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Strategy

Do you have a clear business strategy? We examine the strategy and tactics practised by some of the world’s most successful companies, and share the policies for strategic success. Leadership Review members automatically receive our annual Strategy Blueprint

Use disruption to change for the better

Writing for Strategy+Business, Jon Katzenbach observes that a disruptive event can cause people to change behaviours immediately. However, he also points out that it will rarely have a lasting effect on deeply embedded cultural flaws unless a leader uses the event to spread critical changes.

Five ways consultants get it wrong for your business

Every business leader needs help at some time in their career. A view from an outsider can throw a new light on a tricky problem, and the right consultant can mean the difference between success and failure.

Why marketing managers can’t afford to ignore the power of online reviews

Online reviews and other sources of peer-to-peer information are a significant and growing force in consumer choices and spending decisions.

However, writing for Harvard Business Review, Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen observe that many marketers are neglecting this trend and are still working much as they did ten years ago.

Want your business to grow? First you must break through these barriers

The majority of businesses fail to grow, observes Verne Harnish, writing for Fortune. But although most are only small ventures, unlikely to become the next Google or Amazon, there is still plenty of potential going to waste.

According to Harnish, to become a thriving, mid-market company, it is necessary to overcome the following three barriers to growth:

Are you comfortable with your strategy? You shouldn’t be...

Strategy is important, as every executive knows. But some are frightened by it because it requires them to make decisions that cut off other possibilities and options – so they fear that making the wrong decision could potentially wreck a career.

Existing customers versus new prospects: who should get the reward?

Should you reward your existing customers for their loyalty, or spend your marketing budget on attracting new business? This is the dilemma explored by Jiwoong Shin and K. Sudhir, writing for MIT Sloan Management Review.

The authors observe that expert opinions differ on the relative merits of the two strategies.

You want big data? Maybe you have enough data already

Big data has been hyped to such an extent that companies now expect it to deliver more than it actually can, according to Jeanne W. Ross, Cynthia M. Beath and Anne Quaadgras, writing for Harvard Business Review.

They also observe that analytics-generated insights can be replicated quite easily.

Productivity on the slide? Here’s what to do

Writing for Management Today, John Spencer points out one of the economic puzzles of recent years: the decline in the rate of productivity growth.

Spencer observes that a feature of previous recessions was the rise in productivity per worker coupled with the growth of unemployment.

Why it's essential to identify your primary customer

You might think you have a customer-driven strategy, but it’s not always obvious who your most important customers are. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Robert Simons describes the term “customer” as one of the most elastic in management theory.

Can a great logo really improve company performance?

Think of a powerful company and it’s likely to have an equally powerful logo. Examples include the golden arches of McDonald’s, Starbucks’ mermaid and the bitten apple of – yes – Apple.

Why do some companies innovate more successfully than others?

Michael Kidner, Colour Column, Flowers Gallery

Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Christine Crandell discusses why some companies successfully innovate and others don't.

Crandell argues that high rates of failure for new products – "once considered an inevitable cost of doing business" – are unacceptable in the modern business environment.

An entrepreneur's guide to strategic thinking

Michael Kidner, Canterbury, Flowers Gallery

Entrepreneurs often devote a lot of time to their initial business idea, as well as the figures involved. But all too often, little time is afforded to strategic thinking.

This problem can become more acute as the business grows and the leader spends most of his time concerned with the day-to-day running of the company.

How can businesses tempt the new debt-averse consumer?

Michael Kidner, Circle After Image, Flowers Gallery

In  Harvard Business Review, Eric Janszen considers the current economic climate and discusses the challenge of selling to debt-averse consumers.

Motivation: why money might not be as effective as you thought

Trevor Sutton, Window, Flowers Gallery

Money might not be the great motivator it is generally believed to be. That is the shock conclusion of a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, discussed by Hardy Green on Fortune.

The lessons of mission-driven companies

Trevor Sutton, Butterfly, Flowers Gallery

Mission-driven companies come under the spotlight in an entry for Harvard Business Review's Blog Network by Michael V. Russo.

Why digital communication is no substitute for face-to-face management

Eduardo Paolozzi, Landscape, Flowers Gallery

With the business environment now relying heavily on digital technology for communication, the importance of face-to-face management is emphasised by Jerry S. Wilson at Businessweek.com.

Managing innovation: why should your team follow you?

Terry Frost, Saint Raphael, Flowers Gallery

According to G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Viton on BusinessWeek.com, the first step towards managing innovation is addressing a key question from employees: "Why should I follow you?"

How should leaders cope with change during difficult times?

Terry Frost, Rider's Song, Flowers Gallery

In an interview by Terry Waghorn on Forbes.com, leadership guru Kevin Cashman offers advice on staying ahead of change in tough times for business.

The five skills that set true innovators apart

Terry Frost, Suspended Forms, Flowers Gallery

In Harvard Business Review, Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen discuss the five "discovery skills" that make true innovators stand out from the crowd.

How to improve your company's customer service in the post-recession environment

William Crozier, Flowers Gallery

Providing good customer service is the subject under discussion in an article by Dave Dougherty and Ajay Murthy in Harvard Business Review.

Downsizing: how should you manage a reduced workforce?

Betsy Dadd, Dad, Flowers Gallery

With the global economic crisis gathering pace and downsizing becoming increasingly prevalent, Tara Weiss of Forbes.com discusses the thorny issue of managing a reduced workforce.

Denial can block change so here's how you can defeat it

Betsy Dadd, Empty Pool, Flowers Gallery

On BusinessWeek.com, Rosabeth Moss Kanter of HarvardBusiness.org discusses how denial can prevent necessary change and describes four tools that can be used to defeat the deniers.

Those wishing to avoid or combat denial can make use of these:

Are you at risk from CEO-itis?

Julie Cockburn, Foldface, Flowers Gallery

There’s an affliction you could be at risk of contracting. It affects many people in positions of power and the symptoms include “a tendency toward isolation, belief that you’re smarter than others, preference for loyalists, aversion to changing course even in the face of failure – and love of royal treatment”.

Can Western businesses survive the recession with cost-innovation strategies used in emerging markets?

Jack Smith, Zig Zag, Flowers Gallery

According to Peter J. Williamson and Ming Zeng, writing for the Harvard Business Review, Western businesses can cope better in these recessionary times by adopting cost-innovation strategies that have worked for emerging-market companies.

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