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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Harvard Business Review, Eric Janszen considers the current economic climate and discusses the challenge of selling to debt-averse consumers.
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.
Mission-driven companies come under the spotlight in an entry for Harvard Business Review's Blog Network by Michael V. Russo.
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.
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?"