes someone who is competitive for the sake of being competitive. Because this is just wasted energy. If you are being competitive for the sake of being competitive, versus focusing on the client and working hard to solve a problem resulting in the by-product of you being competitive, you are basically just wasting valuable time that you could use much more productively.

    If people just think you are competing with them they don't want to help you, they don't want to work with you.

    Yet, if they see you as someone who is like them but for whatever reason needs to work harder because the client needs it they tend to like you more. They tend to relate to you better. And that dynamic becomes good for your career.

    In this podcast, we discuss in detail how to go about being competitive on consulting projects while projecting the proper image and maintaining the right mindset to deliver the best value for the client and the firm.

    Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

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  • For this episode, let's revisit a Strategy Skills classic where we will talk about general professional values or etiquette that consultants should apply during an engagement. We specifically discuss things that consultants sometimes do on studies that may alienate the client. And rather than talking about every single thing you need to avoid, we will talk about some principles. And these principles apply across every issue.

    We also discuss how to address a situation where a consultant’s behavior is incompatible with the firm’s professional values.

    Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

    Enjoying our podcast? Get access to sample advanced training episodes here: www.firmsconsulting.com/promo

  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 256, an episode with an expert in business law and business ethics, J.S. Nelson. Get J.S’s book here: https://amzn.to/3ny1z9B

    Managing business ethics has always been a challenge for many organizations. As unethical business conduct rises, the struggle of implementing ethics and compliance programs in organizations also increases. Business ethics can make or break your business or career. But it can be used as a competitive advantage if managed correctly and can build the most valuable asset: your reputation.

    The key is to articulate your organization's values – defining who you are, what you stand for, and extending it toward every inch of your organization. It’s very important for management to cultivate a culture of openness, where people feel safe to speak up and where ethical misconduct is not tolerated. As J.S. mentioned in this episode, “the way to get the behavior that you want is to intervene early and often.”

    In this episode, J.S speaks about the value of business ethics, the major schools of philosophical ethical thought, and how understanding it can help people become better at being ethical. She discusses the ways an organization can cultivate ethical behavior and how to get away from situations involving ethical traps in the modern business world.

    Nelson is an expert in business law and business ethics. She is a visiting professor at Harvard Business School. Nelson was the first tenure-track appointment in a U.S. law school, specifically to teach business ethics and to develop law-school curricula around the subject.

    Nelson has spent nearly fifteen years teaching at top universities across the country, including Villanova Law School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Haas Business School of the University of California at Berkeley, Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, and the Mihaylo School at Cal State Fullerton.

    Prior to her work in academia, Professor Nelson served as staff counsel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and she clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Honorable William H. Yohn Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She also worked as a deputy district attorney and as a business litigator in Denver, Colorado. Nelson graduated from Harvard Law School, where she was the Supreme Court Co-Chair of the Harvard Law Review. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with honors and distinction in the major from Yale.

    Get J.S’s book here:

    Business Ethics: What Everyone Needs to Know, J.S. Nelson & Lynn A. Stout: https://amzn.to/3ny1z9B

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 255, an episode with the CEO and managing partner at Velocity Group, Edward Sullivan. Get Edward’s book here: https://amzn.to/3HT2Hy4

    In this episode, Edward discussed the best practices that leaders and companies do to address mental health issues and the real cause of the great resignation. He spoke about the gravity of work-life balance, care, and understanding as part of an employee retention strategy.

    For decades, we have avoided discussing the topic of mental health around the workplace. It was considered a weakness and could greatly derail one’s career. We operated under the assumption of manifesting the “executive presence,” which covertly added up to pressure and stress on the employees.

    As companies have responded to the challenges brought by Covid in recent years, they are learning to consider mental health as a common issue in the workplace and taking employees’ well-being in a serious manner. The great resignation caused a stir in how companies view and treat their employees. As Edward mentioned in this episode, “employees are not leaving in the great resignation because of company benefits, they are fleeing from toxic work cultures.”

