Protecting Value in the Customer Base
Tom Glocer was the chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, a leading global source of intelligent information for businesses and decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, scientific, healthcare and media markets.
Glocer originally joined Reuters Group in 1993 as vice president and deputy counsel of Reuters America and has held a number of senior leadership positions at Reuters, including President of Reuters LatAm and Reuters America, before being named CEO of Reuters Group PLC in July 2001, where he later oversaw the company's merger with the Thomson Corporation.
Glocer is on the board of Merck & Co., Inc., and serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, the International Advisory Board of British American Business Inc., and various other corporate and philanthropic organizations. Glocer holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. You can read his blog at www.tomglocer.com.
Companies have a tendency to look inwards during recession. You've got a million efficiency efforts going on, largely cost-driven. I think it's the worst mistake companies can make.
What I'm doing is trying to, number one, lead by example. I spend a lot of time out with all of our customers because fundamentally I find their businesses really interesting.
I don't kid myself to believe that I'm doing proper customer research.
Businesses come alive for me when I'm out with the customers, when I see how they interact with products and services we provide, and when I am with the frontline staffs all around the world within Thomson Reuters.
What I am trying to do internally is to streamline as much as possible all of the worthy internal projects that are there. I'm constantly asking the question, if there is a meeting and people are sending out a fifty-page slide pack, why not a ten page, why do you need it at all? If there is pre-reading and there are three articles that would be brilliant for some offsite, how about just one? The knock-on effect in the big company of de-layering, and having everybody ask the question, "Can I make this simple as possible, but no simpler," to steal a favorite Einstein line, I think that's especially powerful when you're going through a difficult period and your customers really need you and need your help.
Businesses come alive when I'm out with the customer and watching them interact with our products, says Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer. So what else does this CEO do? Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, Glocer says he tries to make processes as simple as possible, but no simpler.
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They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
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