12 Essential Strategy Insights

For decades, researchers have published findings in MIT Sloan Management Review about developing and executing strategy. This collection offers a dozen of our most popular strategy articles of all time.

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“Strategy, at its heart, is about choice,” write the authors of “Turning Strategy Into Results,” an article featured below, which takes a keen look at how leaders translate the complexity of strategy into guidelines that are simple and flexible enough to execute.

A winning strategy for an organization is not based on an individual choice but an expansive, countless number of decisions happening every day across all parts of a business — product, customers, technology capabilities, and more.

In this collection of a dozen of the most popular MIT Sloan Management Review articles on strategy, renowned researchers and academic voices examine the critical choices managers make in companies every day. From insights on goal setting and communicating strategic priorities effectively, to testing and scaling new business models, these articles will help leaders sharpen their strategic thinking to face new challenges.

1. With Goals, FAST Beats SMART

Donald Sull and Charles Sull

The conventional wisdom of goal setting is so deeply ingrained that managers rarely stop to ask if it works. The traditional approach to goals — the annual cycle, privately set and reviewed goals, and a strong linkage to incentives — can actually undermine the alignment, coordination, and agility that’s needed for a company to execute its strategy.

2. A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Daniel Kahneman, Dan Lovallo, and Olivier Sibony

Reducing errors in judgment requires a disciplined process. The authors provide leaders with a framework that is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for the leaders’ intuition.

3. The Shareholders vs. Stakeholders Debate

H. Jeff Smith

An age-old question has never been more relevant than it is today: Should companies seek only to maximize shareholder value or strive to serve the often-conflicting interests of all stakeholders?

4. Turning Strategy Into Results

Donald Sull, Stefano Turconi, Charles Sull, and James Yoder

Businesses develop strategies to address complex, multilayered business environments and challenges — but to execute a strategy in a meaningful way, they must produce a set of specific priorities focused on achieving clear goals. Rather than trying to boil the strategy down to a pithy statement, it’s better to develop a small set of priorities that everyone gets behind to produce results.

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