Leong ChowPong

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Sales Teams Need More (and Better) Coaching

On the ride back from Redwood City to San Francisco, my manager John and I hardly said a word to each other. We’d just left the headquarters of Oracle, and one of my worst sales calls ever. During the meeting, I had done my best to identify specific objectives the company might have that would …

Why Individuals No Longer Rule on Sales Teams

Companies have long developed and managed their sales people differently from other employees, placing great emphasis on individual performance. To foster it, they often give sales its own learning and development team, recruiting specialists, compensation plan, and management and IT systems — but …

The Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs

Almost five years ago, I was sitting in the conference room of one of the world’s largest insurance companies, trying to push the idea of social customer relationship management to their corporate marketing team. I showed them the power of Twitter and Facebook, and painted pictures of how they …

The Twelve Sales Metrics that Matter Most

Sales is both an art and a science. It is the skillful combination of emotion and logic, people and process, free-thinking and organization. I recently conducted an extensive research project involving more than one-hundred vice presidents of sales at top technology companies (software, cloud, …

Tips for Energizing Your Exhausted Employees

Even though the people in your unit are overstretched, scarred by the budget ax, and sick to death of change, you’re about to present them with a wrenching new challenge.<p>It’s your job to get them excited about it. What’s your plan?<p>I have a story about just such a situation, and, oddly enough, a …

Use Your Sales Force’s Competitive Intelligence Wisely

The vast majority of your marketing data, whether from purchases or surveys, tells you about your business customers’ past behaviors. But the past is over. Your job as a manager is to know what your customers will do next month or next year. Who has data about the future?<p>Your salespeople, that’s …

If You’re Going to Change Your Culture, Do It Quickly

Culture change is a bear. The conventional wisdom is that it takes years to change a culture, defined as the assumed beliefs and norms that govern “the way we do things around here.” And few organizations explicitly use culture as a way to drive business performance, or even believe it could make …

Strategy: The Uniqueness Challenge

CEOs often complain that the financial markets just don’t get their companies’ strategies. For years I assumed that this was just sour grapes and that capital markets were actually rather good at assessing the quality of corporate strategies. Along with most other academics and the financial …

Don’t Just Create Value; Capture It

In my recent HBR article, <i>The New Dynamics of Competition</i>, I present a new analytical tool called Value Network Maps, which I explain below.<p>These Maps are an outgrowth of exciting new work by strategy scholars developing a mathematical model of firm strategy that I refer to as the Value Capture …

Case Study: Escaping the Discount Trap

“Beautiful,” Cora Milano said, looking up at the soaring spires and gothic arches of the immense charity hospital.<p>Her colleague, Augusto Tolentino, barely paused. He was in a hurry to get to their meeting — and to make a point to Cora.<p>The two worked together at Bosi e Faora, a São Paulo-based …

Reinvigorate a Disengaged Sales Force

A stunning 70% of U.S. workers say they are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” with their work, according to Gallup’s ongoing study of the American workplace from 2010 through 2012. Sales reps — the people who represent your firm with customers — are not an exception. What must you do, at a …

The Big Lesson from Twelve Good Decisions

How is it that managers facing high-stakes decisions, despite all the resources and knowledge available to them, often make them so poorly? In large part, it’s because their whole perspective on decision-making is wrong. Managers think of major decisions as choices they must make in order for the …

Dismantling the Sales Machine

Sales leaders have long fixated on process discipline. They have created opportunity scorecards, qualification criteria, and activity metrics—all part of a formal sales process designed to help their team members replicate the approaches of star performers. This is the world of the sales machine, …

The Three Decisions You Need to Own

CEOs face countless decisions. The best executives understand which ones they need to focus on and which ones they can delegate. While the obvious decisions that CEOs need to get right involve strategy and competitive advantage, too many executives delegate away three critical decisions that they …

The Eight-Minute Test That Can Reveal Your Effectiveness as a Leader

How can I determine if I am a good leader, or perhaps even a great one? What are my strengths, and do any rise to the very highest levels? I know I have some weaknesses (as everyone does), but are any of them so appalling as to derail my career?<p>Many people have asked us those questions over the …

Safe drinking water disappearing fast in Bangladesh - study

Water access in remote areas is worsening, in part because of climate change, but even Dhaka is facing big problems<p>DHAKA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters …

World Bank

Documenting a flight over Borneo’s rainforest (photos)

In November 2012 I had an amazing opportunity to do a flyover of parts of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. We went from Sandakan to the Danum Valley …

In Cambodia, China Fuels Deadly Illegal Logging Trade

On April 26, 2012, Cambodian environmentalist Chut Wutty was killed during an investigation into illegal logging in the country’s arcane Cardamom …

Pricing Strategies People Love

An interview with <b>Sandeep Baliga</b> and <b>Jeff Ely</b>, professors at the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University. For more, see The Power of Purple Pricing.<p>SARAH GREEN: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Sarah Green. I’m talking today with Sandeep Baliga and Jeff …

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

For all of the books (thousands) written on leadership, individuals (millions) who have participated in leadership seminars and dollars (billions) invested in leadership development, too many leadership experts still fail to distinguish between the practice of leadership and the exercise of …

The Power of Purple Pricing

Any business trying to sell its products profitably must have some idea of what sales and hence revenue would be at different prices. Suppose we double our prices. Sales will fall, but will margins go up so much that it is worth it? Suppose we halve our prices. Margins will fall, but will sales go …

A Better Way to Think About Your Business Model

The business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create …

Finding Your Place in the Competitive Jungle

<i>It’s a jungle out there.</i><p>While this simple phrase has been used time and time again to discuss the many obstacles people and companies face, an animal metaphor does describe required innovation actions rather effectively.<p>Imagine a 2×2 matrix with size on the y-axis and speed on the x-axis. Size can …

Thatcher’s Greatest Strength Was Her Greatest Weakness

At her funeral ceremony tomorrow, we will remember Margaret Thatcher as much for her leadership style as for her polarizing politics — in fact, the two are almost identical. The essence of Thatcher’s leadership was her steadfast, tenacious, and determined style which is more often associated with …