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Posts from May 2015


Gustin Partners | May 28, 2015 |

On Being Digital

I think we can all agree that our world is becoming increasingly digitized. Most executives will admit that just about everyone expected some bumps along the way. Even Internet pioneers, a breed of cat known for periodic fits of megalomaniacal delusion have been surprised at how digital everything has become. Marc Andreessen, popular culture’s pudgy face of the future admits:

“If you had told me 10 years ago that we would be living in a time when A] the president of the United States apologizes in the Rose Garden for a web site that doesn’t work and cost $600 million; B] that the major Democratic candidate for President is in serious trouble for running her own e-mail server; or C] that a major Japanese-American corporation would be brought to its knees by nation-state hacking…”

Working with the folks at the College of Engineering at THE Ohio State University and the Olin College of Engineering we have teased out nine insights regarding being digital.... Read more


Gustin Partners | May 08, 2015 |

Communications:  When Candor Counts, Call in a Messenger if Necessary

Advisors such as Gustin Partners sometimes find themselves in the role of messenger, conveying to managers beliefs, points of view or assertions their investors, bosses, colleagues or subordinates don’t want to impart directly—or vice versa.

In the moment, rarely does an advisor have the luxury to step back to ask why it’s being asked to play this role when it ostensibly has been hired to render a more concrete service—raise capital, search for talent, develop strategy, position in a market, etc. It just relays the messages in the course of delivering on the assignment, hoping to stay in everyone’s good graces long enough to stay engaged.

Away from it all and assuming the messenger isn’t shot, it becomes obvious to the advisor as to why such emissary work was necessary. Lack of trust, fear of reprisal/repercussions, shortage of time, etc. are the usual suspects. More elusive, however, is what leads to such circumstances?... Read more


Gustin Partners | May 04, 2015 |

Strategy: A Team Sport That Takes Guts to Play

Why is formulating a strategy so difficult for companies?

The question comes to mind almost every week day as the likes of FT.com, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomerg.com and The New York Times Business/Dealbook sections extol leaders whose strategies are paying off and damn those without such currency.

And it’s not as if there aren’t any blueprints for strategy development to follow. The wonders of the Internet—not to mention the marketing ambitions of Tier 1 consulting firms—bring one nearly countless treatises on strategy from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Strategy&—either directly or through faithful conduits like the HBR, Sloan Review or Knowledge@wharton. Courage, or lack thereof, may hold the answer.... Read more


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