How Scenario Planning Aids Our Decisions

Note: This post applies to both (a) business planning and the firm’s flexibility to change as needed and (b) personal planning and YOUR flexibility to change as necessary. In either case, we must be able to adapt to an uncertain future.

Scenario planning involves planning for the future by understanding that different marketplace outcomes may occur in response to any strategy and that each possible marketplace outcome must be planned for to avoid the worst case scenario.

Here’s a simple example: Suppose that a major soda company introduces a new non-carbonated cola beverage into the marketplace. These are just a few scenarios that are possible:

  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profit rise.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but slightly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profits rise slightly.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but greatly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues stay the same, and profits fall somewhat due to the investment in the new item.
  • The sales of the new beverage do not meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues rise very little, and profits fall a lot due to the investment in the new item.

The premise of scenario planning is to anticipate the possibility of each of these outcomes occurring and have in place a pre-planned framework (contingency plan) to deal with each scenario.

Recently, Shardul Phadnis, Chris Caplice, and Yossi Sheffi wrote an article for the MIT Soan Management Review titled “How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions.” The authors reached three major conclusions:

  1. The use of multiple scenarios is not necessarily an antidote for overconfidence. One should not assume that simply using multiple scenarios to evaluate a long-range decision will help alleviate the negative effects of decision makers’ overconfidence in their own judgment.”
  2. Scenarios influence judgment — and their content matters. More than half the judgments in our studies changed after single-scenario evaluations. Scenario users became more favorable of investing in an element — either by increasing confidence in their original recommendation to invest, decreasing confidence in their original recommendation to not invest, or changing their recommendation to favor the investment — when they found the element useful in a scenario.”
  3. “The use of multiple scenarios can nudge executives towards more flexible strategies. Executives often choose strategies optimized for a particular environment. While such strategies may perform well in the environment envisioned at the time of their implementation, they may not be easily adaptable to new opportunities or in response to unexpected threats.  Under such circumstances, evaluating strategic decisions using multiple scenarios can help executives appreciate the importance of choosing more flexible assets or approaches — even if doing so is not the most optimal choice for present-day conditions.”

Click the image to access the article.

 

 

Beware of Ransomware!!

The term “ransom” has been around for hundreds of years and is best described as a way to redeem someone from captivity, bondage, detention, etc., by paying a demanded price.

Today, we have another destructive variation of the word ransom — that is “ransomware.” What is it and what can we do about it?

TechRepublic recently produced Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, written by James Sanders. This is an executive summary quoted from the guide:

  • What is it? Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.
  • Why does it matter? Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, criminal organizations are increasingly relying on such attacks to generate profits.
  • Who does this affect? While home users have traditionally been the targets, healthcare and the public sector have been targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.
  • When is this happening? Ransomware has been an active and ongoing threat since September 2013.
  • How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack? A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

Sanders adds: “For those who have been infected, the No More Ransom project — a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security — provides decryption tools for many widespread ransomware types.

Here are a couple of informative infographics by LogRhythm:


How to Be More Self-Confident and Motivated

Click the image below to download the FREE book Personal Confidence & Motivation from MTD Training. [Note: A simple login is required. Select working as your option.]

“Do you have the self-belief and confidence to make a difference? Do you ‘just know’ that you’ll succeed no matter what? Do you know what motivates and gets you going? And do you know how to tap into the motivations of other people? In this book, you’ll find the answers to all of these questions and much more besides! You’ll understand how to build your own confidence levels and how to generate confidence in an instant. You’ll then move onto the topic of motivation and you’ll be able to really understand this area of personal development.”

 

 

Tips for Students to Be More Marketable

Want to get the best job and career path possible? If you are still a student, there are several suggestions. [If you are currently working, some of these suggestions apply to you too.]

According to Tim Green, writing for The Conversation, here are 10 tips to help students become more employable:

  1. Get involved in university life — “Besides meeting new people you can learn new skills, particularly if you are involved in organizing events or take on a leadership role in the society.”
  2. Ask career services for professional advice — “Many people wait until they have nearly finished their courses, but it is better if you can work with it [career services] from your first year. It can help you choose a suitable career and advise what employers are looking for in a new recruit. Make sure you get advice on your resume and attend a session to practice your interview skills.”
  3. Keep a record — “You will have a record of your grades but you also need to be able to tell employers the skills you have developed and how you use them.”
  4. Get good grades — “While high grades aren’t everything, many organizations still ask for your GPA.”
  5. Volunteering — “Companies like employing people who have given their time for free as it shows you are prepared to help others to try to make a difference. If you don’t have time to volunteer every week you may be able to help out on a special project.”
  6. Work experience — “Many students work part-time, and gaining work experience as part of your degree really improves your employment opportunities. Whether it is a short internship or a 12-month sandwich placement you will be gaining hands-on, practical experience.”
  7. Networking — “It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Attend careers fairs and company presentations to speak to the people involved in recruiting graduates. Also create a professional social media profile. LinkedIn is the largest network though there may be others specific to the industry you want to enter.”
  8. Understand the graduate job market — “Each organization has its own approach to recruitment, so research the company and tailor your application. Timing your applications and fitting them around your exams/coursework is important.”
  9. Be flexible and mobile — “If you are prepared to move, you will increase the number of jobs for which you can apply.”
  10. Be confident — “If you get through to the later stages of interviews, remember you have earned the right to be there. The company has seen potential in you and wants to find out more. There is a job out there for everyone; you just need to be persistent to find the right one for you.

