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Brighton School of Business and Management September 2011 Student Newsletter

 

 

 

Contributions from you, our students, are very welcome if you have information, advice, website links, or ideas, that may be of help to other students, please send them to us.

Personal & Career Development – Tip of the Month

The Personal and Career Development tip of the month is that no matter what position you hold, nor what stage you are in your career, nor which sector or specialist area you work in, it is essential to keep yourself up to date with developments, emerging trends, forecasts, and predictions.

The articles in this month’s newsletter are from McKinsey Quarterly, a highly respected business journal which is also available as a free subscription newsletter. Although this newsletter is aimed at strategic level managers, it is a good example of an easy and in this case cost-free way of receiving a regular flow of information, ideas, concepts, discussions and case studies, relevant to your role, responsibilities, and career development stage.

Finding newsletters to subscribe to is an easy task. For example a Google search usingmanagement+newsletter+hospitalityorleadership+newsletterorquality management+newsletterwill produce many dozens of links to very useful, mostly free, newsletters.

Other valuable sources are journals and newsletters received as part of the membership benefits of joining an appropriate professional organisation.

Our team here strongly recommends that you follow this advice, and make keeping up to date with business and management developments a regular feature of your professional development activity.

Strategic Management

This month’s newsletter offers some insights into the roles and responsibilities of the strategic manager, and how managers at this level evaluate and test the strategies for which they are responsible, and upon which the future of their organisations depend.

Applying the Right Strategy – the Ten Tests

The tests of a good strategy are timeless in nature. But the ability to pressure-test a strategy is especially timely now. The financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed made some strategies obsolete, revealed weaknesses in others, and forced many companies to confront choices and trade-offs they put off in boom years. At the same time, a shift toward shorter planning cycles and decentralized strategic decision making are increasing the utility of a common set of tests.

All this makes today an ideal time to kick the tires on your strategy.

Test 1: Will your strategy beat the market?

All companies operate in markets surrounded by customers, suppliers, competitors, substitutes, and potential entrants, all seeking to advance their own positions. That process, unimpeded, inexorably drives economic surplus—the gap between the return a company earns and its cost of capital—toward zero.

For a company to beat the market by capturing and retaining an economic surplus there must be an imperfection that stops or at least slows the working of the market. An imperfection controlled by a company is a competitive advantage. These are by definition scarce and fleeting because markets drive reversion to mean performance. The best companies are emulated by those in the middle of the pack, and the worst exit or undergo significant reform. As each player responds to and learns from the actions of others, best practice becomes commonplace rather than a market-beating strategy. Good strategies emphasize difference—versus your direct competitors, versus potential substitutes, and versus potential entrants.

Market participants play out the drama of competition on a stage beset by randomness. Because the evolution of markets is path dependent—that is, its current state at any one time is the sum product of all previous events, including a great many random ones—the winners of today are often the accidents of history. Consider the development of the US tire industry. At its peak in the mid-1920s, a frenzy of entry had created almost 300 competitors. Yet by the 1940s, four producers controlled more than 70 percent of the market. Those winners happened to make retrospectively lucky choices about location and technology, but at the time it was difficult to tell which companies were truly fit for the evolving environment. The histories of many other industries, from aerospace to information technology, show remarkably similar patterns.

To beat the market, therefore, advantages have to be robust and responsive in the face of onrushing market forces. Few companies, in our experience, ask themselves if they are beating the market—the pressures of “just playing along” seem intense enough. But – playing along can feel safer than it is. Weaker contenders win surprisingly often in war when they deploy a divergent strategy and the same is true in business.

Test 2: Does your strategy tap a true source of advantage?

Know your competitive advantage, and you’ve answered the question of why you make money (and vice versa). Competitive advantage stems from two sources of scarcity: positional advantages and special capabilities.

Positional advantages are rooted in structurally attractive markets. By definition, such advantages favor incumbents: they create an asymmetry between those inside and those outside high walls. For example, in Australia, two beer makers control 95 percent of the market and enjoy triple the margins of US brewers. This situation has sustained itself for two decades, but it wasn’t always so. Beginning in the 1980s, the Australian industry experienced consolidation. That change in structure was associated with a change in industry conduct (price growth began outstripping general inflation) and a change in industry performance (higher profitability).

Understanding the relationship among structure, conduct, and performance is a critical part of the quest for positional advantage.

