Alliance Cases

The implicit understanding among Alliance members is that, in exchange for their willingness to share their own experience and knowledge, they gain access to the extraordinary collective wisdom of the Alliance community of CEOs. Our members do amazing things and we've been collecting some of their "lessons learned" in Case Studies that preserve and highlight the wealth of knowledge in our membership. We also interview our members from time to time on matters of interest, and you'll find their thoughts here as well.

To see only cases for a certain category, choose one from the following list:

David Gensler

Developing in the Developing World
July 25, 2011

David Gensler of global architecture and design firm Gensler shares his strategy on building thriving, high-performance offices in developing countries. Though the firm's initial foray -- into China -- proved difficult, it sparked unique ideas that have benefitted future efforts.

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Case categories include: International Business   Strategy & Planning   

Jim Harrison

Managing Multiple Constituencies
May 06, 2011

While some companies operate with a simple ownership structure, others operate with multiple overlapping constituencies. Jim Harrison, CEO of MLSListings, demonstrates how listening, building relationships and the ability to connect interests are key to creating positive outcomes for everyone.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Dennis Raefield

Superhero Selling: the CEO
January 25, 2011

When it comes to high stakes with key customers, face to face is the only option for a CEO. Read how Dennis Raefield, CEO of Mace Security International, salvages two grave situations; one involving a multi-million dollar deal, the other saving his company from certain death.

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Case categories include: Leadership   

Alain Couder

Inside a Merger that Worked
October 31, 2010

Two companies merge to gain economies of scale and to create an industry leader. But not so with Oclaro (NASDAQ: OCLR), formed when CEO Alain Couder merged $300M Bookham (NASDAQ:BKHM) with $200M Avanex (NASDAQ: AVNX) in April of 2009. Today, the combined company's stock price is up nearly four times from April of last year.

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Case categories include: M&A   

Eric McAfee

Spurring Government Bureaucracy to Action
July 23, 2010

Summary: Finding a way to reach people at the top levels of a government bureaucracy requires time and planning, and is one of the most important roles for a CEO. Eric McAfee, CEO of AE Biofuels, had been waiting for more than a year for his business to get funding from a grant program until he launched a three-step campaign that eventually pushed bureaucracy into action.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   Strategy & Planning   

Paul Witkay

Malcolm Gladwell Article
May 20, 2010

One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Blink, etc.), wrote a great article in the New Yorker called "The Sure Thing." It dispels the myth that successful entrepreneurs are daredevils or crazy risk-takers. He tells several stories of Ted Turner, Ingvar Kamprad of IDEA and others that show that successful entrepreneurs are more like predators that study their prey and seek the least risky time and place to strike.

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   

Neal Gutterson

Cross-Linking Supply Chains & Establishing New Value Allocations
April 13, 2010

We CEOs tend to look at our suppliers on one hand and our customers on the other. What if there were no suppliers or customers yet...if the supply chain hasn't been formed? Read how one Alliance member is building a new supply chain by cross-linking three existing supply chains!

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Case categories include: Operations   Strategy & Planning   

Raju Reddy

Global Expansion Strategy Viable For Many
January 29, 2010

Many CEOs will take a deep breath before even thinking about putting down a permanent footprint overseas. For years, global operations have been the province of the large firm, but this is changing. Alliance member Raju Reddy, CEO of Sierra Atlantic, stepped into China in August of 2007 without any major hiccups, and in two years has doubled the size of his China team, supporting global sales. Moreover, he is generating significant revenues from sales within China. Sierra Atlantic was only a $56 million revenue firm at that time.

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Case categories include: International Business   

Stepping on the Accelerator
November 23, 2009

Read how CEOs are viewing certain indicators for signs of improvement in the economy in preparation for their acceleration strategy.

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Case categories include: Operations   Strategy & Planning   

Belinda Tsao-Nivaggioli

Wrestling with a Rat
November 04, 2009

What happens when a CEO's board misplaces its trust in a manipulating advisor who holds the company hostage.

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Case categories include: Ethics   Finance   Leadership   

The Rules Are Changing
August 13, 2009

CEOs are facing the growing presence of government involvement in their day-to-day business lives, particularly the financial industry and real estate business. Read what certain CEOs have to say about how they are dealing with the positives and negatives of government programs.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Out of the Industry Innovation
July 25, 2009

One way to innovate is to observe practices in other industries and adopt those that will be powerful and new to your industry. This article discusses two examples of this, and how you can innovate in this fashion.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Protecting Liquidity: Smart Strategies for Tough Times
July 02, 2009

In today's market, liquidity issues are a serious risk to companies in every industry sector. Read about how to anticipate problems and devise solutions before liquidity issues come to a state of crisis.

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Case categories include: Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Paul Witkay

Let’s Get Rolling!
May 19, 2009

Alliance Founder, Paul Witkay discusses the current mood of CEOs. This article urges CEOs to start thinking long-term again and focus on leading their organizations toward compelling visions for the future.

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Case categories include: Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Good News for a Bad Economy
May 19, 2009

In a dismal economy, Alliance members find ways to move forward. One company secures a financial "safety net," while another looks outside of their traditional areas of growth to form a new business, some diversify their services while others focus on customer service to help their clients stay in business or gain market share against weaker competitors.

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Case categories include: Leadership   Marketing   Strategy & Planning   

Andrew Giacomini

Attracting and Retaining the Optimal Team
April 11, 2009

This article discusses a long-term workplace differentiation strategy that will enable you to attract and retain top talent, even in the talent shortage that challenges us all in every economic growth cycle. An ideal time to start is a year or more before the talent pool shrinks.

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Case categories include: Human Resources   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Your Loan Is In or Near Default—Here’s What You Should Do
March 10, 2009

Scott Smith of Hanson Bridgett provides guidance to business owners on how to prevent loan defaults, as well as what to do if one occurs.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   Finance   

When Down Turns Up
February 12, 2009

Alliance CEO members weigh in on their strategies for riding out these tough economic times in preparation for an upswing. One CEO looks at his pricing as he knows customers will be shopping around; another focuses on customer satisfaction and long-term goodwill. An increase in sales and marketing budgets is discussed, along with taking advantage of bringing top talent on board that have been let go from their companies.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

When & How to Develop Strategic Partnerships that Work…and Avoid Wasting Time on Those that Don’t
December 12, 2008

Today more than ever, successful companies are employing strategic partnerships to gain competitive advantage. These vehicles can help companies expand their capabilities and market share at a much greater pace than going it alone.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

The Resilient CEO
November 30, 2008

When adversity hit, these leaders battled back and gave us all something to learn Inside Alliance private working groups, we hear with some regularity jaw-dropping events that land on the chief executive's desk. Sometimes they are simply challenging opportunities, but often they are disasters that threaten the survival of the business. From hundreds of incredible survival stories, we've chosen to reveal four of the most amazing. With special permission from each CEO, we've told the story of the adversity they had to overcome, how they survived, and what there is for all of us to learn from their experiences.

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Case categories include: Leadership