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Category: 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

Build a social-purpose programme that works

Tom Hammick

The best social-purpose programmes are authentic, inform innovation and steer investment towards social causes.

Match your firm’s social aspirations to its growth needs to create social programmes that meet consumers’ expectations and build business value.

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How to navigate the hub economy

Terry Frost 2

The global economy is coalescing around a few digital superpowers. A winner-take-all world is emerging where economic power is now concentrated in the hands of a few digital “hub firms”.

Here’s how you can push back.

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Seven ways to land the big deal

Patrick Hughes

Megadeals are the holy grail for many organisations. It’s not unusual for 40% of projected revenues to come from just 1% of deals.

Losing one can mean missing revenue targets. But winning one on the wrong terms can destroy value because of bad pricing or terms and conditions.

Here are seven ways to win the right megadeals.

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Three steps to find your next big innovation

Cedric Christie

When you develop new technologies you can never be sure how the market will respond. Yet the future of a given technology is not as unforeseeable as it might seem.

Here's a three-step method to help you anticipate the next development in your industry. This exercise isn’t just for high-tech firms; it’s been used with managers from grocery stores to hospitals.

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How to compete in the new borderless economy

Bernard Cohen

The onward march of digitisation will change the nature of the game for everyone – including your company – over the next ten years.

It's time to recognise and accept this impending change and create a gameplan for a borderless economy.

Here are your four new critical priorities. 

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Four ways to turn your product into a platform

George Blacklock

Five of the ten most valuable companies in the world – Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft – get much of their worth from their “multisided platforms”.

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Andrei Hagiu and Elizabeth J Altman outline four ways you can turn your products and services into a platform, and examine the strategic advantages and pitfalls of each.

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Five tips for success when you’ve inherited a mess

Aleah Chapin

It pays to avoid classic pitfalls when the business you take on has been left in a mess by your predecessor. Taking over leadership of any business, especially as an outsider, is a challenge. 

Over half the leaders who take over a mess will have failed within a year and a half.

Here are five ways to avoid stepping on the land mines that were left for you.

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Why meetings should never mix strategy and operations

Richard Smith

As a senior executive, you need to balance the long-term strategic and short-term operational needs of your company. This is not easy, writes Sabina Nawaz for Harvard Business Review, when meetings so readily become dominated by day-to-day concerns.

Here's how to maintain your focus on the long term and stick to the bigger picture.

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Three ways to communicate clearly in changing times

Glenys Barton Angel Head

To help people understand your strategic vision and implement the change you want, make sure you send the right signals.

This is especially important during times of strategic change.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, Elsbeth Johnson describes three signals that leaders often get wrong, causing confusion, or even the opposite of what they’ve asked for.

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How to spot an effective CMO with staying power

Michael Kidner Rotational Coloured Circles

Marketing is one of the most rapidly developing areas of the business world and your company needs a champion with the qualities to embrace that challenge for the long haul, writes David Clarke for Strategy+Business.

It’s not so many years since the extent of most companies’ marketing efforts was an advert in the telephone directory. Today it’s a specialised field.

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Protect yourself from disruption

Nadav Kander

Traditional companies are not immune from the disruption associated with new technologies. To avoid disaster transform your core operations while growing into new business areas.

If you’re complacent, you leave yourself vulnerable to ‘industry compression’ – a form of slow but dangerous change that results in a prolonged decline in operating profits and revenues.

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Reorganisation: when and how to do it

Bernard Cohen

Market conditions change, and when they do leaders need to decide whether to respond by restructuring or reconfiguring.

There are two key reasons why a company might need to consider reorganisation: to “reduce ‘organisational cholesterol’” or to “change strategic direction in the face of major industry change”.

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Learn to embrace uncertainty

John MacLean

View uncertainty as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage.

When there is market disruption most companies focus on managing the potential negative consequences for their business, with the aim of minimising losses. But when the financial crisis hit in 2008, Hyundai took a different approach; the car manufacturer “leaned into market anxiety”.

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How clear vision can boost the success of your business

John Loker

A leader with foggy focus can lose their direction. So, how do you define your goals and keep your whole team on the same path?

It’s easy to be thrown off course as a new business leader. You seem to know where you’re heading then suddenly you find yourself being swayed by the grand ideas or passions of staff, customers or financial backers.

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Growth could kill your business

Floating Garden by Tom Hammick

If you want your company to continue to flourish, know when to stop growing it.

All managers should pause to consider when high growth is good for their business, and when it is bad. “What should a retailer do when growth slows? Is it doomed, or is there a way to prosper when its business matures?”

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Seven ways to reframe business problems

Tomasz Rynkiewicz

Thinkers from Albert Einstein to Peter Drucker have emphasised the importance of correctly diagnosing problems. So why do we still struggle to get it right?

Companies are good at problem solving. What they struggle with is diagnosing what those problems are.

 

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Four ways to build ‘cumulative advantage’

Cafe Jiro by Jiro Osuga

Create customer loyalty by making your products habit-forming rather than innovative.

Marketers spend a lot of time and money trying to make products stand out so they’ll be chosen. But what if novelty has the opposite effect? Writing in Harvard Business Review, A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin argue that you should offer customers not the perfect choice but the easy one.

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When disaster strikes, good managers diagnose

Eden and The Cloud Chamber by Noel Forster

“What do you do when things in your business go exactly opposite to plan?”

Dealing with things occasionally going wrong is an integral aspect of business management. The trick is to make sure that we don’t repeat our mistakes. Nobody likes to dwell on failure, but as contentious and painful a process as it might be, businesses need to undertake a thorough ‘disaster diagnosis’ before moving on.

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How to master market intelligence in emerging markets

Roman Logov

Multinational corporations have invested huge sums in emerging markets – yet returns on those investments have sometimes been disappointing.

This is often blamed on the fact that these markets are different, and companies need to adapt their products, operations and business models. But that in turn requires good market intelligence – which is harder to come by than in advanced-economy countries.

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How to maintain the momentum of a transformation

falling dominoes

Stop bad habits from reasserting themselves – and appoint a chief transformation officer.

Six years ago an engineering business realised its earnings had stalled. It embarked on a major and seemingly successful effort to transform the business: earnings increased by more than the $100m target, and it declared victory 18 months later. Yet, earlier this year, the same business filed for bankruptcy.

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How to develop a bespoke digital strategy

analytics

For your company to succeed you must develop a bespoke digital strategy to complement its unique selling proposition (USP).

A clear digital strategy is vital to provide direction and enable you to manage your company’s digital efforts, track their progress and, if necessary, change course.

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How to harness the power of transformation

caterpillar

Companies must avoid routine thinking and behaviour and embrace wholesale transformation to ensure they remain at the top of their game.

Your company’s way of doing business might have brought success for 20 years. It might still work today. But routine leads to complacency, and in the world of business, complacency can be deadly.

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How to kill bad products

packaging products

When a product fails, should you improve it or kill it? Senior managers are best placed to make the right choice – quickly.

Your engineers and managers work for months, often years, to develop and launch new products. They invest significant resources in research, marketing and distribution. So to see those products go down in flames creates a difficult choice: do you try to improve the quality and support for products – or terminate them?

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The four stages of business transformation

butterfly

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

coffee

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 way.

 

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How to protect your business from insider cyber attack

security cameras

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 are carried out by people within the company.

 

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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 grade.

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How to make your customer strategy work: the ten essentials

customer strategy

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

corporate culture

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

anne-rothenstein

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

ann-rothenstein

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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