CEO, Emad Rizkalla


Why America’s #1 Business Advantage is Being Ravaged by Cultural Shifts and Social Media

In my last post, “Why Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast“ I explored the significant advantage conferred on businesses through their corporate cultures... and how a company’s culture trumped “hard” differentiators such as strategy. Today, we expand this theme to look at cultural advantage on a national level.


Why Corporate Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

A few years ago during a Bluedrop board meeting, I remember one of our directors at the time, Lecia Stewart, injecting some philosophy during an analytic discussion. She warned us to consider a truism based on the ideas of Peter Drucker — “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While I vaguely remembered hearing this saying before, it surprised me in this context. We were talking about buying the major competitor to our Training and Simulation division.


For High-Growth Firms, Cash Is Still King

When people find out that Bluedrop is a “high-growth firm”, they are often impressed. I am guessing they feel that the company has “arrived” and that we have been to the mountain top. While the view from a high-growth firm is certainly expansive and inspiring, the air does tend to get thin.


Syrian Children and the Crumbs From Our Table

I recently had the chance to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at a round table meeting in New York discussing ways to help Jordan cope with the Syrian Refugee crisis. This was the third time in 2 years I sat at a table of the elite and powerful in global politics and business, mixed with prominent international ‘do gooders’.


Resisting the Manufactured Identity Trap

The leadership brand... the corporate culture... Everyone is talking about it. Social media is flooded with jellybean jars full of experts who can tell you how manufacture who you are.


Why the U.S. Needs More Apprenticeship
(and Less Cowbell)

There is a famous scene from Saturday Night Live in which Will Ferrell is playing a cowbell as he and his bandmates belt out a classic Blue Öyster Cult song. Will Ferrell looks ridiculous and completely out of place. Meanwhile, Christopher Walken is constantly interrupting the song and imploring, "We need more cowbell!" If this scene were interpreted to reflect a workforce development theme, the "cowbell" on stage would be replaced by the "instrument" of apprenticeship. Like a cowbell, apprenticeships are still seen as a novelty instrument in the workforce development chorus and are also vastly underutilized -- but the analogy stops there. The reality is that apprenticeship models deserve far more respect. While they might be a little out of synch and disruptive, that is exactly what the system needs: more apprenticeship.


Workforce Training: Not a "One and Done" Proposition

In the 1980s, the fax machine revolutionized the world of work. People no longer had to wait days for important documents to come in the mail or pay exorbitant overnight fees. The technology was easy to use and required little training, yet radically improved productivity. Then along came scanning technology, which served the same purpose and blew away the fax and its thermal paper. Today, we have cloud services and shared documents to facilitate our business needs.


Oprah, Zuckerberg and My Workforce Skills Aha Moment

Some call it the Eureka Moment. Oprah calls it the Aha Moment. Whatever you call it, you'll know it when it happens. It is that moment when, after pondering a dilemma, the solution appears clear and in focus.