Along with our book (update: more than half the chapters have been drafted and we are closing in!) Scott, Paul and I are hoping to convey business insights to our audience through lectures, seminars, fireside chats – basically anyone who is willing to listen! I got the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to introduce the Roadside MBA project to a couple of interesting groups of small and medium-sized companies.
The first was through an organization called Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which according to its website (www.icic.org) is a “nonprofit research and strategy organization and the leading authority on U.S. inner city economies and the businesses that thrive there.” I was invited to be a part of their Inter City Capital Connections executive education seminar in Chicago. Forty local entrepreneurs participated in the program in which I and other faculty presented on various topics of interest for small and medium-sized companies. My talk focused on the important strategy issues that these companies face and how they can thrive, even in competition against the “big guys.”
And, last week, I was the featured speaker in an event put on by Kellogg and JP Morgan Chase in downtown Chicago. It was the first in a joint series between Kellogg and Chase that will focus on “Opportunities for Growth in Middle Market Companies.” In that spirit, I used our Roadside examples to help illustrate how organizations can develop effective strategies to scale their business while maintaining their distinctive advantages. This event was attended by bankers in Chase’s middle-market practice as well as clients. I spoke in a meeting room on the 57th floor of Chase Tower – I admit that it was a little bit challenging to keep my focus, as the podium faced an amazing panoramic view of the city.
Both groups, I think, appreciated the fact that business school professors had talked to real businesses and had examples of companies that looked like them. The participants asked insightful questions, which always help to flesh out my thoughts on things that I am writing. We are looking forward to more opportunities to speak to groups like these and take Roadside “on the road” so to speak. So, if you know of a good audience drop us a line….