Amazon is revolutionising publishing, bookselling and retail; Uber’s smartphone-integrated taxi service threatens established taxi firms in cities around the world; and Airbnb is blindsiding the hotel industry.
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No strategy is ever perfect, says Ken Favaro, writing for Strategy+Business. But it takes great leadership and confidence to recognise this.
The author poses two questions to help you work out just where your company’s weaknesses lie:
Professionals who collaborate with their colleagues on cross-disciplinary work generate more revenue, inspire greater client loyalty and give their firms competitive edge, says Heidi Gardner in Harvard Business Review.
We know a great deal about what strategy is, but very little about how to make strategy work, write Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull for Harvard Business Review.
Competitive advantage is shifting, say Thomas N. Hubbard, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi, writing for Strategy+Business. The new industry leaders are leaner and more focused than their predecessors. They are the “supercompetitors”.
Chinese companies can teach the West responsiveness, flexibility, improvisation and speed, say Thomas Hout and David Michael, writing for the Harvard Business Review.
Learn to use your emotions and you will be a better negotiator, writes Shirli Kopelman for the HBR Blog Network.
Many people fear acknowledging emotions at work, believing they only cloud judgement and impede reasoning. But, argues the author, your emotions can be an important negotiating tool, giving you energy and expression.
Marketing and IT will need to work better together if they want to generate big revenue from big data.
Big data necessitates a “marriage of convenience” between CMOs and CIOs – both of whom are responsible for turning this new resource into profit, explain Matt Ariker, Martin Harrysson and Jesko Perrey, writing for McKinsey Insights.
Is it possible to invest in tomorrow without damaging performance today? Ken Favaro, writing for Strategy+Business, looks at short-term/long-term tension and how to get over it.
Weak markets are not a valid excuse for a company’s slow growth, write Kasturi Rangan and Evan Hirsh for Strategy+Business. With the right market proposition, you can achieve success, no matter what state your industry is in.
Adopting a new management practice could give your company competitive edge and boost performance. But, warns Julian Birkinshaw, writing for Harvard Business Review, leaders should beware the “next big thing”.
The late, great management guru Peter Drucker famously commented that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. As Ken Favaro points out, writing for Strategy+Business, the quote is frequently cited by people who believe that culture is at the heart of every great company.
According to Lynn Russo Whylly, writing for ChiefExecutive.net, ignoring or missing a major consumer trend or behavioural shift can seriously damage a brand’s chances of survival.
Some big-name brands have endured by learning how to reinvent themselves, such as IBM, Apple and McDonald’s.
Competing on the basis of low prices is commonplace. But price wars are more than just trying to get an edge, observes Patrick Reinmoeller, writing for MIT Sloan Management Review.
When innovation initiatives succeed, leaders immediately want more. While this is encouraging for innovation teams, it presents them with the dual challenge of scalability and funding.
Leaders can miss growth opportunities because they are so far removed from the many day-to-day processes carried out in their organisations they lead, observe Jeremy Eden and Terri Long, writing for ChiefExecutive.net.
Strategic thinkers are shown to be the most highly effective leaders in multiple studies, observes Robert Kabacoff, writing for the HBR.org Blog Network.
So given the value of strategic thinkers, how can organisations develop more of them?
A Gartner survey in 2013 found that 64% of enterprises were either deploying or planning big data projects. However, writing for the HBR.org Blog Network, Phil Simon is sceptical.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.