Ian Davis

The causes of business demise—of a failure to endure—are well documented at a general level. They include failure to address changes in market demand or competition effectively; human failings such as hubris, exhaustion, or loss of ambition; loss of operational competitiveness; and above all an inability to deal with new, often disruptive, technological innovations. And sometimes, of course, external factors outside a company’s control, such … [ Read more ]

Ian Davis

Companies get into trouble—or the financial markets get unduly agitated or frustrated—when there is a mismatch between natural industry cycles and investor, customer, or even employee horizons. A primary task of strategic management is to define the relevant planning cycles and to think about how to manage from one to the next.

Ian Davis

A company’s strategy should consist of a portfolio of initiatives that consciously embraces different time horizons. Companies do, of course, have different business units with distinct strategies. But few strategies direct a company in a way that will enable it to adapt to events and capitalize on opportunities as they arise. Some initiatives in the portfolio will influence short-term performance. Others will create options for … [ Read more ]

Reflections on Corporate Longevity

McKinsey’s former managing director Ian Davis explores the phenomenon of long-lived companies and the values and practices they share.

Letter to a Newly Appointed CEO

McKinsey’s former managing director Ian Davis offers to new CEOs advice distilled from his experience supporting executives during their transitions into the role.

What is the business of business?

By building social issues into strategy, big companies can recast the debate about their role in society.