Critical Business Skills for Success Series

The Great Courses
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60 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Strategy Is Making Choices
What do we mean when we talk about business strategy? Start thinking more smartly about strategy with this introductory lecture that covers four key facts about competition and the two…
Episode 2 How Apple Raises Competitive Barriers
Five essential forces shape any business strategy, and together, they create a framework that can help you better make key strategic choices. Central to this discussion of these five strategic…
Episode 3 The Danger of Straddling
Professor Roberto introduces you to the three paths that lead to competitive advantage and four basic competitive strategies. Then, using case studies including JC Penney, IBM, and Dell, he explains…
Episode 4 What Trader Joe’s Doesn’t Do
Passionate customers, tremendous profits, happy employees--the Trader Joe's grocery chain is a powerful business success story. Discover how their secret for success lies in their use of trade-offs to make…
Episode 5 First Movers versus Fast Followers
Discover the strengths--and drawbacks--of being a first mover who establishes a market position and fast followers, who can learn from first movers' mistakes. Along the way, you'll consider relevant examples…
Episode 6 When Netflix Met Blockbuster
Netflix's ultimate domination of the video rental market is a classic example of disruptive innovation: a serious threat to traditional business--and often the hardest to respond to.
Episode 7 Anticipating Your Rival’s Response
Get a stronger grip on competitive dynamics and the importance of understanding your competitor. Professor Roberto guides you through powerful lessons from three situations where new entrants did battle with…
Episode 8 Why Did Disney Buy Pixar?
Turn now to corporate strategy, which involves determining where to compete, not how. Explore the corporate strategies of horizontal and vertical integration (and their two types) in the context of…
Episode 9 The Diversification Discount
What happens when the whole is worth less than the proposed sum of the parts? You've got a diversification discount, common for many unrelated diversifiers in the United States, and…
Episode 10 Forward and Backward Integration
Professor Roberto explains in more detail vertical integration and its two key directions: forward and backward. Does vertical integration make economic sense? Learn about vertical integration's rationales (and risks) by…
Episode 11 Mergers and Acquisitions—The Winner’s Curse
Mergers and acquisitions are part of daily life in the business world. Why do some bad deals get done, leaving the acquirer in a trouble spot? When can a hostile…
Episode 12 Launching a Lean Start-Up
Professor Roberto concludes this course with a fascinating lecture on the challenges of launching your own business. You'll learn what makes entrepreneurship different from leading a complex, large organization; how…
Episode 13 The Power of Superior Operations
What exactly is operations management, and how can you make it work to your advantage? Turn your attention to operational capabilities: the composite of processes, people, and technology that helps…
Episode 14 Leaner, Meaner Production
Production operations are the greatest value-adding activity in all of business. Whether you're making the product yourself or through others, explore the decisions involved in successful production operations, and get…
Episode 15 Refining Service Operations
Turn now to service operations, the successful management of which takes into account the psychology of winning customers through great experiences. From the Service Quality Scale to the details of…
Episode 16 Matching Supply and Demand
Sales and operations (S&OP) planning integrates a company's sales forecasts with the operations plans from the purchasing, production, and logistics departments. Learn how qualitative and quantitative forecasts are used to…
Episode 17 Rightsizing Inventory
Master the fundamentals of right-sizing your inventory through inventory management. Specifically, focus on four basic strategies used to maintain just the right amount of inventory.
Episode 18 Managing Supply and Suppliers
Supply management is the one department that accounts for well over half of a company's total spend, and involves decisions that impact its long-term profitability. By examining fundamental questions about…
Episode 19 The Long Reach of Logistics
Logistics are responsible for ensuring that the right products are available in the right quantities at the right time to meet customer expectations. Professor Goldsby introduces you to three key…
Episode 20 Rethinking Your Business Processes
Ways to improve business processes are indispensable to success. Gain simple tools and methods for improving the processes that matter to your organization. Learn how to create and use powerful,…
Episode 21 Measuring Operational Performance
Why is performance measurement so important to the health of an organization? How do the four dimensions of the "Balanced Scorecard" framework (financial performance, customer assessment, internal business process, and…
Episode 22 Keeping an Eye on Your Margins
Obliterate the assumption that all business is good business. Instead, come up with more precise numbers that show how different customers affect your business by understanding the contribution margin.
