Overcoming the Eight Barriers to Making Green Mainstream

BCG has conducted in-depth research to understand the barriers impeding widespread customer adoption of sustainable offerings and behaviors and to discover how companies in different consumer categories can lower those barriers. We identified eight common barriers and found that these barriers and the most effective ways to overcome them can vary by industry. Although no one-size-fits-all approach will yield optimum results, a company can develop … [ Read more ]

David Ratajczak, Mario Simon, Leonardo Fascione, Emily Kruger, Chris Murphy, Alex Almeida

Reducing investments in brand marketing during downturns backfires in many ways. Such budget cuts are sound bites that may play well on earnings calls, but their effectiveness is dubious at best—and destructive at worst. CMOs and CFOs should instead see times of economic uncertainty as a marketing and sales opportunity to double down on the right customers, gain share, enhance the value of their customer … [ Read more ]

Hans Kuipers, Alan Iny, Alison Sander

Strong deductive capabilities allow companies to go deep, applying insights from a single source across the enterprise. And strong inductive capabilities allow them to go wide and ask, “What might this outlying piece of data foreshadow?”

Uniting Strategy and Risk Management to Seize Opportunity in Uncertainty

Today’s more uncertain environment calls for newer, more dynamic approaches to risk management and strategic planning. Successful companies foster a culture of strategic humility, anticipatory preparedness, and a willingness to act to own the future as it unfolds. And they have four critical characteristics:

  • They see risk as a two-sided coin with challenge on one side and opportunity on the other.
  • They explore the strategic implications of

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Alexander Roos, James Tucker, Fabrice Roghé, Marc Rodt, Sebastian Stange

A company’s culture is frequently at the heart of mismanaged planning, with management often rewarding the wrong behavior. Because financial incentives are still frequently tied to the achievement of short-term plans, employees can feel pressured to negotiate financial goals and to sandbag. Consequently, planning begins to feel like a bazaar instead of the organized, top-down process it should be. Employees may be motivated to reach … [ Read more ]

Smart Rules: Six Ways to Get People to Solve Problems Without You

Companies clearly need a better way to manage complexity. In our work with clients and in our research, we believe, we’ve found a different and far more effective approach. It does not involve attempting to impose formal guidelines and processes on frontline employees; rather, it entails creating an environment in which employees can work with one another to develop creative solutions to complex challenges. This … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Pidun, Sebastian Stange

While post-completion audits for large projects are common in many companies, the feedback into decision making typically happens only sporadically. Advanced companies review not only projects but also past decisions. The head of corporate strategy at a large industrial conglomerate puts it this way: “We made our biggest losses from moves not made. So we also explicitly review opportunity cost mistakes.”

Ulrich Pidun, Sebastian Stange

In most firms, incentives are tied to company or business unit performance. The consequences of large investment decisions typically take too long to materialize to have an impact on an executive’s bonus or promotion. This can lead to moral hazard, especially when managers expect to move on after a couple of years in a position.

We recommend tying personal targets and incentives to the success of … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Pidun, Sebastian Stange

Understanding the underlying risks should be a particular focus in project selection. Research has shown time and again that human beings are weak at risk assessment, but some techniques can help. A good starting point can be to frame the discussion in terms of a base question: What do we need to believe in to make this an attractive investment? This framing can help uncover … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Pidun, Martin Reeves, Maximilian Schüssler

A business ecosystem is a dynamic group of largely independent economic players that create products or services that together constitute a coherent solution.

This definition implies that each ecosystem can be characterized by a specific value proposition (the desired solution) and by a clearly defined, albeit changing, group of actors with different roles (such as producer, supplier, orchestrator, complementor). The definition excludes some of the more … [ Read more ]

Don’t Cut Your Brand-Marketing Budget. Rethink It.

Brand marketing is an easy target when CMOs face pressure to shrink budgets in times of uncertainty. CMOs often struggle to resist such cuts because most companies lack an unequivocal answer to this long-lingering question: Can brand-marketing spending be dialed down as needed to shore up financials, or is it an essential, always-on investment that must be safeguarded to avoid devastating long-term impacts on the … [ Read more ]

Inclusion Isn’t Just Nice. It’s Necessary.

Improving employees’ experience of inclusion in the workplace is one of the most actionable levers companies have to attract and retain talent. When done right, inclusion can slash attrition risk in half.

In today’s fiercely competitive environment, inclusion is akin to a hidden superpower, so why do so few companies view it as a business necessity? The answer is simple: workplace inclusion is hard to define, … [ Read more ]

How Change Aversion Can Derail a Transformation

Achieving change is difficult. Organizations spend more than $10 billion annually on change transformations, but more than 50% of efforts fail to meet objectives. To better understand why, despite our best intentions, change efforts tend to fail, we looked to the literature—and found that “loss aversion” presents a helpful point of reference.

To better understand this phenomenon, we surveyed more than 200 people across the US … [ Read more ]

How the Metaverse Will Remake Your Strategy

As digital technologies move to the next stage of advancement—the metaverse—there are two questions companies should ask: How will the metaverse change our business? And how can we get ahead of the change and shape it to our advantage? This is our perspective on both.

The Organization of the Future Is Fractal

Scale isn’t dead. But it’s critical to find the right balance between scale and fractal principles—and to do it before your competitors do.

Organization Design Will Make or Break a Deal

Only about half of companies that undergo organization design during a post-merger integration say it was successful. Leaders can flip those odds by focusing on five imperatives.

The Strategic Race to Sustainability

To get beyond the starting line, CEOs need to approach the challenges of sustainability from a strategic and value-creation perspective in terms of both the questions they ask and the answers they seek.

Familiar Yet Fatal: 10 Common Pathologies of Failed Change Efforts

75% percent of ambitious change programs fail to capture long-term value. Despite these grim odds, globally, organizations spend $10 B annually on change management efforts. That is understandable in some ways — in our evolve-or-perish environment, organizations cannot afford to stay still. But more fundamentally, it suggests that organizations need to rethink the “tried and tested” approaches to change management. Our research suggests that change … [ Read more ]

How Boards Can Focus on What Matters in Sustainability

Boards are not carving out time for high-value strategic work when it comes to environmental, social, and governance. And that’s a problem for companies pushing for sustainability.

Sebastian Stange, Bjarte Bogsnes, Hardik Sheth

Traditional budgeting is like trying to square a circle, because the process tries to meet three ultimately incompatible objectives. First, budgeting sets targets to motivate and promote performance. These targets require directional and stretch goals. Second, budgeting provides forecasts of what lies ahead, but the forecasts only work if they are realistic, unbiased predictions. Production, for example, has to know what the expected sales are, … [ Read more ]