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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

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.


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...

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...

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...

How to develop a bespoke digital strategy


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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Disaster recovery – Lessons from a corporate survivor

Limit the fallout from crises by building trust with consumers and the public

CEOs should axe corporate social responsibility units and instead make accountability everyone’s priority. The Observer’s David Hellier interviewed former BP boss Lord Browne in the wake of the emissions fixing scandal engulfing German carmaker, Volkswagen.

How to harness the power of transformation


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.

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...

Militarise your cybersecurity

computer screen

How nuclear thinking can help you eliminate human error.

JPMorgan Chase was hacked because somebody forgot to update the security settings of a server to dual-factor authentication. Health insurer Anthem’s systems fell prey to a “spear phishing” email. Edward Snowden persuaded a colleague to enter his password on Snowden’s computer.

The four stages of business transformation


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.



Four ways to succeed as an unconventional startup


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

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...

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

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.


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?

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.


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.


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.


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, 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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