Having a Clear Purpose Drives Performance

Does corporate purpose influence firm performance? More than two decades ago, the scholars Christopher A. Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal argued that purpose, not strategy, structure or systems, was the essential precursor to effective management. Since then, the public discourse on purpose has gone up substantially. And while there’s a growing body of research on related topics — from CSR to ESG — when it comes … [ Read more ]

Hurry! Only 3 Left in Stock! When Scarcity Signals Are Most Powerful

Telling consumers when availability is low has two effects: 1) the scarcity effect induces some customers to buy while they can for fear of missing out; and 2) seeing customers rushing to buy prompts others to follow suit, in what’s known as the herding effect. Product popularity is taken as a proxy for product value. Harnessing these effects can boost sales.

However, it can also backfire. … [ Read more ]

5 Steps to Get a Handle on Operations in Times of Crisis

Jaume Ribera breaks down the life cycle of a crisis into five stages and explores the challenges and opportunities each stage presents.

The Mistake of Allocating More Resources to Your Best Customers

Why do so many companies insist on focusing their mail campaigns on their most valuable customers? The problem, as research points out, is that many times their analyses of marketing campaigns ignore the cross-channel effects between communication and sales, so they reach the wrong conclusions. They fail to consider the influence that direct mail has on online sales or that digital campaigns have on brick-and-mortar … [ Read more ]

How Business Models Can Make or Break a Merger

Discount, premium, online-only, you name it: how a company “does business” is as important, or more so, than the geographic or product market in a merger. According to research by Timo Sohl and Govert Vroom, when two companies have similar business models, they make better partners.

204 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Valuing a Company

Valuing companies is as important as it is dangerous. A miscalculation or faulty method can prove quite costly in negotiations and investing. Moreover, there is no single, foolproof method, and absurd results are often obtained, such as those cited by IESE’s Pablo Fernández in his document cataloging 204 mistakes in company valuations. The author organizes the common mistakes into seven groups – covering errors in … [ Read more ]

A Model for Success

A business model is more than just a business plan. Avoid future headaches by reviewing the key elements of good business model design.

A New, Dynamic Way to Measure Value

Shareholders are not the only ones to benefit from the value created by a firm. Employees, customers and suppliers reap rewards, too. Introducing a new tool to measure value creation dynamically, over time: the Value Creation and Appropriation (VCA) model. IESE’s Roberto Garcia-Castro and co-authors discuss its practical implications for firm strategy.

Pankaj Ghemawat, Steven A. Altman

Global connectedness is measured along the lines of four pillars: trade (products and services), investment (capital), information (internet traffic, phone calls, print media) and people (migrants, tourists, students). These four pillars encompass most of the aspects of international connectedness that have maximum relevance for business people, policymakers, and ordinary citizens concerned with the impact of globalization on their life opportunities,

The How-to Guide for Corporate Venturing

Businesses are breaking out of the old too-big-to-fail mindset to face disruptive technologies head on. Disruption’s survivors are learning how to benefit from new modes of engagement with potential competitors and tomorrow’s startups. Call it corporate venturing. In this paper, the co-authors outline a menu of options for established businesses looking to embrace startups in their drive to achieve profitable growth.

10 Steps to Start a Management Position on the Right Foot

Taking on a new management position can create certain doubts and insecurities. A clash between expectations and reality is almost inevitable – but it can be minimized. Professor Guido Stein offers 10 tips to streamline your adaptation to a new executive role.

Think Differently – Or, Think of the Differences

Professor Pankaj Ghemawat argues that four key propositions he has put forth regarding international business also apply to intranational business – working within national borders. Recognize local biases and regional differences to help unlock strategic opportunities at home as well as abroad.

What Is the Ideal Price of a Product?

How can you optimize the price of a product or service? Julián Villanueva, José Antonio Segarra and Iciar Ferrer outline the variables to keep in mind and explain how to tailor your pricing policy. For starters, remember that most buying decisions are far from rational, as they are influenced by certain psychological factors.

Whom to Send Where? Getting International Assignments to Work for Multinationals

In multinationals with subsidiaries scattered around the world, communication is key – and complex. So what’s the best way to get firm knowledge flowing in the right directions? A large scale survey of over 800 subsidiaries in 13 countries finds that the relatively novel trend of “inpatriation” may be more useful to businesses than the traditional expat assignments for two-way knowledge flow.

Are You a Genuine Leader?

If you search for books on “leadership,” you will find hundreds of thousands of titles. But are their theories tested? Is anything new being said in each year’s releases? IESE’s Guido Stein discusses four levels of leadership and argues that influence, connection, commitment, vision and authenticity are among the essential and time-tested ingredients.

Power at Work

Four predictors of power, five factors that help the powerful stay that way and six red flags are identified by the authors after reviewing hundreds of studies on the psychology of power in organizations.

Quality in Human Treatment: An Innovative Five-Level Framework

ESE’s Domènec Melé presents a framework for “human quality treatment” (HQT) based on a recognition and respect for our shared human characteristics as well as our uniqueness. He ranks the quality of treatment in an organization according to five levels: Maltreatment, Indifference, Justice, Care, and Development.

Innovation 101 for CFOs

“Innovation is for CFOs, too,” say IESE’s Tony Davila and co-authors of this article identifying six levers of innovation applicable to any field.

5 Tips for Executives in New Roles

When executives take on new leadership positions, their ability to be effective is assumed. That is why they are appointed in the first place. But competence alone is not enough for optimal results. Thriving in a new managerial role requires setting the stage for success, winning over key colleagues, communicating according to a plan and listening to those affected by the change.

Fostering Adaptability in Tomorrow’s Executives

In today’s turbulent business environment, leaders must be able to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. A study coauthored by IESE’s Mireia Las Heras suggests that the most adaptable executives are those who have worked in a variety of different jobs during their careers and those who had access to senior managers early in their careers.

Editor’s Note: I would be very wary of drawing the … [ Read more ]