Developing Strategy

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The Downstream Damage of the Leadership Skills Gap

  • Read Time: 4 min 

Despite companies’ efforts to invest in leadership development, studies show that managerial skills gaps are increasingly common. The downstream effects of these gaps negatively affect not only businesses but extend to the global economy as well. To address this critical problem, leaders must place increased focus on their own development as managers in order to facilitate an increase in productivity across the board.

Creating Digital Offerings Customers Will Buy

How can companies decide which new digital offerings to pursue? Successful digital offerings are created at the intersection of what technologies can deliver and what customers want and will pay for. That point of intersection, however, has proved to be elusive. To find it, companies must experiment repeatedly, cocreate with customers, and assemble cross-functional development teams — and the insights gleaned along the way must be shared internally.

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Information Overload?

Counterpoints takes on two pressing questions in the sports analytics field: the issue of information overload and whether there is such a thing as too much data, and a very different — but related — issue: Biometrics. We’ll go to the mat over whether professional athletes will be willing to share their personal biometric data in real time.

How Business Ecosystems Rise (and Often Fall)

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

It’s tempting to look at high-profile business ecosystems and assume that the model is a reliable formula for success. In fact, many ecosystems never earn a significant market share, and only about 15% dominate their markets over time. An analysis shows that most share a common life cycle, with several critical windows along the way. For management, the key is understanding these windows and adjusting the company’s strategy over time to meet the unique requirements of each.

Digital Success Requires Breaking Rules

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Developing new rules for the digital age is proving uncomfortable for people at every organizational level. Digitization (the transformation for operational excellence) requires top-down leadership principles with centralized accountabilities, while success with digital business (the transformation toward rapid innovation) requires local empowerment with distributed accountabilities. These are basically opposite approaches to accountability, but they’re both necessary.

Why Company Culture Matters for Strategic Results

Good corporate culture can turbocharge performance, while a bad culture can wreak havoc on a company’s reputation and results. When companies strike the right balance on culture, they can align behavior with corporate strategy while allowing employees flexibility to exercise judgment and initiative.

Strategy For and With AI

Executives intent on exploiting AI to enhance processes or products tend to focus on having a strategy for AI. But creating strategy with AI can matter as much or even more. In a machine-learning era, enterprise strategy is defined by the KPIs that leaders choose to optimize —the measures organizations use to create value, accountability, and competitive advantage. AI can help determine what KPIs are measured, how they are measured, and how best to prioritize them.

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Make Gender Equality a Value, Not a Priority

  • Read Time: 3 min 

To make gender equality a reality, organizations need to shift their thinking about what it means to them — that is, to make it part of their company’s values and a permanent driver of culture rather than a mere priority that might change in time. Lessons can be learned from the energy sector, which saw a cultural shift take place around another crucial workplace issue: safety.

The World in 2030: Nine Megatrends to Watch

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  • Read Time: 8 min 

Nine fast-moving megatrends are shaping where our world will be in 11 years. From demographics to urbanization to the big one — climate change — and more, the directions we’re heading and choices we make in the next decade will have enormous impacts on our careers, businesses, and lives.

How to Become a Strategic Leader

  • Read Time: 7 min 

For managers, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that simply engaging in high-level product and business discussion is “being strategic.” But with this approach, leaders may be neglecting the core problems their organizations need to address most. By investing more time in three key activities, new and experienced managers alike can become better strategic leaders.

How a Group of NASA Renegades Transformed Mission Control

  • Read Time: 8 min 

NASA’s Pirates were rebel innovators who created an award-winning mission control system for the shuttle program in record time, on a shoestring budget, and in the face of political resistance. Such renegades are committed to elevating business capabilities and future proofing them for novel challenges, often despite opposition from the status quo. Organizations that want to be ambidextrous need to create a climate that fosters such renegades and nurtures them when they appear.

Why Hypotheses Beat Goals

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies that aggressively pursue learning must accept the possibility of failure. But simply setting goals and being nonchalant if they fail is inadequate. Instead, companies should focus organizational energy on hypothesis generation and testing. Hypotheses force individuals to articulate in advance why they believe a given course of action will succeed. A failure then exposes an incorrect hypothesis — which can more reliably convert into organizational learning.

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“Out-Getting” Is the Next Great Baseball Strategy. Or Not.

In this episode of Counterpoints, the subject is baseball — specifically, the analytics-centered strategy for pitchers called out-getting, which focuses on pitchers’ efficiency rather than on when, how often, and how much they pitch. Will this practice transform baseball in the classic Moneyball tradition — or will it simply be an interesting tactic that teams sometimes use to gain a temporary advantage?

A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Many decisions about strategy require that senior executives make evaluative judgments on the basis of extensive, complex information. Such work is prone to common errors, but a disciplined, sequential approach can mitigate those errors and improve the quality of both one-off and recurrent decisions in an array of business domains. The process described in this article is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for intuition.

The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

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