Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win

Great companies stumble and fall when they lose it. Highfliers crash when a competitor notices they don’t have it. Start-ups shut down if they can’t develop it.

“It” is a strategy so powerful and an execution-driven mind-set so relentless that companies use it to gain more than just competitive advantage– they achieve an industry dominance that is virtually unassailable and that competitors often try to explain … [ Read more ]

Off With the Gloves: The Hardball Approach to Business

Wharton’s Michael Useem, director of the school’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, recently spoke with George Stalk, a senior vice president in The Boston Consulting Group’s Toronto office, about why companies that play the toughest often deliver the most value to their shareholders.

Avoiding China’s Rip Tide: Navigating Volatile Supply Chains

Companies that rush overseas in search of low production costs may be walking into a strategic trap, as gridlock hits ports and railways in the United States and Europe. It’s easy to underestimate the hidden costs in long supply chains and their impact on profitability. The authors demonstrate how companies can get a handle on costs by comparing the economics of a typical North American … [ Read more ]

The Turnaround Man’s Last Speech

It’s hard enough to turn around a failing company. Try steering a successful one into the headwind of elective change. Naysayers and obstructionists will land all around you. Yet companies that don’t understand how fragile their success is will lose it soon enough. In a constantly changing world, a turnaround strategy must always be in play. This article spells out the five rules of … [ Read more ]

Rules of Response

Corporate operations – their value-delivery systems – are subject to a challenging set of rules. These are the rules of response.

The Time Paradigm

Time is the secret weapon of business. Advantages in response time provide leverage for all the other competitive differences that make up a company’s overall competitive advantage.

In Harm’s Way: Getting It Right in China

Global players aren’t in China just to pursue growth. They are also there to compete head-on with the Chinese. But the biggest challenges multinationals encounter in China are often self-generated, because they fail to commit themselves fully to the effort. To keep from getting sidelined, China-bound companies must prepare to do business outside the big cities, make sure the home organization is motivated to support … [ Read more ]

Playing Hardball: Why Strategy Still Matters

The need to focus on soft issues has forced managers to take their eye off the ball and lose sight of the fact that strategy matters more than ever. But these same managers must not only realize that strategy matters, they must develop and deploy tough strategies that will defeat the competition. Today, managers must play to win.

Pricing Myopia

Executives often suffer from pricing myopia. They don’t see the freedom they have to use pricing to enhance the performance of their businesses and even create competitive advantage. Because of their distorted or limited vision, they underestimate their power to manage pricing, mistakenly believe that their customers are paying the amounts stipulated by their pricing guidelines, passively accept the prevailing approaches to pricing in their … [ Read more ]