    Edward Sullivan holds an MBA from the Wharton School and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School. His 25-year career as an executive coach and political consultant has taken him around the globe coaching and advising start-up founders, Fortune 500 executives, and heads of state of foreign nations. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, and Nasdaq, among others.

    Get Edward’s book here:

    Leading with Heart: 5 Conversations That Unlock Creativity, Purpose, and Results, Edward Sullivan and John Baird: https://amzn.to/3HT2Hy4

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 254, an episode with the Founder and visionary Managing Director of Bandelli & Associates, Dr. Adam C. Bandelli. Get Adam’s book here: https://amzn.to/3nhGgsC

    “It is very important for leaders to not only surround themselves with great talent but build really strong partnerships with their people.” - Adam Bandelli

    In this episode, Adam speaks about how reliance on technology has kept people technologically connected but has prevented them from building genuine and sustainable relationships. Covid has exacerbated this problem, especially when organizations started hybrid work models. In order to improve the level of connectivity and build strong long-lasting personal and professional relationships, Adam laid out the five key skills that make up relational intelligence: Establishing Rapport, Understanding Others, Embracing Individual Differences, Developing Trust, and Cultivating Influence.

    Dr. Adam C. Bandelli has 20 years of management and leadership advisory consulting experience in the firm’s service offerings, including board consultation, senior executive selection, leadership development, CEO succession, organizational culture, and transformational change. Adam is an expert on communication, relational intelligence, and leadership effectiveness having worked with CEOs and senior executives to strengthen their abilities to inspire and influence their people, teams, and organizations. The mission of his firm is to help leaders identify, unlock, and unleash their true potential. Adam has worked with executives around the world in organizations ranging from small start-up firms through global Fortune 100 companies.

    Prior to founding Bandelli & Associates, Adam was a Partner at Korn Ferry, where he led the Private Equity assessment practice for North America. Earlier in his career, he was a Partner at RHR International, where he served as one of the firm’s leaders on Board and CEO Succession, High Potential Development, Senior Team Effectiveness, and Executive Assessments.

    Adam is the author of the books Relational Intelligence: The Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life-Changing Relationships, and What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness, which have received strong reviews from prominent business leaders.

    Adam received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the University of South Florida in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and a bachelor’s degree concentrating in Psychology and Business Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Acknowledged as an expert on leadership, relational intelligence, and organizational culture, he is a frequent speaker at business and professional meetings including the Society of Consulting Psychology and the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

    Relational Intelligence: The Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life-Changing Relationships. Dr. Adam C. Bandelli: https://amzn.to/3nhGgsC

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 253, an episode with Emeritus Professor at UCLA Anderson, Richard Rumelt.

    Get Richard’s book here: https://amzn.to/3OrNfuK

    In this episode, Richard iterated the real meaning of strategy, which many companies today confuse with a list of their goals and ambitions. Strategy is problem-solving – a clever way of dealing with a challenge, opponent, or problem. It also involves selecting which battle you fight because you cannot fight them all. As a great strategist, you need to select battles that you can win.

    Richard also explained the crux or the biggest challenge that companies need to identify, emphasize, and concentrate their resources on until it is fixed or solved. As Richard mentioned in this episode, “the primary thing about strategy is that it is about a concentration of resources. It is about focus.”

    Richard Rumelt received his doctorate from the Harvard Business School in 1972, having previously earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley. He worked as a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1976. He also served as a faculty at INSEAD, France for three years. At INSEAD, Rumelt headed the Corporate Renewal Initiative, a research-intervention center devoted to the study and practice of corporate transformation.

    Rumelt was president of the Strategic Management Society from 1995 to 1998. He received the Irwin Prize for his book Strategy, Structure, and Economic Performance. In 1997, he was appointed Telecom Italia Strategy Fellow, a position he held until April 2000. He has won teaching awards at UCLA and received a best paper prize in 1997 from the Strategic Management Journal.

