Developing Strategy

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Corporate Spheres of Influence

The design of a corporate portfolio should be based primarily on its strategic intent and desired competitive impact, that is, on how a select set of market positions builds a platform for growth while influencing the behavior of rivals and the structure of the industry.

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The Vision Thing

Today’s almost mythical notion of the hero-leader demands that vision be a pre-eminent executive trait. Time and time again, if a corporate leader is successful, his or her vision is cited as the cause and lauded as the foundation of the leader’s greatness.

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The Balance of Power

A corporate sphere of influence is not just a platform for a company’s offensive or defensive initiatives. It is the basis upon which the company builds market power over rivals so it can maneuver freely without fear of retaliation.

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Creating Growth With Services

In a world of commoditized products, companies are turning to service offerings for growth. The key to success involves redefining markets in terms of customer activities and outcomes, not products and services.

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The Myth of Unbounded Growth

Growth is not perpetual, and its continued pursuit can be costly, especially for large, mature companies. Instead, say the authors, smart managers should acknowledge the natural limits of their company‘s path to growth and consider viable alternatives.

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Risk Management in Practice

Risk has been a top-of-mind consideration since September 11, but corporations are also concerned with less catastrophic forms of risk: customer credit problems, labor strikes, changes in market acceptance or energy prices — any type of uncertainty that could cause their businesses to stray from plan.

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Survival Under Stress

Venture capital has dried up. Business pages report on getting back to basics. It has even become fashionable to snicker about the foolish mass hallucination of the New Economy. Anyone with a new idea in a corporation is being told “cost cutting is our focus right now.&

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Competitive Pressure Systems: Mapping and Managing Multimarket Contact

Managers typically think that the competitive pressure their companies experience is solely the result of the behavior of their rivals. But, by mapping the system of pressures in which they operate, they can make the optimal choice of competitors, allies and markets to gain superior strategic influence over the evolution of their industry and their organization”s role in it.

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Strategy as Improvisational Theater

Using the metaphor of improvisational theater, the author lays out six elements of strategic improvisation that executives can apply to transform their organizations into experimental arenas. Companies that engage in such continual improvisation are better equipped to explore highly threatening disruptive technologies and embrace radical change.

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Reflecting on the Strategy Process

Some of the greatest failings of strategic management, the authors say, occur when managers take one point of view too seriously. Ideas and practices that originate from collaborative contacts between organizations, from competition and confrontation, from recasting of the old, and from the sheer creativity of managers are driving the evolution of strategic management today.

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The Delta Model: Adaptive Management for a Changing World

On the basis of research into 100 enterprises, the authors developed a helpful strategic tool, the Delta Model. Companies using the framework define strategic positions that reflect new sources of profitability, align the strategic options with their activities, and establish processes that adapt well to change. The researchers outline practical mechanisms for obtaining feedback from the adaptive processes, and they offer critical metrics to track performance.

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Successful Knowledge Management Projects

Scholars and observers from disciplines as disparate as sociology, economics, and management science agree that a transformation has occurred — knowledge is at center stage.1 Knowledge is information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and reflection.

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