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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

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.

Find the sinkholes in your strategy

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:

Stop blocking collaboration in your firm

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.

Five strategy beliefs that are just plain wrong

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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.

Don’t just lead your industry – dominate it

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”.

The lessons leaders everywhere can learn from Chinese companies

Chinese companies can teach the West responsiveness, flexibility, improvisation and speed, say Thomas Hout and David Michael, writing for the Harvard Business Review.

Using your emotions in negotiations

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.

Why you need to get marketing and IT to work together – and how to do it

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.

How to plan for the long term and the short term at the same time

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.

How to thrive in a slow-growth industry

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.

Tips on selecting and trialling new management practices

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”.

Why Peter Drucker was wrong about culture and strategy

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.

Is it time to reinvent your brand?

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.

How to defeat your rivals in a price war

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.

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