Special capabilities, the second source of competitive advantage, are scarce resources whose possession confers unique benefits. The most obvious resources, such as drug patents or leases on mineral deposits, we call “privileged, tradable assets”: they can be bought and sold. A second category of special capabilities, “distinctive competencies,” consists of things a company does particularly well, such as innovating or managing stakeholders. These capabilities can be just as powerful in creating advantage but cannot be easily traded.

Too often, companies are cavalier about claiming special capabilities. Such a capability must be critical to a company’s profits and exist in abundance within it while being scarce outside. As such, special capabilities tend to be specific in nature and few in number. Companies often err here by mistaking size for scale advantage or overestimating their ability to leverage capabilities across markets. They infer special capabilities from observed performance, often without considering other explanations (such as luck or positional advantage). Companies should test any claimed capability advantage vigorously before pinning their hopes on it.

When companies bundle together activities that collectively create advantage, it becomes more difficult for competitors to identify and replicate its exact source. Consider Aldi, the highly successful discount grocery retailer. To deliver its value proposition of lower prices, Aldi has completely redesigned the typical business system of a supermarket: only 1,500 or so products rather than 30,000, the stocking of one own-brand or private label rather than hundreds of national brands, and superlean replenishment on pallets and trolleys, thus avoiding the expensive task of hand stacking shelves. Given the enormous changes necessary for any supermarket that wishes to copy the total system, it is extremely difficult to mimic Aldi’s value proposition.

Finally, don’t forget to take a dynamic view. What can erode positional advantage? Which special capabilities are becoming vulnerable? There is every reason to believe that competitors will exploit points of vulnerability.

Assume, like Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, that you have to run just to stay in the same place.

Test 3: Is your strategy granular about where to compete?

The need to beat the market begs the question of which market. Research shows that the unit of analysis used in determining strategy (essentially, the degree to which a market is segmented) significantly influences resource allocation and thus the likelihood of success: dividing the same businesses in different ways leads to strikingly different capital allocations.

What is the right level of granularity? Push within reason for the finest possible objective segmentation of the market: think 30 to 50 segments rather than the more typical 5 or so. Too often, by contrast, the business unit as defined by the organizational chart becomes the default for defining markets, reducing from the start the potential scope of strategic thinking.

Defining and understanding these segments correctly is one of the most practical things a company can do to improve its strategy. Management at one large bank attributed fast growth and share gains to measurably superior customer perceptions and satisfaction. Examining the bank’s markets at a more granular level suggested that 90 percent of its outperformance could be attributed to a relatively high exposure to one fast-growing city and to a presence in a fast-growing product segment. This insight helped the bank avoid building its strategy on false assumptions about what was and wasn’t working for the operation as a whole.

In fact, 80 percent of the variance in revenue growth is explained by choices about where to compete, according to research summarized in The Granularity of Growth, leaving only 20 percent explained by choices about how to compete. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of the allocation of time and effort in a typical strategy-development process. Companies should be shifting their attention greatly toward the “where” and should strive to out-position competitors by regularly reallocating resources as opportunities shift within and between segments.

Test 4: Does your strategy put you ahead of trends?

The emergence of new trends is the norm. But many strategies place too much weight on the continuation of the status quo because they extrapolate from the past three to five years, a time frame too brief to capture the true violence of market forces.

A major innovation or an external shock in regulation, demand, or technology, for example, can drive a rapid, full-scale industry transition. But most trends emerge fairly slowly—so slowly that companies generally fail to respond until a trend hits profits. At this point, it is too late to mount a strategically effective response, let alone shape the change to your advantage. Managers typically delay action, held back by sunk costs, an unwillingness to cannibalize a legacy business, or an attachment to yesterday’s formula for success. The cost of delay is steep: consider the plight of major travel agency chains slow to understand the power of online intermediaries. Conversely, for companies that get ahead of the curve, major market transitions are an opportunity to rethink their commitments in areas ranging from technology to distribution and to tailor their strategies to the new environment.

To do so, strategists must take trend analysis seriously. Always look to the edges. How are early adopters and that small cadre of consumers who seem to be ahead of the curve acting? What are small, innovative entrants doing? What technologies under development could change the game? To see which trends really matter, assess their potential impact on the financial position of your company and articulate the decisions you would make differently if that outcome were certain. For example, don’t just stop at an aging population as a trend—work it through to its conclusion. Which consumer behaviors would change? Which particular product lines would be affected? What would be the precise effect on the P&L? And how does that picture line up with today’s investment priorities?

Test 5: Does your strategy rest on privileged insights?

