Dell: Going from Good to Great

How Dell Got Soul is the story in Strategy+Business about the growing up of Dell. “When growth slowed in Y2K, the computer makers leaders realized they needed to redesign their win-at-all-costs culture.”

How Mr. Rollins, together with company founder Michael S. Dell and other leaders, put Dell back on track makes a powerful case for the role corporate culture plays in enduring business performance. Their story also strongly suggests that, over the long run, the healthiest and wealthiest companies are those that define their strategies and management systems with a purpose beyond merely increasing returns to shareholders.

What great companies have always done is to find ways to appeal to another side of human nature, wanting to be associated with something thats great, says John P. Kotter, an expert in leadership and culture and a retired Harvard Business School professor. You want to find the nature of what youre making exciting and believe that this product or service does something useful for humanity. Great companies institutionalize that, and you cant fake it.

Its not just in your business model, Professor Kotter says. Its in peoples hearts.

Portable Video

After music, it is now the turn of video. The New York Times writes:

What if you could take along not only music but movies, television programs, home video and still pictures in a high-tech box svelte enough to slip into a briefcase, backpack or purse, or perhaps a pocket?

An answer is beginning to emerge, however tentatively.

Microsoft’s response takes the form of a system called the Portable Media Center, being incorporated first by Creative, an early maker of MP3 audio players, into a sort of oversized audio player with a color video screen. Samsung and iRiver will follow with sleeker versions this fall; all three will cost about $500 each and be capable of 80 hours of video play.

The Windows-powered machines enter a nascent marketplace that includes devices by Archos, a French maker, and RCA. Each camp makes the case for its own pioneer status on a new frontier of hand-held devices. And all say the devices will appeal to commuters and travelers, including those looking to occupy small children on long trips.