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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

The four stages of business transformation

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Don’t rush to transform your business. Slow down, and follow the four Ds – Direction, Diligence, Development and Delivery – for lasting change.

Most business transformation projects falter because they’re rushed, but you can’t build successful transformation in a hurry. The best transformation projects are slow-cooked, not microwaved.

 

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Four ways to succeed as an unconventional startup

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How do you build a startup with no venture capital? Slowly – but you’ll end up with a sustainable business you can call your own.

The stereotypical startup begins with young entrepreneurs fresh out of Harvard with a bright idea for a disruptive innovation, and ends when they go public after a few years’ rapid growth enabled by selling off big chunks to investors. But there is another...

How to protect your business from insider cyber attack

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Safeguarding sensitive company information is something we all need to be vigilant about in this technological age. But did you know that security breaches are far more likely to be an inside job than the work of an outside hacker?

Marc van Zadelhoff, writing for Harvard Business Review, cites IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index which established that 60 per cent of all attacks...

Five breakthrough leadership lessons

John Kirby

Five key leadership behaviours lay behind rare ‘breakthrough’ success in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) business.

‘Breakthroughs’ are products that expand or create new product categories – often required to maintain or grow a company’s market share. In the CPG market, 80% of growth comes from 1% of brands. Breakthrough success is so rare that of 3,500 new brands only 18 made the...

How to make your customer strategy work: the ten essentials

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You may have great products with competitive prices and know who to target, but without an effective customer strategy you can still miss out on sales.

Writing in Strategy+Business, Thomas Ripsam and Louis Bouquet present ten principles to help you succeed by adding distinctive value and experience to your offering.

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Eight essential practices of change-agents

Change-Agent's Compass

Leading breakthrough change is hard. Whether small scale or large, pioneering is difficult and messy. There are many balls to juggle, and the environment is constantly changing. And there’s the problem: it can be hard to focus on the right thing to do at the right time.

Enter the Change-Agent's Compass.

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Why operating without a safety net could be the secret to success

Backup plan

Does your backup plan have your back, or is it holding you back?

“Get rid of your safety net,” says Stephanie Vozza in an article written for Fast Company, in which Vozza proposes that having a backup plan might not always be good for business.

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Corporate culture: what is it and how do you change it?

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Developing the right culture for your company can mean the difference between success or failure

Most of us want an organisational culture that “leaves employees engaged, loyal, empowered to innovate and quick to collaborate,” says Adam Gale, writing for Management Today. The problem is, culture is difficult to define and even harder to change.

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Find emotional connections and bond your board

There’s more to building a successful management team than strategies and directives – people’s feelings come into play too.

Your board members may be good at their particular roles, but when you put any group of people together, emotions will always have an impact. How you choose to deal with them will affect outcomes, says Dr Lola Gershfeld, writing for Chief Executive.

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Why digital transformation means changing your company’s culture

The best strategy in the world will be doomed to failure unless you create the right environment for success.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” says strategist and consultant Thomas Brown, writing for Raconteur. Companies looking to succeed in a constantly evolving digital world will need to reorient their organisation in a way that supports their initiative.

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Four ways to get onboard with digital

Increase the digital quotient of your board to stay ahead.

Do you feel outmatched, outpaced and overwhelmed by ever-changing technology? A third of directors say their business models will be disrupted in the next five years, yet few sponsor digital initiatives. Writing for McKinsey Quarterly, Hugo Sarrazin and Paul Willmott outline four ways to help your board adapt to the digital...

Three essential steps to stop a cyber attack on critical infrastructure

Recent targeting of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure – such as electricity, gas and water supplies – has highlighted the need for improved security of industrial control systems (ICS). Dana Pasquali, writing in DarkReading.com, urges organisations to take immediate action and sets out three priorities.

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Why leaders need to make time for the lost art of thinking

You might get to the top by getting things done. But a bias for doing rather than thinking leaves you ill equipped for leadership.

Busy as he was, even Microsoft founder Bill Gates managed to set aside regular time for strategic thinking.

Learn to make time for thinking and encourage your managers to do likewise or your business risks stagnation.

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Is your performance strategy based on assumptions?

It seems obvious: happier employees give better service, which increases customer loyalty and leads, in turn, to stronger financial performance.

But blind acceptance of these assumptions can lead you to the wrong strategy.

Your company has its own unique performance drivers and pathways. Understanding the relationships that matter to your firm leads to smarter improvement...

Make better choices by expanding your decision frame

Faced with a complex and important decision, executives spend too little time exploring and extending the options.

Leaders quickly settle on just a couple of alternatives and take only a few criteria into account.

While this approach might work for straightforward problems, you need to expand your decision frame for complex and strategically significant decisions. Here’s how....

Investing in credibility for greater success

Even the most logical proposals for change can be met with suspicion unless executives deliver them with integrity.

But how do you consistently get your message across to your teams in a positive and believable way?

By taking three key steps, leaders can allow their sincerity to shine and have a greater chance of success. Here’s what a “credibility first” transformation model...

Want to go digital? Change your core beliefs first

You need to do much more than pay lip service to digitisation.

Too many incumbents tinker with digital transformation, leaving them vulnerable to competition from tech-savvy startups.

The only way to meet the challenge is to turn your core beliefs upside down.

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Send your firm into hypergrowth

Want to replicate the exponential growth rates of firms like Uber and Buzzfeed? You can.

It took Uber just three years from its establishment in 2009 to achieve a valuation of $18.2bn. Within a decade Buzzfeed grew its monthly usership to 200 million with six billion content views.

Follow these six guidelines to send your firm into hypergrowth.

Create your firm’s future today

What you do today determines your company’s future. The most successful firms learn to detect, analyse and capitalise on the earliest signs of emerging trends.

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Vijay Govindarajan describes how firms can master "planned opportunism" – a systematic process of detecting and interpreting the first signs of future developments in everything from customer...

Superforecasting: how to make winning judgment calls

While no one can foresee the future with 100% accuracy, training your analysts to forecast objectively and work collaboratively can help you stay ahead of the competition.

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Why you need to measure the relative performance of your company

Want to improve your firm’s position in the market? Start with your relative performance, write Michael Raynor and Derek Pankratz for Harvard Business Review.

Use your brand to attack new markets

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Innovation isn’t just for startups – established companies can attack new markets too.

Incumbent firms operating in mature, saturated markets should use the power of their brands to tap the growth potential of new sectors, say Jean-Baptiste Coumau, Victor Fabius and Thomas Meyer writing for McKinsey Insights.

How to survive global crisis

“The old geopolitical model is breaking down, but the only thing emerging in its place is crisis,” Ian Bremmer writes in Strategy+Business.

Adapt to digitisation or prepare to be obsolete

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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