    Get Richard’s book here:

    The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists, Richard Rumelt: https://amzn.to/3OrNfuK

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 252, an episode with a thought leader and global expert on infectious diseases and vaccine safety, Jan Bonhoeffer M.D. Get Jan’s book here: https://amzn.to/3y2x4hZ

    In this episode, Jan spoke about his medical career journey, working with different interesting organizations, and how he realized there was a missing piece: care. He spoke about how we often become so focused on solving a problem that we forget to give attention to what we care about – what gives us joy and fulfillment.

    In any business or profession, the key is to serve a much bigger purpose, taking your identity into account. As Michael mentioned in this conversation, “True leadership is about understanding who you are.” Leading with empathy requires understanding who you are to resonate and connect with the people you interact with.

    Bonhoeffer serves as professor of pediatrics, infectious diseases, and vaccines at the University of Basel Children’s Hospital, Switzerland. As a former consultant with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, he co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and led epidemiological pediatric infectious disease and vaccine studies, including international research consortia. For 18 years, he led the Brighton Collaboration, a global leader in not-for-profit vaccine safety research setting research standards, conducting large internationally collaborative research, and investigating vaccine safety concerns. He was a Strategic Advisory Group Member of the WHO Global Vaccine Safety Initiative (GVSI) implementing the vaccine safety strategy of the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

    Bonhoeffer graduated from the University of Basel Medical School, Switzerland, and worked in the U.S., the UK, India, and Switzerland. In 2015, he underwent a significant shift in the way that he thought about medicine. He realized that most of the significant moments in his work as a doctor happened when he wasn’t simply executing what he learned in medical school, but when he was participating in a healing event with the patient. He realized that central to this is the quality of the interaction between the health care provider and the patient. It is in this space that innovation, healing, and creativity happens, but he realized that almost everything he had learned in medical school had taught him to skip over what happens in this space.

    This realization prompted Bonhoeffer to start Heart-Based Medicine, a global network of health care professionals and patients exploring the natural healing potential of the health care provider and the patient, and to co-create his new book Dare to Care. His mission is to inspire medical professionals to reclaim empathy and compassion as primary facets of healing to overcome the disillusion and burnout they often encounter in today’s mechanized medical culture.

    Bonhoeffer is married to Jessica Templeton-Bonhoeffer, a developmental pediatrician and co-founder of Youkidoc Kindergesundheit, a heart-based medical center for children and their families in Basel, Switzerland. They have three children.

    Dare to Care: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's Medical World. Jan Bonhoeffer M.D.: https://amzn.to/3y2x4hZ

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 251, an episode with a leading Yale expert and serial entrepreneur, Barry Nalebuff. Get Barry’s book here: https://amzn.to/3OiNiJs

    For thirty years, Barry has taught negotiation, innovation, strategy, and game theory at Yale School of Management, which led him to develop a new approach toward negotiation. This approach is vastly different from how most people think about negotiation, which usually involves having the best tactic to out-smart the other party and get the best deal.

    This podcast explains the concept of the negotiation pie, which is the additional value created through an agreement to work together. It exhibits fairness and identifies what’s really at stake in any negotiation. We share examples that showcase negotiation principles and a different mindset about creating value that benefits both parties involved – more importantly, understanding the views of each party as if they are solving problems rather than making the most out of the negotiation.

    Barry is the co-author of seven books and an online course. Thinking Strategically and The Art of Strategy are two crossover books on game theory with more than 400,000 copies in print. Co-opetition looks beyond zero-sum games to emphasize the potential for cooperating while competing. Why Not? offers a framework for problem-solving and ingenuity. Lifecycle Investing provides a new strategy for retirement investing. Mission in a Bottle tells the story of Honest Tea. His most recent book is Split the Pie, which is based on his negotiation course at SOM. An online version of the negotiation course is available for free on Coursera. It has 400,000 active learners and is the second-highest rating on the Coursera platform.

