Strategy

Setting Goals to Execute Your Strategy

Traditional SMART goal setting works well on an individual level, but isn’t quite as useful for companies as a whole — because such goals lack transparency, so it’s hard to align them across employees and business silos. A new framework for goal setting for improved alignment uses the acronym FAST: set goals frequently, make them ambitious, measure them with specific metrics, and make them transparent.

Finding the Middle Ground in a Politically Polarized World

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Consumers and employees increasingly expect companies to engage with social, environmental, and economic issues. But business leaders can find themselves between a rock and a hard place, especially when corporate political activism is framed as “take a stand or be silent.” The reality is that companies need a more nuanced set of options.

Three Signals Your Industry Is About to Be Disrupted

Emerging technology and new business models have created new ways of serving customers and allowed digital leaders to disrupt traditional companies. Disruption rarely comes out of nowhere, however: There are common patterns to learn from and three major signals to recognize in evaluating the risk for your industry.

Bringing Lessons From #MeToo to the Boardroom

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 7 min 

In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp social movements — not to mention the continuing wave of resignations amid misconduct allegations — sexual harassment policies must be on your board’s agenda. This is true regardless of whether the organization is public, private, or nonprofit. For the sake of all its stakeholders, employees, and customers, directors need to do the right thing — and do it now.

With Goals, FAST Beats SMART

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.

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Interactive: Customer-Focused KPIs Fuel the Future of Business

Research from MIT Sloan Management Review and Google shows executives increasingly rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage and lead their organizations. But what sets leading companies apart is not so much the number of metrics they track but how they use them to better engage customers — and thereby grow their businesses.

How to Compete Against the New Breed of National Champions

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

While the threat of national champions is nothing new, their essential character has substantially changed, and the competitive advantage of national champions in the global marketplace has become more pronounced. Today’s national champions are much more sophisticated, competing in more industries, and harder to spot than ever before. As a result, Western companies need a new strategic guide for competing against them.

Why High-Tech Commoditization Is Accelerating

Technology-intensive product manufacturers, automakers, or white goods makers used to be able to capitalize on their longstanding engineering and design leadership to cement their positions. But that’s no longer the case. Today, young upstarts in many product segments, especially from China, can develop world-class design and production capabilities in a short period of time. In some cases, they are closing gaps with long-established incumbents and becoming market leaders within a decade.

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Blockchain and the Clean, Smart Grid

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Some techies think that blockchain and “tamperproof databases” will revolutionize more than money: A blockchain platform for the energy sector could accelerate the transition to renewables. Blockchain can help by making tracking energy more granular, automated, and trusted, which can allow companies to better verify claims of carbon neutrality. It could also streamline financing and insuring new energy projects and even help create a new kind of energy market.

Customer Relationships Evolve — So Must Your CRM Strategy

Customer relationships can evolve through four stages — they can be transactional, transitional, communal, or damaged. Understanding each of these stages, using them to classify customer relationships, and tailoring CRM efforts accordingly can enable your company to better deploy its limited CRM dollars. Not all outreach efforts work equally well in all stages of a relationship. And without this kind of tailoring, you’re likely wasting some of your CRM budget.

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Can IT Be Too in Sync With Business Strategy?

IT alignment can produce inertia — unless it’s accompanied by the right culture. Sure, closely aligning IT with the rest of a company’s strategy can cut costs and improve the ability to collect data, facilitating the creation of early-warning systems and operational dashboards. But a less regimented approach has its place, too, allowing responses to changing business and economic conditions that are swift and creative.

Developing a Strategy for Execution

  • Video | Runtime: 1:00:34

In this webinar by MIT Sloan’s Donald Sull, participants learn the fundamentals of strategy development. A good strategy is one that offers concrete guidance for identifying and reaching strategic priorities while retaining flexibility so the company can respond to unexpected opportunities and challenges.

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