The Journey to Exceptional Performance

When it comes to corporate financial performance, we typically think in absolute terms, measuring ROA in percentage points. We are less accustomed to thinking of corporate performance in relative terms, but knowing a company’s relative performance is essential to setting and achieving performance improvement targets and, eventually, exceptional performance.

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.

What Makes a CEO ‘Exceptional’?

We assessed the early moves of CEOs with outstanding track records; some valuable lessons for leadership transitions emerged.

Agility: It Rhymes with Stability

Companies can become more agile by designing their organizations both to drive speed and create stability.

How Aligned Is Your Organization?

Most executives today know their enterprises should be aligned. They know their strategies, organizational capabilities, resources, and management systems should all be arranged to support the enterprise’s purpose. The challenge is that executives tend to focus on one of these areas to the exclusion of the others, but what really matters for performance is how they all fit together. Consider the following questions, ideally with … [ Read more ]

What Great Managers Do Daily

Most companies understand the importance of having highly effective managers, but few invest heavily in training to help them get there. One reason is that it’s difficult to measure and quantify what good management actually looks like. While there has been a lot of great work done to identify qualitative traits of great managers — they create trust, focus on strengths, instill accountability, avoid politics, … [ Read more ]

Are You a Superboss? Here’s How to Tell

You’re a good boss. You care about your people. You have vision. You inspire others. But do you have what it takes to be a “superboss”?

The 5 Elements of a Strong Leadership Pipeline

Investments in traditional leadership development are often misguided and a waste of money. It’s not that development itself isn’t important. But there’s little evidence that much of it works. I’ll share some findings from a study my colleagues and I just completed at Deloitte. We surveyed and interviewed executives from more than 2,000 companies, asking extensive questions about how they develop leaders, how their companies … [ Read more ]

These Management Practices, Like Certain Technologies, Boost Company Performance

Management practice acts exactly as a new technology might in giving companies competitive advantage—and there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, says a new study by Raffaella Sadun and colleagues.

Creating a Strategy That Works

The most farsighted enterprises have mastered five unconventional practices for building and using distinctive capabilities.

Editor’s Note: Perhaps it’s just me, but these capabilities don’t seem particularly unconventional. They are also like many secrets-to-success studies in that they look good on paper, but offer little in the way of practical recommendations for realizing them. And, you have the ever-present correlation-causation problem. At the least, it … [ Read more ]

Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?

It takes a mix of leaders and talent to pursue a variety of growth strategies simultaneously. Few executives can do it all.

The Granularity of Growth

A fine-grained approach to growth is essential for making the right choices about where to compete.

The Do-or-Die Struggle for Growth

Does following best practice in strategy, marketing, operations, and organization generally make it possible for companies to increase their revenues consistently—or does that kind of growth usually require something more?

Why Diversity Matters

New research makes it increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially.

Business books are valuable, but only if you know how to read them

To understand success, it’s natural to study successful people and organizations. Thousands of business books are published each year, claiming to have done this very thing, and distilled success into a set of practical principles.

These books almost always contain an empowering message, whether explicitly or implicitly: that anyone can be successful if they just understand what it takes, and follow the key steps. The problem … [ Read more ]

The Journey to Exceptional Performance

When it comes to corporate financial performance, we typically think in absolute terms, measuring ROA in percentage points. We are less accustomed to thinking of corporate performance in relative terms, but knowing a company’s relative performance is essential to setting and achieving performance improvement targets and, eventually, exceptional performance.

Editor’s Note: another excellent entry in Deloitte’s Three Rules research series; this one offers fairly intuitive … [ Read more ]

Different Temptations, Same Rules

Do the Three Rules of exceptional performance apply to smaller companies? Differences in size and ownership structure, as well as resources and the demands of explosive growth, can make for a very different set of pressures and opportunities.

No Shortcuts: The Road Map to Smarter Marketing

Companies invest staggering sums of money on marketing with surprisingly little rigor. Because measuring and optimizing spending on marketing is notoriously difficult, companies often rely on rules of thumb, such as spending as a percentage of revenues. A recent benchmarking study conducted by BCG and Marketing Analytics indicates that these shortcuts can be imprecise and unreliable. This report describes a better approach—one that encompasses all … [ Read more ]