Resources from and for the C-suite on navigating strategic decision-making.
New Boss, New Strategy at Hugo Boss
Over the course of 18 months ending in October, German retailer Hugo Boss saw the value of its shares fall by almost 50 percent. The primary culprits? A devaluation of the brand (which has seen prices cut in department stores as well as much of its merchandise moved to discount shops) and poor performance in China. Leadership had some tough decisions to make. Fortunately, CEO Mark Langer—who was promoted from CFO in the middle of the fray—has been unafraid to make them. In October, he announced the brand would no longer pursue the luxury market (and move away from womenswear), instead returning to its premium men’s clothing roots. “The effort to make in-roads in the luxury market didn’t prove to be particularly helpful for our business,” he told German newspaper Handelsblatt.
Need a new podcast to follow? Check out Rationally Speaking. Every two weeks, the series hosted by Center for Applied Rationality co-founder Julia Galef explores a different angle of decision-making with a thought leader. In a December episode, for instance, Stanford University Professor of Health and Policy John Ioannidis discusses evidence-based medicine, a movement that advocates for doctors to use quantitative methods when determining treatments rather than intuition or prevailing common wisdom.
Break out of unhealthy mental habits—check out these apps to help you focus, stay calm and wake up more refreshed.
Stop, Breathe & Think provides customized meditations based on your current state of mind. Developing a sense of mindfulness can help you stay focused, present and calm, according to stopbreathethink.org. It can offer vital support while making tough business decisions.
The music on [email protected] is specifically selected to facilitate intense focus. The songs have no lyrics and their sequence aims to induce what the site calls a flow state—which is why it has no pause button.
Grogginess can result from waking up in the wrong sleep phase. To avoid this, Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase. The goal: to feel refreshed when you get out of bed.
This Is Your Life: Balancing Act
The average CEO works 10 to 11 hours per day Click To Tweet, according to a survey by CEO.com and software company Domo. That does not leave much time for family. Here are some balancing tricks top CEOs recommend.
1. Keep track: Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Dell subsidiary VMware, has his secretary maintain a family-time balance sheet with point accruals, he told The Wall Street Journal. Coming home at 5 p.m. earns him two points, while a 6:15 p.m. arrival wins him one point. Points are deducted any time he spends weekend days away from his family.
Similarly, Bloomin’ Brands CEO Liz Smith uses a “time bank account,” according to Joann S. Lublin’s book Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons From Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World. Her goal is four hours a day with her sons. If work causes her to fall short, she makes up the deficit the following week. “Some days, I would cancel my meetings that morning because I was in the hole to them,” she said in the book.
2. Be ruthless with your calendar: In Earning It, former Yahoo and Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz recalled saying to her assistant during one scheduling rendezvous, “I don’t care if the pope comes to audit us. I am going to [my daughter’s] Christmas Sing.” Eric Poirier of investment management software company Addepar told The Wall Street Journal he marks dedicated family time on a calendar that everyone in the company can see so they know he has a life outside work—and they should too.
Ms. Lublin suggested regular family meetings to organize schedules, sometimes a year in advance, so everyone’s needs can be addressed.
3. Meet in the airport: Traveling is a large part of being a successful executive, so why not make the most of your time in the airport? For example, because Ms. Smith of Bloomin’ Brands and her husband both travel frequently, in the past they have arranged catch-up meals at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to Earning It. “I was flying out and he was flying in. We would see each other in passing,” she recalled.