How a book transformed my perspective on successful negotiation

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Adobe Stock / By CurvaBezier

My career started in sales, and I quickly realized that I was not equipped for success. I had been formally trained. I even graduated from my business school with a major in International Sales and Marketing! Yet, it did not really prepare me for the central aspect of selling: the art of negotiation. Over the years, I attended different training programs, read many books. I tried to believe in the widespread win-win mentality prevalent in US society, but it only gave me a false sense of success.

Whatever I did, I still felt unprepared for impactful negotiations. This was quite embarrassing, as negotiation is at the heart of everything we do as a social human being — no need to be in sales. …

The power of mental models for better decision-making

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Adobe Stock / By lchumpitaz

We all face the challenge of making decisions with limited data. Some will say it’s the nature of leadership jobs, but there must be ways to help you improve your decision-making skills in the face of incomplete data and uncertainty! I’ve personally experienced many nail-biting situations when handling complex problems. Here’s one from the past few years:

We’re six months from the holiday season, securing our products’ retail placement. The internal war over forecasts is raging:

  • Product management is bullish and wants to increase the forecast based on the favorable reaction from major retailers. …

COVID is helping us revisit what great Leadership really means

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By jamesteohart

For years, I believed that leading by example was the catalyst to being a great leader. Take all the needed leadership traits and practice them every day.

It served me well, up to a certain point. But, I soon realized the limitations. Trying to be a hero every day was falling short in too many areas. I was lacking an essential foundation. I went on and studied leadership trying to spot what a great business leader’s traits are. …

For Success, Obsess Over Your Customer Instead of Competition!

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Adobe Stock / By Andrey Burmakin

“If you are competitor focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.” — Jeff Bezos

I love browsing product pages on web sites! I especially enjoy looking at how some companies are positioning their products against the competition. You know, these well-crafted competitive analysis matrices that magically show the company’s solutions in their best light, always crushing the competition.

What a waste of time and credibility!

In most cases, such analysis is showing a somewhat distorted reality. …

Success is still possible despite the GAFAM superpowers.

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Adobe Stock

It’s getting harder for smaller tech companies to experience success in the era of GAFAM’s (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft) dominance. The latest news is littered with examples of failed startups, aborted IPO’s, and further reluctance from investors. It’s all exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. What still looked like a good recipe for success one year ago is now questionable at best.

Is there still hope for tech companies that don’t leverage one way or another the ecosystems created by the BIG Five? Is it better to avoid the categories covered by the BIG FIVE?

Common sense would make you think it is. However, even if you identify a specific domain that’s relatively free of current risk from the BIG FIVE, there are a few conditions to meet to ensure success. …

Customer Empathy Will Make You a Stronger Leader

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Adobe Stock / By paul_craft

2020 has been our worst nightmare to-date, with its dose of pandemic, natural disasters, economic destruction, and increasing political tensions worldwide. Yet, despite all this horror, we start to see an emerging trend, a silver lining: 2020 will also be remembered as the year of empathy.

There are many definitions of empathy, but my preferred one is:

“The ability to walk in someone else’s shoes.” In other words, understanding where they’re coming from, their value system, what’s influencing them, their aspirations…

No need to agree with your findings, but the more you can build a 360-degree view of the person you want to understand, the better. …

Be a change agent, and save your business in times of crisis.

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Adobe Stock / By deagreez

In these times of COVID-19 and dizzying change, more leaders have a hard time assessing whether their business is going to make it or not. Of course, you have the few industries that are blessed to be in the exact right place at the right time. Chances are you’re faring well if you’re in home-based solutions, remote working technology, or health-protective devices. At least once you have figured out how to handle the surge in demand.

But what about the rest of us? How can we increase our survival chances and actually thrive in these times of significant shifts? I recently wrote an article about it: “Times of Crisis: Should you Think like your CFO?“. It covers a few fundamental principles to keep in mind as we face the COVID-19 crisis. More specifically, how to make sure you find the right balance between securing short-term cash and keeping innovating for the long haul. These are necessary strategic product and business principles, but they’re not enough. You also need to act on the ways you go-to-market and evolve accordingly. …

Crisis management is about finding the right balance between the short and long-term.

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Adobe Stock / By REDPIXEL

COVID-19 has brought the world to his knees. I’m having fascinating conversations on it these days with product and business leaders. They are genuinely struggling in these crisis times with extreme shifts in our environments, professions, and personal lives.

One of the central questions is whether business leaders should play it safe or whether now is the time to place strategic bets and take some calculated risks.

The good news is that we have insightful lessons from the past. After more than twenty years spent with “Corporate America,” I realize the ability to build resilience and adapt is paramount. …

With the right pricing and channel strategy, Amazon can be your best business accelerator

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Adobe Stock / By Oleksandr

If you have been selling and marketing your products on Amazon for some time, I trust you have some pricing horror stories to share! Mine looks like the following: it was one of these moments I had feared would happen for a while. My sales director called me first thing in the morning, saying:

“Tanguy, we’ve got a problem with Amazon. They have lowered their price again on product A, and now Best Buy wants to delist us, as they just cannot match Amazon’s price. We risk losing 30% of our revenue…”

How do you fix such a situation? Or even better, how do you prevent from getting in such a mess in the first place?

Only a paradigm shift will save you from red ocean death…

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Adobe Stock / By Romolo Tavani

If you know me personally, you might think of me as a runner. I mean a serious runner who finished more than thirty marathons on all seven continents. You might not realize I’m also a great surfer! No, not the kind who will wake up at 5 am to brave the cold Pacific Ocean waters.

I’m a red ocean surfer!

Let me explain… I’ve been surfing the “commoditization” wave in red oceans for the past fifteen years at companies like Avid and Plantronics. I can tell you it’s not my definition of “Fun”! A red ocean market exists when you and your competitors are engaged in cutthroat fights in an established category. It often turns bloody (hence the red ocean term, I suppose!). Even if you are adept at value-based pricing, it becomes complicated to stand out in a red ocean market. Commoditization happens, and you get to the point of losing your uniqueness. …


Tanguy Leborgne

I’m a senior executive with deep expertise in general management. I’m particularly passionate about business, product, and marketing optimization.

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