Strategy

Explaining the Business Case for Sustainability Again … and Again … and Again

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

The question “What’s the business case for sustainability?” has come roaring back over the last couple of years. It’s led, in part, by more intense investor focus on the issue: Financial execs are having to become more fluent in sustainability as investors grill them about how their companies are handling climate risks around supply chains and shifting regulatory landscapes and markets.

Selling Solutions Isn’t Enough

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 14 min 

Rather than trying to sell standardized products or services to the biggest possible set of buyers, B2B companies need to develop ways to help specific customers achieve better outcomes. Instead of describing their solutions, companies first need to understand customers’ specific challenges, objectives, operating practices, and competitive environment, then create offerings to deliver value within a customer’s specific business context and culture.

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Global Competition With AI in Business: How China Differs

AI’s largest and most enduring contributions will be in non-technology sectors, and many of them will come from China. Buoyed by the country’s latest five-year plan and enabled by centralized data, Chinese companies are investing aggressively in AI and adapting their business models to make the most of AI’s potential, but unclear business cases and bottlenecks due to lacking technical capabilities hinder adoption.

Why Companies Need a New Playbook to Succeed in the Digital Age

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

In the digital world, companies need to become a destination for customers. The key is using digital as differentiation and offering customers something compelling. This requires a new playbook for how to do business as well as new ways of engaging customers. The trend is for individual and business customers to prefer just one or two powerful ecosystems in each industry, raising the stakes for leaders to better understand their options and clarify their own game plans.

Goodbye Structure; Hello Accountability

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

Companies will be able to operate as true digital organizations only when they learn how to respond quickly to unanticipated opportunities and threats. But instead of restructuring to increase agility, some organizations are assigning accountabilities for specific business outcomes to small teams or individual problem owners. Tackling new objectives is then built around individual flexibility, market-based resource allocation, experimental mindsets, and coaching rather than managing.

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Leading With Next-Generation Key Performance Indicators

MIT Sloan Management Review and Google’s new cross-industry survey about key performance indicators (KPIs) asked senior executives to explain how they and their organizations are using KPIs in the digital era. The results shed light on the challenges and emerging opportunities companies face when using KPIs, demonstrate the many ways advanced use of KPIs can benefit organizations, and offer steps executives can take to make the most of KPIs going forward.

Measure Your KPI Alignment

A new MIT SMR study measured the role of KPIs in aligning an organization toward its objectives. Three categories emerged: Measurement Leaders, Measurement Capable, and Measurement Challenged. Take this self-assessment to uncover challenges and opportunities based on your score — and find out what group you are in.

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.

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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.

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.

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