Venkat Atluri, Miklos Dietz, Nicolaus Henke

More than 80 years ago, Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that companies establish their boundaries on the basis of transaction costs like these: when the cost of transacting for a product or service on the open market exceeds the cost of managing and coordinating the incremental activity needed to create that product or service internally, the company will perform the activity in-house. As digitization reduces … [ Read more ]

Ken Favaro

In the 1960s and 1970s, the hot concepts were the experience curve, the growth-share matrix, and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. The 1980s gave us five forces, value chain strategy, scenario planning, and total quality management. In the 1990s, business process engineering, customer loyalty, competing for time, competing for the future (core competencies), and growth horizons gained traction. Those ideas were followed by … [ Read more ]

Reid Hoffman

First-mover advantage doesn’t go to the first company that launches. It goes to the first company that scales.

Amy C. Edmondson

Closing the gap between strategy and execution may not be about better execution after all, but rather about better learning — about more dialogue between strategy and operations, a greater flow of information from customers to executives, and more experiments. In today’s fast-paced world, strategy as learning must go hand in hand with execution as learning — bypassing the idea that either a strategy or … [ Read more ]

The Case Against Corporate Short Termism

Despite strong pressures to focus on the short term, it is possible to manage for the long term and reap considerable rewards.

Ezra Greenberg, Martin Hirt, Sven Smit

Business leaders typically spend about 30 percent of their time on external engagement, but by their own assessment, few do so effectively. For more business leaders to “step up to the plate” and “play a key role in driving solutions,” they will need to do more to embed society’s concerns in their business priorities, to make external engagement an integral part of their strategy, and … [ Read more ]

Laurent Chevreux

To safeguard your company at the level of purpose, you must make strategy the servant rather than the master. Strategies are time-bound and target specific results. Your purpose, in contrast, is what makes you durably relevant to the world. Strategy is but one of several important means to operationalize your purpose. Intrinsic human connection to your purpose is even more important.

Kabir Ahuja, Jesko Perrey, Liz Hilton Segel

When controlling costs dominates the corporate agenda, it sucks the oxygen out of any growth plan.

Is Your Company Actually Set Up to Support Your Strategy?

For every company wrestling with evolutions in its strategy, success depends as much on matching the operating model to those evolutions as it does on the soundness of the strategy itself. Whether a company has reinvented itself, sought growth through expansion, or turned to partnerships or M&A, gaps between what it says it does for customers and what it delivers are usually the result of … [ Read more ]

To Grow Faster, Hit Pause — and Ask These Questions from Stripe’s COO

A lot of companies don’t decide how they want to grow until they’re well into their growth phase. For a long time, your actions pull your company along, and then all of a sudden it switches — your existing business starts pushing your behavior. External forces like feature requests, the need for more customer support, the need to create a team to do X when … [ Read more ]

Executives Fail to Execute Strategy Because They’re Too Internally Focused

Experts have opined for decades on the reasons behind the spectacular failure rates of strategy execution. In 2016, it was estimated that 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution. There are many explanations for this abysmal failure rate, but a 10-year longitudinal study on executive leadership conducted by my firm showed one clear reason. A full 61% of executives told us they were … [ Read more ]

Strategy Making: How to Tap the Wisdom of the Crowd

Even firms that typically prefer to centralise decisions needn’t miss out on the benefits of opening up their strategy making.

A Short Guide to Strategy for Entrepreneurs

As a professor teaching strategy, most recently at Harvard Business School and Northeastern University, I have tried to offer the minimum essential explanation of an integrated view of strategy, to combine the best of the many frameworks that exist, show how they relate to one another, and distill the field to the essentials that entrepreneurs need to know to get started.

I’ve published my notes … [ Read more ]

Jason Cohen

These are the components of the correct alternative to the MVP [minimum viable product]: Simple, Lovable and Complete (SLC). A SLC product does not require ongoing development in order to add value. It’s possible that v1 should evolve for years into a v4, but you also have the option of not investing further in the product, yet it still adds value. An MVP that never … [ Read more ]

Gina Gotthilf

The simplest way to implement an idea effectively may not be the simplest way to implement that idea. “Minimum” comes first in “MVP,” but “viable” is at its core.

Sarah Guo

It’s worth thinking about whether you are a category creator or disruptor. If you are creating a category, focus on market risk — do users really feel the pain and want this? Is there budget out there? If you are trying to take over a category, then what are the dynamics, the changes in technology or environment, the 10x better that will allow you to … [ Read more ]

The Case for Stock Buybacks

If paying excessive CEO salaries is the most maligned use of corporate funds, stock buybacks may well take second place. Conventional wisdom is that CEOs buy back stock to manipulate the short-term stock price. They fund the buyback by cutting investment, and so firm value suffers in the long-term. As Senator Elizabeth Warren argued, “stock buybacks create a sugar high for the corporations. It boosts … [ Read more ]

Share Buybacks Are Corporate Suicide

When firms invest too heavily in buying back shares, there is likely to be trouble ahead.

John Izzo

Having a consistent strategy may not seem like a differentiator. But having consulted with about 500 companies worldwide over the last 30 years, I have, time and again, heard employees complain that their company subscribes to the “flavor of the month” approach, constantly switching direction. Frequent changes in strategy breed both cynicism and a lack of confidence among employees. A clearly articulated, consistent strategy […] … [ Read more ]