 
Click the image to read more.


 

Zarb Events Preceding the Presidential Debate at HU

As Hofstra University gets ready to host the September 26 presidential debate, we are pleased that the Zarb School of Business will host two of the many pre-debate events being held on campus.

Check www.hofstra.edu/debate for more information on the debate and the related events — and to see event updates.

  • Tuesday, September 13, 4-6 p.m.
    Panel Discussion: World of Work
    The typical employment relationship has changed drastically over the last few decades and will continue to evolve as the millennials assume leadership positions in organizations and technological advances shape the world of work. Employers strive to create organizational cultures that are responsive to workers and support various work-life-balance initiatives while navigating a myriad of employment legislations that frame the relationship. From the type of work to the methods of collaborating and producing, organizations are facing transformative decisions regarding the optimal form of strategy and structure to remain competitive. What should the new employment relationship look like? How can employers balance competing interests and still move the economy forward?

Sponsored by the Frank G. Zarb School of Business.
Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library
Host: Janet Lenaghan, Vice Dean, Zarb School of Business

  • Wednesday, September 21, 4-6 p.m.
    Panel Discussion: Analytics and Decision Making
    Big data is getting more precise, more accessible, faster and cheaper. Analytics software is becoming increasingly more advanced and widespread. As a result, the proliferation of data and advances in new technology enable private business, government, education and the military to make better decisions, faster and cheaper. The world of business is changing. The economy is changing. The impact and value of analytics in major sectors of our economy will be discussed by the panel.

Sponsored by the Frank G. Zarb School of Business.
Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library, First Floor
Contact: Janet Lenaghan, Vice Dean, Zarb School of Business

 

Zarb Students Honored Again!!

Our undergraduate students participated in the 2015-2016 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge by Facebook and were announced one of the winners of the competition. In particular, Hofstra won the “2nd Place Silver.” There were more than 225 entries in this year’s worldwide competition, which were judged by 58 seasoned professionals across the marketing industry at companies such as Domino’s Pizza, Ernst & Young, Fidelity Investments, The Fossil Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Guthy/Renker, Thomson Reuters, Worldvision International, and more. From among 30 semifinalists, Facebook’s judges made the final determinations for 1st Place Gold, 2nd Place Silver, 3rd Place Bronze, and Honorable Mentions.

This year’s marketing challenge centered on the social media network Facebook. Each team was asked to create an integrated marketing campaign/plan  with the goal of increasing the awareness and consideration of Custom Audiences. This year, Facebook was proud to partner with Marketing EDGE to sponsor this year’s ECHO Challenge.

The Zarb Student Silver Winners of the Marketing EDGE 2016 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge are: Elaina Levenson, Jordan Richmond, Dolly Schuttinger, and Julia Rondeau. Faculty Advisor: Professor Songpol Kulviwat, Department of Marketing & International Business.

With this award, our Hofstra students on the Silver-winning team split a cash prize $1,000. In addition, Marketing EDGE awarded $2,500 in scholarships to Hofstra University’s Department of Marketing and International Business.

Please join us in congratulating the above students for their outstanding works and won the second place “Silver” this year.

Here is our winning commercial:

Note: The Marketing EDGE is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing. The organization is the only national nonprofit solely committed to affecting the lives of thousands of students and shaping the marketing industry of the future as diverse, inclusive, and highly skilled. (www.facebook.com/marketingEDGEorg)

Do Better in Your Professional Networking

If you are not heavily involved in professional networking, you are probably doing yourself — and your career — a disservice.

Consider these observations from Lindsay Kolowich, writing for HubSpot:

“When done right, networking is an incredibly valuable investment of every professional’s time and effort. It helps us make meaningful business connections, get feedback, and advance our careers. And best of all, it pays significant dividends over time. So why does it seem so unpleasant sometimes? It can feel fake, it’s exhausting, and frankly, standing alone in a sea of unknown faces with nametags and cheese plates can be utterly painful.”

According to Kolowich, here are common networking mistakes that people make:

  • “You’re waiting to build your network until you need it most.”
  • “You aren’t keeping up your personal brand.”
  • “You’re afraid to attend networking events by yourself.”
  • “You don’t follow up with personal messages.”
  • “You ask the same questions everyone else is asking.”
  • “You dominate networking conversations.”
  • You’re overeager.”
  • You don’t venture outside your existing network.”
  • “You don’t ask for anything, or you ask for too much.”

Click the image to read a lot more.