Achieving Greatness

“Mediocrity has no place in business,” insists Randal Pinkett, 2005 winner of the NBC reality show The Apprentice and chairman of BCT Partners, a New Jersey-based management, technology, and consulting firm. He adds, “Few practices cripple a business more effectively than the philosophy of doing just enough or more of the same.”

In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, author and management guru Jim Collins highlights leading business practices for conquering corporate complacency and catapulting companies to greatness. Collins explains how attention to people, passions, and processes assists companies’ efforts to expand market share, increase profits, and enhance employee and customer satisfaction.

Pinkett recommends the following strategies to corporate professionals to help companies make the leap from good to great:

Choose who, then what. Focus on hiring smart, passionate, and competent people, then decide on the specific strategy the company should implement, and how those employees can best execute and contribute to its success.

Think singularly. Forgo blockbuster business models in favor of concentrating on the one thing the company does best. Simplify business goals into a single, organizing concept that drives all other aspects of the business.

Face the facts. Make fact finding a shared responsibility. Encourage knowledge of emerging trends and potential problems by leading with questions, not answers. Conduct back-end analyses without assigning blame and create red-flag mechanisms for information that should not be ignored.

When high-profile scandals at companies such as Enron and Tyco rocked the financial world, investment and asset management firms faced plummeting investor confidence, unprecedented scrutiny, and unparalleled demand for accountability.

“These external factors dramatically altered the investment management industry and, subsequently, we had to reinvigorate our approach to providing shareholder value,” says Joy Booker, vice president of Institutional Sales and Marketing for New York Life Investment Management.

Ultimately responsible for securing new clients and maximizing returns on their investments, Booker sought ways to negate the adverse effects of debilitating market changes. In June 2007, she enrolled in the Investment Management Training Academy, conducted by Patriot Management L.L.C. , a Chicago-based firm that offers classes for the institutional asset management and investment community. The following course highlights helped enhance Booker’s client confidence:

Know the business. “You must know more than the current buzz words,” states Booker, who stays abreast of the latest investment products, researches the associated benefits and risks, and studies industry best practices and approaches.

Understand the investor. With a growing number of companies merging, acquiring global partners, and sprouting overseas subsidiaries, Booker conducts due diligence to fully familiarize herself with the client’s business, assets, liabilities, and desired financial outcome.

For more information about the investment management training academy, log on to