Data today can be cheap, accessible, and easily assembled into detailed analyses that leave executives with the comfortable feeling of possessing an informed strategy. But much of this is noise and most of it is widely available to rivals. Furthermore, routinely analyzing readily available data diverts attention from where insight-creating advantage lies: in the weak signals buried in the noise.

In the 1990s, when the ability to burn music onto CDs emerged, no one knew how digitization would play out; MP3s, peer-to-peer file sharing, and streaming Web-based media were not on the horizon. But one corporation with a large record label recognized more rapidly than others that the practical advantage of copyright protection could quickly become diluted if consumers began copying material. Early recognition of that possibility allowed the CEO to sell the business at a multiple based on everyone else’s assumption that the status quo was unthreatened.

Developing proprietary insights isn’t easy. In fact, this is the element of good strategy where most companies stumble. A search for problems can help you get started. Create a short list of questions whose answers would have major implications for the company’s strategy—for example, “What will we regret doing if the development of India hiccups or stalls, and what will we not regret?” In doing so, don’t forget to examine the assumptions, explicit and implicit, behind an established business model. Do they still fit the current environment?

Another key is to collect new data through field observations or research rather than to recycle the same industry reports everyone else uses. Similarly, seeking novel ways to analyze the data can generate powerful new insights. For example, one supermarket chain we know recently rethought its store network strategy on the basis of surprising results from a new clustering algorithm.

Finally, many strategic breakthroughs have their root in a simple but profound customer insight (usually solving an old problem for the customer in a new way). In our experience, companies that go out of their way to experience the world from the customer’s perspective routinely develop better strategies.

Test 6: Does your strategy embrace uncertainty?

A central challenge of strategy is that we have to make choices now, but the payoffs occur in a future environment we cannot fully know or control. A critical step in embracing uncertainty is to try to characterize exactly what variety of it you face—a surprisingly rare activity at many companies. Our work over the years has emphasized four levels of uncertainty. Level one offers a reasonably clear view of the future: a range of outcomes tight enough to support a firm decision. At level two, there are a number of identifiable outcomes for which a company should prepare. At level three, the possible outcomes are represented not by a set of points but by a range that can be understood as a probability distribution. Level four features total ambiguity, where even the distribution of outcomes is unknown.

In our experience, companies oscillate between assuming, simplistically, that they are operating at level one (and making bold but unjustified point forecasts) and succumbing to an unnecessarily pessimistic level-four paralysis. In each case, careful analysis of the situation usually redistributes the variables into the middle ground of levels two and three.

Rigorously understanding the uncertainty you face starts with listing the variables that would influence a strategic decision and prioritizing them according to their impact. Focus early analysis on removing as much uncertainty as you can—by, for example, ruling out impossible outcomes and using the underlying economics at work to highlight outcomes that are either mutually reinforcing or unlikely because they would undermine one another in the market. Then apply tools such as scenario analysis to the remaining, irreducible uncertainty, which should be at the heart of your strategy.

Test 7: Does your strategy balance commitment and flexibility?

Commitment and flexibility exist in inverse proportion to each other: the greater the commitment you make, the less flexibility remains. This tension is one of the core challenges of strategy. Indeed, strategy can be expressed as making the right trade-offs over time between commitment and flexibility.

Making such trade-offs effectively requires an understanding of which decisions involve commitment. Inside any large company, hundreds of people make thousands of decisions each year. Only a few are strategic: those that involve commitment through hard-to-reverse investments in long-lasting, company-specific assets. Commitment is the only path to sustainable competitive advantage.

In a world of uncertainty, strategy is about not just where and how to compete but also when. Committing too early can be a leap in the dark. Being too late is also dangerous, either because opportunities are perishable or rivals can seize advantage while your company stands on the sidelines. Flexibility is the essential ingredient that allows companies to make commitments when the risk/return trade-off seems most advantageous.

A market-beating strategy will focus on just a few crucial, high-commitment choices to be made now, while leaving flexibility for other such choices to be made over time. In practice, this approach means building your strategy as a portfolio comprising three things: big bets, or committed positions aimed at gaining significant competitive advantage; no-regrets moves, which will pay off whatever happens; and real options, or actions that involve relatively low costs now but can be elevated to a higher level of commitment as changing conditions warrant. You can build underpriced options into a strategy by, for example, modularizing major capital projects or maintaining the flexibility to switch between different inputs.

Test 8: Is your strategy contaminated by bias?