Episode 23 Leveraging Your Supply Chain
Among the most pervasive developments in business organization over the past few decades is supply chain management. Learn how this discipline, a higher order of operations management, uses your network…
Episode 24 Reducing Risk, Building Resilience
Professor Goldsby introduces you to the hottest topic in modern business: risk management. How can you overcome perilous situations, or dampen their effects? What are common internal and external risks…
Episode 25 Accounting and Finance—Decision-Making Tools
This introductory lecture unpacks some key concepts in accounting and finance; dispels some common myths about accounting; and gives you a helpful overview of three essential statements companies routinely prepare…
Episode 26 How to Interpret a Balance Sheet
Using a balance sheet from Intel as your case study, survey the significance of specific items that typically appear on balance sheets, including current assets and intangible assets. Also learn…
Episode 27 Why the Income Statement Matters
Income statements are the statements most widely cited in popular business news. First, learn how income is measured under general accounting principles. Then, explore how income statements are organized to…
Episode 28 How to Analyze a Cash Flow Statement
What makes statements of cash flows the most important financial statements you'll encounter? Professor Sussman explains the differences between revenues, profits, and cash flows; discusses the three separate sections of…
Episode 29 Common Size, Trend, and Ratio Analysis
Common size analysis. Trend analysis. Ratio analysis. Three financial tools every seasoned businessperson should be able to use. First, learn how each of these tools is used. Then, get a…
Episode 30 Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
How does breakeven analysis, or cost-volume-profit analysis, work--and how do businesspeople make it work for them? As you'll discover in looking at both the basic breakeven model and some more…
Episode 31 Understanding the Time Value of Money
Begin your focus on finance with an insightful look at the time value of money. Along with basic concepts and terminology (including risk and present/future value), you'll learn about the…
Episode 32 The Trade-Off between Risk and Return
In this lecture on the trade-off between risk and return, Professor Sussman introduces you to several important financial models businesses use every day. These include the Nobel Prize-winning Capital Asset…
Episode 33 How Investors Use Net Present Value
What exactly do we mean by "value"? First, learn the true meaning of value and its overarching importance in finance. Then, investigate three different approaches for evaluating investment opportunities: the…
Episode 34 Alternatives to Net Present Value
What are some alternatives to evaluating investment opportunities beyond Net Present Value? Find out with this lecture on commonly used measures, including the Internal Rate of Return (the discount rate…
Episode 35 Weighing the Costs of Debt and Equity
Explore the world of trade-offs and learn why issuing debt instead of equity can actually increase the value of a firm; why you should always consider the Weighted Average Cost…
Episode 36 How to Value a Company’s Stock
All investors should know how to make value-creating decisions. Round out your introduction to accounting and finance with a recap of the fundamental tools of the trade. By applying these…
Episode 37 Achieving Results in Your Organization
Start taking control of your professional organizational behavior with this introductory lecture on how to achieve lasting results. You'll explore how to use the S.T.O.P. ("sit, think, organize, perform") method…
Episode 38 The Value of Great Leadership
Professor Longenecker explains the most important things he's learned about leadership. Among these: the definition of effective leadership; the critical role of competency and character; and six leadership schools of…
Episode 39 Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
What does it take to cultivate great working relationships? The answer: emotional intelligence. Learn how developing emotional intelligence can have a powerful impact on your ability to work well with…
Episode 40 The Art of Effective Communications
Cultivate stronger communication skills with this engaging lecture that covers three burning communication needs in an organization and introduces you to six critically important lessons every effective communicator should follow.
Episode 41 The Motivation-Performance Connection
Motivation and performance improvement are two of the most researched subjects in the field of organizational behavior. Using an in-depth study of 60 high-performance organizations across a range of industries,…
Episode 42 Winning with Teamwork
You've known about teamwork since elementary school. Now, learn how to foster it in an organizational setting. First, find out what happens when organizations don't cooperate. Then, learn how people…
Episode 43 Coaching—From Gridiron to Boardroom
To keep people in an organization more focused, engaged, and productive, you need to recognize the importance not just of coaching, but of tailor-made coaching. Discover how it works with…
Episode 44 Understanding Power Relationships
Why is power such a potent aspect of business? What do we mean by "power" in an organizational setting, and what are some of its work-related sources? How can you…
Episode 45 Handling Workplace Conflict
Much of one's success in an organization depends on how well one manages conflict with others. Professor Longenecker guides you through two primary types of conflict and three levels where…
Episode 46 Ethics and the Bathsheba Syndrome
Learn why ethical standards and policies are so important within an organization; the specific steps involved in ethical decision making; and the Bathsheba Syndrome, which helps explain why successful people…
Episode 47 Leading Real Organizational Change
The one unavoidable part of an organization: change. After investigating the three essential ingredients of organizational change, focus on the kind of practical steps you can take to achieve change…
Episode 48 Lifelong Learning for Career Success
Because the average worker changes jobs between seven and 10 times, workplace relevance and career success depends on lifelong learning and professional development. Finish out this course with a pointed,…
Episode 49 What Is Marketing?
One of the core tenets of successful marketing is understanding your customer. But often times, you aren't the customer you're marketing to. What can you do instead? Find out in…
Episode 50 How to Segment a Market
The first question in developing a strong marketing strategy is figuring out who your customer is. That's where the tools of market segmentation come in. In this lecture, learn the…
Episode 51 Targeting a Market Segment
Make better sense of targeting, the process of selecting the segment (or segments) your product will best serve. Throughout the lecture, you'll learn key rules of targeting. One rule is:…
Episode 52 Positioning Your Offering
Many products fail because marketers fail to communicate their true value. Here, Professor Hamilton takes you step-by-step through the positioning process, designed to create and communicate value. Case studies you'll…
Episode 53 Identifying Sources of Sales Growth
You've mastered segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Now learn how to grow and increase your sales using the 2x2 Ansoff matrix--one of the most powerful ideas in marketing. In the process,…
Episode 54 Deriving Value from Your Customers
Look at some other sources of value that companies can get out of their transactions and start thinking more broadly about the sources of value a company should seek. The…
Episode 55 Creating Great Customer Experiences
Begin exploring the tactics involving in reaching marketing goals with a look at how to design products and services to provide the best possible customer experience. Along the way, you'll…
Episode 56 The Tactics of Successful Branding
What defines a brand? What rules should you follow when building your brand? How do brands create value for customers? With the insights and answers in this lecture, you'll learn…
Episode 57 Customer-Focused Pricing
One of the most important decisions anyone in marketing will make is how to price your product and service. Here, Professor Hamilton reveals the information marketers use to settle on…
Episode 58 Marketing Communications That Work
Add to your "marketing toolkit" some of the principles and strategies of an effective communications plan, with a look at some successful (and unsuccessful) ad campaigns, including the California Milk…
Episode 59 The Promise and Perils of Social Media
Dig into the unique opportunities--and challenges--of social media and word-of-mouth communications. From Facebook pages to viral videos, you'll learn how to navigate today's marketing innovations and tap into their power,…
Episode 60 Innovative Marketing Research Techniques
Research is undoubtedly essential for making responsible, effective marketing decisions. Professor Hamilton concludes his course with a lecture on the importance of marketing research methods whose data is often expressed…

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