    In 1998, Barry—together with his former student Seth Goldman—co-founded Honest Tea. In 2011, the company was purchased by Coca-Cola. His second venture, Kombrewcha, is a slightly alcoholic version of kombucha. The company was acquired in 2016 by AB-Inbev. He is currently working to build Real Made Foods.

    He works with many entrepreneurial firms. He serves on the board of Q Drinks (started by his former student Jordan Silbert), Calicraft Beer, and AGP Glass. Alongside startups, he has extensive experience consulting with multinational firms. He advised the NBA in their prior negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association and served on the board of Nationwide Insurance. A graduate of MIT, a Rhodes Scholar, and a Junior Fellow at Harvard’s Society of Fellows, Nalebuff earned his doctorate at Oxford University.

    Get Barry's book here:

    Split the Pie: A Radical New Way to Negotiate. Barry Nalebuff: https://amzn.to/3OiNiJs

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  • Welcome to Strategy Skills episode 250, an episode with one of Silicon Valley’s most renowned business advisors and coaches, Tom Eddington.

    “There's always a challenge, and there's always an opportunity.” - Tom Eddington

    In this episode with Tom, we discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a multitude of issues today – not only for individuals but also for most organizations. One of the biggest problems that every organization has faced because of COVID is retaining employees. Over the last couple of years, we've seen the mass resignation, and it's been a challenge across all industries to attract and retain talent.

    Organizations adapted to a virtual workforce, and people have spent the last two years working remotely; the idea of moving back to a physical location has required a lot of reconsideration. Some companies exhibited higher productivity rates with a reduced workforce during that time. They delivered more financial results but took a tremendous toll as leadership teams are extremely stressed and exhausted. The long-term effects of COVID continue, impacting individuals and organizations.

    COVID has delivered a message to the world – a warning sign. COVID is a knock-on effect of climate change, as opposed to being an epidemic. Climate change is by far the biggest issue we face. As we destroy the ecosystem, we lose biodiversity. This results in bacterial infections and viral infections, which become pandemics such as COVID. We are seeing the impact of climate change, and we are at the most critical decade in human history where we need to do something fundamentally different.

    “Business talks about how we become climate-conscious from today, but I've never heard a business leader talk about what we are going to do about what's already out there.” - Michael

    Tom Eddington works with some of the most influential CEOs and non-profit leaders, advising them on everything from global mergers and organizational change to conscious leadership and work/life integration. He understands the pressures business leaders face. Having spent the last three decades as a consultant, educator, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor, he has dedicated his life to studying and teaching board, leadership, and organization effectiveness – focusing on how they grow, achieve, and sustain effectiveness while remaining stewards for their stakeholders.

    Tom has lived, worked, and studied on six continents, working with leaders across all industry sectors and organization stages of development. His work as a student, mentor, coach, and advisor focuses on conscious leadership. His motto: Take care of matters within yourself to make the most possible impact in the outside world. Tom has sought out opportunities to teach and work in the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors working with industry leaders and most-admired organizations, including HP, W.L. Gore, MBNA Corporation, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Taproot Foundation. He assists organizations in fostering leadership on all levels.

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  • For this episode, let's revisit a Strategy Skills classic where we discuss how to identify a corporate strategy.

    It is actually very simple to know if a study qualifies as a corporate strategy study. Irrespective of what anyone tells you, if you go into a strategy study where the key question – or what we call an objective function – is known to you, then it is not a corporate strategy.

    This is because corporate strategy is not about knowing how to maximize an objective function. It is about choosing the objective function you want to maximize. That is the key difference between corporate strategy and every other kind of strategy.

    So, if you are in consulting, in an internal consulting role, or interested in strategy consulting, you should know there is a significant difference between corporate strategy and the other types of strategy analyses like business unit strategy, market entry strategy, etc. And in this podcast, we explain the two requirements that must exist for an engagement to be a corporate strategy study.

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