It’s possible to believe honestly that you have a market-beating strategy when, in fact, you don’t. Sometimes, that’s because forces beyond your control change. But in other cases, the cause is unintentional fuzzy thinking.

Behavioral economists have identified many characteristics of the brain that are often strengths in our broader, personal environment but that can work against us in the world of business decision making. The worst offenders include overoptimism (our tendency to hope for the best and believe too much in our own forecasts and abilities), anchoring (tying our valuation of something to an arbitrary reference point), loss aversion (putting too much emphasis on avoiding downsides and so eschewing risks worth taking), the confirmation bias (overweighting information that validates our opinions), herding (taking comfort in following the crowd), and the champion bias (assigning to an idea merit that’s based on the person proposing it).

Strategy is especially prone to faulty logic because it relies on extrapolating ways to win in the future from a complex set of factors observed today. This is fertile ground for two big inference problems: attribution error (succumbing to the “halo effect”) and survivorship bias (ignoring the “graveyard of silent failures”). Attribution error is the false attribution of success to observed factors; it is strategy by hindsight and assumes that replicating the actions of another company will lead to similar results. Survivorship bias refers to an analysis based on a surviving population, without consideration of those who did not live to tell their tale: this approach skews our view of what caused success and presents no insights into what might cause failure—were the survivors just luckier? Case studies have their place, but hindsight is in reality not 20/20. There are too many unseen factors.

Developing multiple hypotheses and potential solutions to choose among is one way to “de-bias” decision making. Too often, the typical drill is to develop a promising hypothesis and put a lot of effort into building a fact base to validate it. In contrast, it is critical to bring fresh eyes to the issues and to maintain a culture of challenge, in which the obligation to dissent is fostered.

The decision-making process can also be de-biased by, for example, specifying objective decision criteria in advance and examining the possibility of being wrong. Techniques such as the “pre-mortem assessment” (imagining yourself in a future where your decision turns out to have been mistaken and identifying why that might have been so) can also be useful.

Test 9: Is there conviction to act on your strategy?

This test and the one that follows aren’t strictly about the strategy itself but about the investment you’ve made in implementing it—a distinction that in our experience quickly becomes meaningless because the two, inevitably, become intertwined. Many good strategies fall short in implementation because of an absence of conviction in the organization, particularly among the top team, where just one or two nonbelievers can strangle strategic change at birth.

Where a change of strategy is needed, that is usually because changes in the external environment have rendered obsolete the assumptions underlying a company’s earlier strategy. To move ahead with implementation, you need a process that openly questions the old assumptions and allows managers to develop a new set of beliefs in tune with the new situation. This goal is not likely to be achieved just via lengthy reports and presentations. Nor will the social processes required to absorb new beliefs—group formation, building shared meaning, exposing and reconciling differences, aligning and accepting accountability—occur in formal meetings.

CEOs and boards should not be fooled by the warm glow they feel after a nice presentation by management. They must make sure that the whole team actually shares the new beliefs that support the strategy. This requirement means taking decision makers on a journey of discovery by creating experiences that will help them viscerally grasp mismatches that may exist between what the new strategy requires and the actions and behavior that have brought them success for many years. For example, visit plants and customers or tour a country your company plans to enter, so that the leadership team can personally meet crucial stakeholders. Mock-ups, video clips, and virtual experiences also can help.

The result of such an effort should be a support base of influencers who feel connected to the strategy and may even become evangelists for it. Because strategy often emanates from the top, and CEOs are accustomed to being heeded, this commonsense step often gets overlooked, to the great detriment of the strategy.

Test 10: Have you translated your strategy into an action plan?

In implementing any new strategy, it’s imperative to define clearly what you are moving from and where you are moving to with respect to your company’s business model, organization, and capabilities. Develop a detailed view of the shifts required to make the move, and ensure that processes and mechanisms, for which individual executives must be accountable, are in place to effect the changes. Quite simply, this is an action plan.

Everyone needs to know what to do. Be sure that each major “from–to shift” is matched with the energy to make it happen. And since the totality of the change often represents a major organizational transformation, make sure you and your senior team are drawing on the large body of research and experience offering solid advice on change management—a topic beyond the scope of this article!

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your ongoing resource allocation processes are aligned with your strategy. If you want to know what it actually is, look where the best people and the most generous budgets are—and be prepared to change these things significantly. Effort spent aligning the budget with the strategy will pay off many times over.

