How Companies Can Speed Up the Business of Business Building

New ventures often fail—but digital capabilities change the odds. By following a business-building playbook based on your company’s strategic assets, you can accelerate growth dramatically.

Platforms! Why Now?

Many companies are concluding that classic operating-model interventions just won’t move the needle anymore. Rather than attempting yet again to optimize the matrix, they are looking for new solutions. The reasons include the need to drive digitization, build resilience, and win talent. These companies are turning to platforms.

Ten Lessons from 20 Years of BCG’s M&A Report

What does it take to succeed in M&A? For the past two decades, BCG’s annual M&A reports have explored the answers to this question. One constant in our studies is an emphasis on the elements that drive genuine, long-lasting deal success.

To mark the 20th anniversary of our M&A Report, we looked back at our rich history of analyses related to deal value creation. We refreshed … [ Read more ]

The Unified Theory of Pricing

BCG has developed a unified pricing theory, manifested in a tool they call the Strategic Pricing Hexagon, by bringing all the disparate pricing ideas, and the drivers and forces behind them, into one master structure. This article shows how the Strategic Pricing Hexagon allows leaders to look beyond the numbers and develop a pricing strategy that can change the entire trajectory of their business and … [ Read more ]

Is Your ERP System Lean and Human-Centered?

Companies have reinvented their business models, IT architecture, and ways of working. So why are they taking an outdated—and largely unsuccessful—approach to ERP?

Robert Werner, Henning Streubel, Deborah Lovich,  Joseph Halverson

Instead of asking [executive leadership team (ELT)] members to summarize how they are doing (which usually only yields positive reports), one CEO we know focuses the conversation on “What keeps you up at night?” At executive team meetings, she asks her direct reports to share their biggest challenges. Then as a team ELT members help one another by sharing ways they have successfully overcome such … [ Read more ]

For CEOs, It’s About Time

How CEOs spend their time has an outsized influence on performance, engagement, and company culture.

A CEO’s First 1,000 Days Begins with the First 100

The initial 100 days are a time for boldness and clarity—a time when CEOs can express the purest form of their vision for the company.

  • CEOs should create an integrated narrative that lays out their ambition as well as their plans for transformation, stakeholder management, talent assessment, and communications.
  • In addition to laying out their ambition and plans, they also have an opportunity to step outside their

[ Read more ]

Jeanie Duck

When an organization embarks on a change of any magnitude, its leaders tend to think that they are facing a series of operational tasks that will, if executed successfully, result in a new state of being. They don’t realize that they will also have to face an onslaught of emotions and human dynamics. I have come to understand that emotions truly are data and have … [ Read more ]

An Innovation Culture That Gets Results

This article presents some practical guidelines for executives seeking to design a high-impact innovation culture. It also outlines four areas of focus that offer a clear path for change, drawing on examples from leading innovators.

Martin Reeves, Arthur Boulenger, Adam Job

Organizations tend to neglect or downplay the ingenuity component in change initiatives. Leaders often prefer instead a simpler, mechanistic view of the world, which assumes they can easily specify and control actions using project management techniques. Moreover, organizations are often averse to change. Ideas like “breaking the rules” or “reinventing the organization” are less accepted in typical projects—and a departure from the norm will often … [ Read more ]

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

[ Read more ]

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 ]