Executing Strategy

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Image courtesy of Flickr user zoetnet.

Making Mergers Work

For organizations to achieve the psychological synergies required to realize economic synergies from mergers and acquisitions, executives need to attend to a more complex set of identity issues. These issues define the essence of the entity and give employees a clear answer to the question “Who are we?” and external stakeholders a clear answer to the question “Who are they?” Left unattended, these identity issues will diminish engagement and will affect the performance of the merged entity.

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In Defense of Delay

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  • Read Time: 2 min 

A new book, “Wait: The Art and Science of Delay,” argues that while snap decisions can be important in times of danger, our brains need time to assess other factors and resist what economists call “present bias.”

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Achieving Successful Strategic Transformation

Companies that are able to radically change their entrenched ways of doing things and then reclaim leading positions in their industries are the exception rather than the rule. Even less common are companies able to anticipate a new set of requirements and mobilize the internal and external resources necessary to meet them. The article focuses on three companies that transformed themselves and compares them with three other companies from similar industries that hadn’t been required to make a dramatic shift.

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Are CEOs Getting the Best From Corporate Functions?

At too many large companies, corporate functions like HR and IT don’t get enough strategic direction from the CEO. The result of this undermanagement is mixed performance. While some corporate functions fulfill their roles highly effectively and win praise from the heads of operating units, most do not. Without sufficient guidance, corporate functions can become — often unintentionally — self-serving.

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Why Dominant Companies Are Vulnerable

Research has shown that several factors influence a company’s ability to retain market leadership. However, one factor has largely been ignored: the psychological forces that drive decisions consumers make and, specifically, the degree to which people feel they have choices. Once people have learned a company’s technology interface, they become more efficient using that interface and are often reluctant to switch to products requiring new skills or allowing limited transfer of current skills.

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The importance of tolerating failure

  • Blog

A new working paper tackles an interesting topic: the relationship between tolerance for failure and innovation. In particular, authors Xuan Tian and Tracy Y. Wang looked at venture capitalists' tolerance for failure  -- and its effect on the innovativeness of the young companies they invested in.

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The Strategic Communication Imperative

Companies that continue to take a tactical, short-term approach to communicating with key constituencies will find it increasingly difficult to compete. Developing an integrated, strategic approach to communications will be critical to success.

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Integrate Where It Matters

Many studies have shown that the most treacherous time in the failure-strewn business of mergers comes after two companies tie the knot, when they attempt to combine operations. Surprisingly, however, they often destroy value not as a result of inattention to detail but through excessive zeal in their integration efforts.

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A Return to Basics at Kellogg

Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.

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Confronting Low-End Competition

Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.

Showing 21-40 of 67