As we’ve discussed the tests with hundreds of senior executives at many of the world’s largest companies, we’ve come away convinced that a lot of these topics are part of the strategic dialogue in organizations. But we’ve also heard time and again that discussion of such issues is often, as one executive in Japan recently told us, “random, simultaneous, and extremely confusing.” Our hope is that the tests will prove a simple and effective antidote: a means of quickly identifying gaps in executives’ strategic thinking, opening their minds toward new ways of using strategy to create value, and improving the quality of the strategy-development process itself.

* from an article in McKinsey Quarterly www.mckinseyquarterly.com by Chris Bradley – a principal in McKinsey’s Sydney office, Martin Hirt – a director in the Taipei office, and Sven Smit – a director in the Amsterdam office, assisted by Nick Percy, Head of Strategy, BBC Worldwide.

Strategy Testing

Four experienced leaders share their approaches to testing strategy.

Gail Lumsden is group head of strategy and planning at SABMiller, a leading global brewer.

Where are we in our strategic journey?

It’s very easy to get blinkered and complacent, particularly when you’re in a successful business: the tendency is to extend the past into the future and assume that your success will continue. The challenge is to watch out for and take signs to the contrary seriously and to use them as a catalyst to further develop your strategy.

Winning is a journey, not a destination, and that means understanding where you are in your strategic journey as a business.

For example, we’ve significantly outperformed our peers over the last ten years in terms of total returns to shareholders (TRS), which demonstrates that we’ve had a differentiated strategy: we were ahead of our competitors in acquiring undervalued and underperforming local brewers in emerging markets with strong volume growth and in applying a distinctive business model based on operational and performance-management excellence. In some of those markets, though, per capita consumption growth is now leveling off, and if you look at more recent history, you see that our outperformance in terms of TRS has been abating. So one of the big challenges for us now is how we define and redefine the markets in which we compete.

Are we properly balancing growth and risk?

We’re always thinking about opportunities for profitable growth, but we also need to be thinking about the value at risk. Are we protecting our strongholds? Are we adequately thinking about how our competitors will respond to our moves? And in markets where we have a strong leadership position, are we thinking enough about how to create—not just capture—value as the market matures?

Raymond Gilmartin, a professor at Harvard Business School and a member of the board of directors at General Mills and Microsoft, was the CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck from 1994 until 2005.

Does it violate any strategic laws of gravity?

I have been interested in strategy, both at a conceptual level and as a practitioner, since the late 1960s, when I was studying at the Harvard Business School and the transition was under way from talking about long-range planning to thinking about strategy. At that time, many core conceptual frameworks of strategy were emerging.

Having been exposed to these strategic frameworks early in my career, and believing there were certain principles that one should follow in formulating strategy, a test that I found useful was to look for situations where these principles were violated. For example, if you’ve got a 5 percent market share and somebody else in the industry has 40 percent, the idea that you’re going to make dramatic gains in market share within a relatively short period of time is just unrealistic. Equally unrealistic is wanting to introduce a product that’s undifferentiated and expecting to gain market share just because it’s a big market.

I’m using very simpleminded examples, but people do make these kinds of errors. When you see this is about to happen you should respond by saying, “Let’s not introduce that product.”

Do my numbers match my strategy?

A common thing that happens within companies is that people make all of these great strategy presentations, management signs off on everything, and then the world shifts completely to a different mode when it’s time to put together the profit plan. That is the moment of truth for whether your resource allocation is consistent with what you claim your strategy is, and I’m willing to bet that this is where the biggest disconnect usually takes place.

I therefore looked at plans and expenditure requests from the standpoint of what story the numbers told us about our strategy and whether the two matched or not. When we intended to increase our rate of innovation, one test would be what was happening to the level of R&D spending. When we expected to increase our market share, key tests would be: what is happening to spending on promoting our products and the share of capital projects related to new products.

David Speiser is the senior vice president for strategy at SAIC, a scientific, engineering, and technology applications company, headquartered in the United States. He also is an alumnus of McKinsey’s Los Angeles office, where he was a principal.

Will it create value?

As an industry, we attract a lot of engineers and former government and military professionals. Therefore, the very basic test of whether something drives financial shareholder value or not is very useful because many people are not so financially focused.

Is it material?

One of my biggest tests is to explore whether a proposal is material. Some folks will get excited about doing something in a very small market. The challenge we face, given limited managerial resources, is to educate people about what would be material to the $11 billion corporation we are today, which is very different from the $2 billion corporation we were 15 years ago.

