Rethinking Business as Usual

PCMA Business School Speakers Help Meeting Professionals Stand Out From the Competition

Kaihan Krippendorff

Kaihan Krippendorff

Today’s PCMA Business School sessions reimagine old thinking in business. Speakers Kaihan Krippendorff and David Burkus will lead programs — brought to you by Synchronicities — to help meeting professionals stand out from the competition.

Krippendorff is the CEO of New York City-based strategic innovation firm Outthinker, a lecturer for Wharton Executive Education, and the author of Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore. He’ll present “Disruptive Choices: Outthinking the Competition” from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Specifically, Krippendorff will explore the eight dimensions of competition, examine what he has termed the “Fourth Option,” and instruct attendees on how making disruptive choices in their business strategy can increase their competitive edge.

“The most successful innovators are using strategies that more traditional companies would never have imagined,” Krippendorff said. “They are creating an entirely new playbook.”

The rules of business have changed, and professionals are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of rivals, as well as a new form of competition. In fact, Krippendorff says those disruptive choices actually help organizations grow more quickly and generate higher profit margins.

Krippendorff, who has more than a decade of experience studying corporate conflict, blends Eastern philosophy, military theory, and modern business strategy in his presentations to teach executives, managers, and business owners how to seize opportunities others ignore. Companies such as Microsoft, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson have successfully implemented his innovative approach, which involves looking beyond the three options most people assume they have.

“When others say there are just three options, great innovators look beyond to see different solutions,” Krippendorff said. “People who have significantly impacted the world — from Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi to Larry Page and Sergey Brin — share one thing in common. They see strategic options that others do not see. The ability to think beyond the three options and see a fourth is the source of all competitive advantage.”

David Burkus

David Burkus

Likewise, Burkus, author of The Myths of Creativity and the forthcoming Under New Management, and an associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will share competitive strategy in his presentation, “Under New Management,” from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Attendees will be introduced to a revolutionary way of building and leading teams, walk away with evidence-based strategies and real-world examples to drive performance and build stronger teams, and learn to break old management rules to increase productivity.

Burkus will share research showing that many current, fundamental management practices are misguided. His insights are convincing organizations to leave behind old practices to implement new ways to enhance productivity and morale.

“These days, the best companies are breaking the old and tired rules,”Burkus said. “For example, in some firms, email is now restricted to only certain hours, so that employees can work without distraction. Netflix no longer has a standard vacation policy of two to three weeks, but instructs employees to take time off when they feel they need it. And at Valve Software, there are no managers; the employees govern themselves. And this is just the beginning.”

According to Burkus, current management practices can be downright counterproductive. In fact, he believes most organizations today are still working about as efficiently as the internal combustion engine. Burkus points to extensive research from Gallup indicating that only 13 percent of workers around the globe are engaged in their work. In the United States, the number is somewhat higher, at around 30 percent. Lack of engagement is the culprit, according to Burkus.

“Engaged employees bring more of their mental energy every day to their work. It’s not a perfect equivalent to engine efficiency, but it’s not that far off,” Burkus said. “It’s no surprise, then, that the organizations that engage a higher percentage of individuals experience greater profitability than their unengaging competitors.”