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»Riding the Waves of Healthcare Risk
The modern healthcare system is much like the ocean—stormy, choppy, and hostile at times, soothing, calm and inviting at others. For surfers, the more waves you go for, the more you will catch, and the more likely you’ll “wipe-out.”
»The Department of Defense Wants a New Mantra
“Do more with less.” It’s become a tired refrain that U.S. Department of Defense leadership is all too familiar with hearing from all directions, whether it is their direct superiors, Congress, or the Executive.
»Things Go Wrong
Things go wrong. Anyone who plays poker knows this. One moment you’re on the verge of a royal flush, and the next, you pull a six of diamonds, and you’re called. Things do indeed go wrong.
»The Next Big Thing
Consultants are always looking for the next big thing, the innovation that will see clients storming through their gates, bypassing pesky procurement departments, and writing blank checks for the magic mousetrap that whitens and brightens and cleans windows, too.
»JP Morgan and The Whale: A Parable
After a tumultuous period of banking hyper-regulation after 2008, no one would have suspected in 2012 that JP Morgan, the world’s largest bank, had ineffective controls in place that left the company flat-footed when its “rogue” trader had taken untenable, long-term positions on Credit Default Swaps.
»Optimizing Manufacturing Strategy
Bloomberg News recently reported that GE intends to use 3D printers to produce 85,000 fuel nozzles for its newest jet engine, a significant leap for a technology that until now has largely been confined to prototyping tasks.
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»Marriott Goes Big in NYC
Marriott International, Inc. and G Holdings opened what they’re calling an “iconic addition” to the New York skyline, a combined 378-room Courtyard hotel and 261-suite Residence Inn hotel in midtown Manhattan. The $320 million, 68-story property is the tallest single-use hotel in North America.
»Best Places to Stay: Travel Bounces Back
Consultants are on the road again, at least according to the results of our annual Best Places to Stay survey.
»FAA: ‘Staffing Challenges’ Causing Delays
In case you haven’t noticed, non-weather related delays at U.S. airports are on the rise. (And I know you’ve noticed that weather-related delays are definitely on the rise.)
»Hilton’s Building Boom
Coming off a whirlwind 2012, Hilton Worldwide is the fastest growing global hospitality company by number of rooms.
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»Excerpt: Procurement as Productivity
The following is an excerpt from the book Procurement 20/20: Supply Entrepreneurship in a Changing World by a quartet of McKinsey & Company consultants—Peter Spiller, Nicolas Reinecke, Drew Ungerman and Henrique Teixera.
»Review: The Risk-Driven Business Model
Most companies focus their innovation on new products.
»Review: Lead Positive
Today’s business leaders face intense pressure to deliver results in an uncertain, chaotic, and high-stress business environment.
»Review: Step Up
No matter what your title or place in the organization chart, you have the potential to be a leader.
»The Three Rules
Earlier this year, Deloitte Consulting’s Mumtaz Ahmed and Michael Raynor published The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think. The authors set out to answer what was, in their mind, the ultimate business question—how do some companies achieve exceptional performance over the long haul?
»Thinking in New Boxes
Creativity is key if you are to thrive in a time of accelerating change, according to The Boston Consulting Group’s Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny.
»Where They Are Now: Lisa Gardner
Lisa Gardner’s consulting career was cut short by a husband who savagely murdered 10 women. The psychopathic spouse is the villain in Gardner’s 1998 best-selling suspense novel, The Perfect Husband (Bantam). Gardner penned the book late at night following her long days as a young research analyst with Mercer Management (now Oliver Wyman) in Boston during the mid-1990s.
A self-professed “research geek,” Gardner says her time as a consultant gave her the skills and confidence to follow a line of investigation while delving into new topics. “What brought me to both writing and consulting is my passion for research,” she says from her home in New Hampshire.
Gardner published three romance novels before she finished college. “You don’t publish a novel and then hang up your hat,” she notes. To quench her thirst for research, and economic stability, Gardner joined Mercer in 1993. For two years, she worked 12-hour days and then returned home to write fiction from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. She ultimately produced 13 romance novels, including one (The Midnight Hour) that was made into a TV-movie.
Needing a change, Gardner soon switched her focus to suspense novels toward the end of her two-year stint with Mercer—an experience that provided a supportive network, research opportunities and fodder for her books. “All of the research analysts sat together,” she recalls. “And we would nominate different vice presidents to kill off.”
She credits her two years in the profession with imparting proficiencies she uses as a novelist. “I learned a lot about marketing. And marketing is everything in publishing,” Gardner asserts. “The other thing you learn as a research analyst that really comes in handy [as a novelist] is cold-calling. We were assigned a lot of cold calls, and that’s still how I conduct a lot of my research. I need to know how hanging bodies decompose outdoors, so I look up a company on the Internet and make the phone call.”
Prior to her experience as a research analyst, Gardner says she was interested in .writing suspense novels, but felt too intimated by the genre. Most suspense novelists are former cops, crime reporters or lawyers who sprinkle precise details culled from first-hand experience into their stories.
“Once I felt confident as a research analyst, I started to realize that I could write bigger novels, ones that pay a lot more” Gardner notes. The advance from The Perfect Husband, which became her first book with Bantam and a New York Times best-seller, gave Gardner enough of a financial cushion to take a crack at becoming a full-time writer.
Her former colleagues at Mercer remained supportive of her efforts after she left the firm. “During the first year after I left [consulting] I was living on baloney because I had to make the advance last,” she says. “And everyone [among her group of friends at the firm] took me to dinner and invited me over.”
It was a short-lived regression. Since leaving consulting, Gardner has completed a dozen more suspense novels, including most recently The Neighbor (Bantam, 2009), which consistently place in the upper reaches of best-seller lists. Her web site, http://www.lisagardner.com, demonstrates her marketing chops: her fictional attacks on old consulting superiors has evolved into a “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” program in which fans can nominate friends (or foes) to be featured in her upcoming novels.
“I still think my two years as a consultant
were probably the most valuable years of my education,” says Gardner. “Publishing is a numbers game, and I’m pretty levelheaded about understanding that it is a business. [Publishing] is really about spreadsheets, and to feel confident
wading through it is huge.”