Is it differentiated?

This is probably the hardest test to pass because one of the challenges you have in a corporation that has very broadly applicable skills is that people want to apply them broadly. If you’re trying to apply your skills to a broader set of markets, you have to really think critically about what the current competitors are already offering and what you’re going to do that’s different. That can be tough, especially when you combine it with the materiality test. There may be nothing you can do, in a segment where you have deep interest and knowledge, that will be material over and above what you’re doing. But then when you get outside your comfort zone, achieving differentiation is more challenging.

Is it just ‘PowerPoint engineering’?

When it comes to new strategies, a big test is to make sure that the insights and capabilities underlying them are real and not just a result of PowerPoint engineering. We get used to assuming that anything people say they can do, they can do. Because they demonstrate this every day in core markets, proof isn’t required. But if you’re talking about developing a new growth strategy to penetrate a new market, you have to step back and ask tough questions because the proof isn’t being delivered every day. Requiring proof that we’re connected with the market – that we’ve actually spoken to potential customers – that we have the insight we claim to have – is ultimately one of the most important jobs of the strategist, in my view.

Jeffrey Elton is the CEO and vice chairman of KEW Group, a personalized oncology care network he helped found. Previously, he was senior vice president of strategy and global COO at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and, before that, a principal in McKinsey’s Boston office.

What are the facts?

Pharmaceutical and health care delivery are long-cycle businesses where strategy is about optimizing resource reallocation—getting really straight about what investments are going to drive your future earnings. That starts with getting the facts right: there’s a lot of hearsay and lore, even though the industry is scientifically driven. It’s amazing how much of this is not rooted in fact. So the first set of questions we always spend time on is what’s really working or not working, and understanding what “working” actually means.

Is the problem solvable, and do we care?

Sometimes you have an insight, but that insight is a very small proportion of what’s really required to solve a problem. You need to determine if, based on what we know now, the problem is solvable. Then, even if it is, do we care? We usually are trying to work on things where we think there’s a relatively high unmet medical need. If we work on diseases that impose a high cost burden, this approach helps assure a favorable set of economics, even if we can’t predict all the different aspects of reimbursement.

Who can solve that problem?

We presume that we can’t possibly have all the talent and capabilities needed to solve any one problem, so what institutions—what companies, specifically—should we be trying to collaborate with to solve this problem confidently and remarkably? Of course, we also need to ask what we need inside this company to successfully engage with that external network. If we don’t have people who know a class of problem exceptionally well, we can’t even do a good job on due diligence and access the best talent or partners. So this question could help drive our acquisition, talent, or recruitment strategy.

Why might we fail?

Usually, projects or new therapeutics are going to fail for one or two reasons. Running a killer experiment, focused on likely sources of failure, can actually save a lot more time than a pilot that’s likely to confirm that this is an interesting area to be in, where we may be able to do something.

How can we shape the market?

In any high-innovation area, there’s a heavy dose of “shaping”—both of the market and of the environment you will be walking into—that needs to take place to make this market worth getting into. Getting specific about what you have the ability to shape, and which points of influence you can begin to put in place, is invaluable.

* from an article in McKinsey Quarterly www.mckinseyquarterly.com

Study Resources of the Month

Books

Hugh G. Courtney: 20/20 Foresight: Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2001.

Anita M. McGahan: How Industries Evolve: Principles for Achieving and Sustaining Superior Performance, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2004.

Phil Rosenzweig: The Halo Effect and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, New York: Free Press, 2007.

Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

Quotes from the Gurus

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without a strategy is simply the noise before defeat – Sun Tzu

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do – Michael Porter

What counts in global competition is the right strategy – Heinrich von Pierer

Consider the mouse – how wise an animal that it never entrusts its life to one hole only – Plautus

What do you want to achieve? The answer is objectives. How will you achieve your objectives? The answer to that is called strategy – William E Rothschild

When you’re absolutely sure that you know which road to take – don’t sit there looking at it – start walking! – Ayn Rand

Useful Study Links

In keeping with this month’s Personal and Career Development Tip of the Month and Strategic Management Theme, here are some websites that have newsletters related to strategic management:

www.strategyplus.org

www.methodframeworks.com

www.decision-making-solutions.com

www.strategy4u.com

www.oecd.org

www.vision2020uk.org

www.oracle.com

www.cwn.org.uk

www.toolbox.com

www.bigbusinessinsight.com

www.cim.com

www.strategicmanagement.net

www.bus.lsu.edu

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