I’m sure Multi-Level Marketing has been around since ancient days. Send out street urchins to sell stuff and take a big chunk of their income. Get them to recruit other homeless kids and let them have a share of what their protegé earns.
But Multi-Level Marketing (or MLM) is big business now, with one estimate* putting it at around the US$200 billion per annum mark, worldwide.
So, we have to ask:
- What is Multi-Level Marketing?
- How does it work?
- Is it a good way to earn a living (here’s a spoiler: no)?
- And how do you spot an MLM scheme if offered one?
Continue reading Multi-Level Marketing (MLM): Pyramid Schemes?
We take it for granted when new products appear on the market. Perhaps they were made by elves! Well, they must have been made by someone, who followed a process. And that process was the New Product Development, or NPD, process.
The New Product Development process is now mature and well understood. There are many ways to articulate it, and none is that different from what mediaeval craftsmen would have used. But it’s still a big idea. And it’s an idea every manager should at least be familiar with.
Continue reading New Product Development – NPD: Something Shiny to Sell
Servant Leadership is one of my personal favourite Big Ideas in the field of management and leadership. It’s been a discipline to push it this far back in our series of Big Ideas.
And we did cover Servant Leadership within our Management Thinkers series. The article on Robert Greenleaf describes the genesis of the idea.
So, in this article, I want to discuss the idea of Servant Leadership in the way I understand it, and introduce a second voice to Greenleaf’s: that of Max De Pree*.
Continue reading Servant Leadership: Lightning Rod
Sometimes a Big Idea gets inflated beyond its carrying capacity. People latch onto it without fully understanding it. It becomes over-used and, despite its validity, it becomes devalued. Such is the fate of Thomas Kuhn’s idea of the Paradigm Shift.
How many times in your life have you noticed that, somehow, there has been a substantial change in the way you – and others around you – think about something important? It seems to happen more and more often. Is this a real effect or what getting older feels like?
Or is it just because we have a label for these changes? We call them paradigm shifts. In the 1980s we might have called them quantum leaps, with even less justification. No, they are just changes.
So, what then is a paradigm shift, and how do they come about?
Continue reading Paradigm Shift: A Revolutionary Change in Thinking
There aren’t many ideas so big that we use them every day – often without thinking. But the PDCA Cycle, Plan-Do-Check-Act, is one.
The PDCA Cycle comes with many names and none. It’s pretty much something humans have been doing since the dawn of time. But that doesn’t diminish the idea.
So, what is the PDCA Cycle, and how has it evolved?
Continue reading PDCA Cycle: Continuous Improvement with Shewhart and Deming
The Long Tail is the other half of the same chart we saw in an earlier Big Ideas article: the Pareto Principle. Vilfredo Pareto took an interest in the head of the chart, where a small number of people accounted for a huge proportion of wealth. In 2006, Chris Anderson published a book that looked at the huge number of products that form the remainder, when you exclude the few that account for the majority of sales.
How many categories of item does Amazon list? I found the statistic from January 2018 that:
Amazon lists more than 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide.
But most of their sales and revenue come from the top few highest performing goods in each category. A small number of books may sell thousands a month. But there are millions of books that rarely sell any in a given month… or year.
Continue reading The Long Tail: Infinite Consumer Choice
Seth Godin is a marketer and a communicator. His stream of valuable ideas about 21st century marketing is something we’ve written about before. And we’ve featured his idea of Permission Marketing in a previous Big Ideas article. But perhaps the most resonant of his ideas is that of Tribes. This is the idea that marketers need to lead change. And we do that by building a coalition of the willing: a tribe of like-minded people who share our vision.
What I like best about Godin’s idea of Tribes is that it works well on two totally different levels. And different managers in our readership will find greatest resonance in one or the other. The idea of tribes can be about:
- leading change to build a better future
- creating demand for a new product, idea, or service
So, Tribes is a big idea about change leadership or about marketing… or maybe about both.
Continue reading Tribes: From Shared Interest to Change
Can there be some big ideas that underpin the emergence of others? That’s a question that James McGregor Burns tackled in much of his writing. And the answer he gives us is ‘yes’. That big idea is Transformational Leadership.
It’s not surprising that leadership is a common topic for us, here at the Management Pocketblog. There must be a dozen different models to choose from among our articles. But Transformational Leadership is one we have returned to a number of times.
We do so, because it repays careful study. It is an idea that changed my thinking and has huge value for any manager or leader in business or public or community service.
Continue reading Transformational Leadership: Values-driven Change
It turns out that you aren’t as rational as you may have thought. So, traditional economic theories that assume you are, are… well, flawed. We need an approach that accounts for self-interest and lazy mental short-cuts. Enter Behavioural Economics.
We’ve already told the foundation story of Behavioural Economics in our Management Thinkers series. There we looked at the two men who received Nobel Prizes in Economics for their work in the field:
- Daniel Kahneman won his in 2002
- Richard Thaler won his in 2017
Continue reading Behavioural Economics: You aren’t as Rational as You Think
Here at Management Pocketblog, we love the ideas that come out of Japanese manufacturing. And none more so than the 5S approach to creating and maintaining an efficient workspace.
Originating with the work of Hiroyuki Hirano, and rapidly adopted into the Toyota Production System, 5S is now an essential part of Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time processes. It has also been adopted into the Six Sigma quality process tool set.
Continue reading 5S: Organise Your Workplace