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Strategy or Culture: Which Is More Important?
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” These words, often attributed to Peter Drucker, are frequently quoted by people who see culture at the heart of all great companies. Those same folks like to cite the likes of Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, and Zappos, whose leaders point to their companies’ cultures as the secret of their success.

The argument goes something like this: “Strategy is on paper whereas culture determines how things get done. Anyone can come up with a fancy strategy, but it’s much harder to build a winning culture. Moreover, a brilliant strategy without a great culture is ‘all hat and no cattle,’ while a company with a winning culture can succeed even if its strategy is mediocre. Plus, it’s much easier to change strategy than culture.” The argument’s inevitable conclusion is that strategy is mere ham and eggs for culture.

But this misses a big opportunity to enhance the power of both culture and strategy. As I see it, the two most fundamental strategy questions are:

1. For the company, what businesses should you be in?

2. And for each of those businesses, what value proposition should you go to market with?

A company’s specific cultural strengths must be central to answering that first question. For example, high-margin, premium-product companies that serve wealthy customers do not belong in businesses where penny-pinching is a source of great pride and celebrated behavior. Southwest has chosen not to enter a NetJets-like business, and that’s a sound decision.

Likewise, companies whose identity and worth are based on discovery and innovation do not belong in low-margin, price-competitive businesses. For example, pharmaceutical companies that traditionally compete by discovering novel, patentable drugs and therapies will struggle to add value to businesses competing in generics. The cultural requirements are just too different. This is why universal banks struggle to win in both commercial and investment banking. Whatever synergies they might enjoy (for instance, from common customers and complementary capital needs) are more than offset by the cultural chasm between these two businesses: the value commercial bankers put on containing risk and knowing the customer, versus the value investment bankers have for taking risk and selling innovative financial products.

Maintaining cultural coherence across a company’s portfolio should be an essential factor when determining a corporate strategy. No culture, however strong, can overcome poor choices when it comes to corporate strategy. For example, GE has one of the most productive cultures in the world, and its former leader, Jack Welch, concedes that his acquisition of Kidder Peabody was a failure because its cultural needs did not fit GE’s cultural strengths. The impact of culture on a company’s success is only as good as its strategy is sound.

No culture, however strong, can overcome poor choices when it comes to corporate strategy.

Culture also looms large in answering the second question above. In most businesses, customers consider more than concrete features and benefits when choosing between alternative providers; they also consider “the intangibles.” In fact, these often become the tiebreaker when tangible differences are difficult to discern. For example, most wealthy individuals choose financial advisors more for their personal chemistry or connections than their particular range of mutual funds. Virgin Airlines tries to attract passengers who like its offbeat, non-establishment attitude in how it operates. Culture experts are right to point out Southwest, Nordstrom, and Zappos because these companies have instilled norms of behavior that are essential features of their winning value propositions: from offering consistently low-price, high-quality service in Southwest’s case, to consistently delivering surprising staff service at Nordstrom and leading customer satisfaction at Zappos. What these companies really demonstrate is how culture is an essential variable—much like your product offering, pricing policy, and distribution channels—that should be considered when choosing strategies for your individual businesses. This is especially so when the behavior of your people, and particularly your frontline staff, can give you an edge with your customers.

Strategy must be rooted in the cultural strengths you have and the cultural needs of your businesses. If culture is hard to change, which it is, then strategy is too. Both take years to build; both take years to change. This is one of the many reasons that established companies struggle with big disruptions in their markets. For example, all the major credit card companies are seeking to transition from traditional payments to digital commerce. This shift in strategy will be difficult to pull off. It not only requires a cultural change, but also a change in companies’ target customer, value propositions, and essential capabilities—the three most fundamental choices a business strategy comprises!

Consigning strategy to just a morning meal for culture does injustice to both. Confining culture to the narrow role of “enabling” strategy prevents it from strengthening strategy by being part of it. It also weakens the power of strategy to turn your company’s cultural strengths into a source of enduring advantage.

Don’t let culture eat strategy for breakfast. Have them feed each other.
cultural_clash  cultural_change  intangibles  management  organizational_culture  Peter_Drucker  questions  quotes  strategy  synergies  value_propositions  via:enochko  unscalability 
march 2019 by jerryking
Tyson Made Its Fortune Packing Meat. Now It Wants to Sell You Frittatas.
Feb. 13, 2019 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

Tyson’s strategy is to transform the 84-year-old meatpacking giant into a modern food company selling branded consumer goods on par with Kraft Heinz Co. or Coca-Cola Co.
.....Tyson wants to be big in more-profitable prepared and packaged foods to distance itself from the traditional meat business’s boom-and-bust cycles. America’s biggest supplier of meat wants to also be known for selling packaged foods........How’s the transformation going? Amid an historic meat glut, the company’s shares are worth $4.9 billion less than they were a year ago—and are still valued like those of a meatpacker pumping out shrink-wrapped packs of pork chops and chicken breasts....Investors say the initiatives aren’t yet enough to counteract the steep challenges facing the poultry and livestock slaughtering and processing operations that have been the company’s core since....1935.....Record red meat and poultry production nationwide is pushing down prices and eroding Tyson’s meat-processing profit margins. Tariffs and trade barriers to U.S. meat have further dented prices and built up backlogs, while transport and labor costs have climbed. .......The packaged-foods business is itself struggling with consumers gravitating toward nimbler upstart brands and demanding natural ingredients and healthier recipes........Tyson's acquisition of Hillside triggered changes, including the onboarding of executives attuned to consumer trends. Tyson added managers from Fortune 100 companies, including Boeing Co. and HP Inc., who replaced some meat-processing officials who led Tyson for decades. The newcomers brought experience managing brands, understanding consumers, developing new products and building new technology tools, areas Tyson deemed central to its future......A chief sustainability officer, a newly created position, began working to shift Tyson’s image among environmental groups, .....Shifting consumer tastes have created hurdles for other packaged-food giants, such as Campbell Soup Co. and Kellogg Co. .... the meat business remains Tyson’s biggest challenge. In 2018 a flood of cheap beef, fueled by enlarged cattle herds, spurred a summer of “burger wars,” meat industry officials said. .......investment in brands and packaged foods hasn’t insulated Tyson’s business from these commodity-market swings. ........The company is also trying to improve its ability for forecast meat demand..........developing artificial intelligence to help Tyson better predict the future.........Scott Spradley, who left HP in 2017 to become Tyson’s CTO, said company data scientists are crunching numbers on major U.S. metropolitan areas. By analyzing historic meat consumption alongside demographic shifts, the number of residents moving in and out, and the frequency of birthdays and baseball games, Mr. Spradley said Tyson is building computer models that will help plan production and sales for its meat business. The effort aims to find patterns in data that Tyson’s human economists and current projections might not see. ......Deep data dives helped steer Tyson toward what executives say will be one of its biggest new product launches: plant-based replacements for traditional meat,
Big_Food  brands  Coca-Cola  CPG  cured_and_smoked  data_scientists  forecasting  Kraft_Heinz  meat  new_products  plant-based  predictive_modeling  prepared_meals  reinvention  shifting_tastes  stockpiles  strategy  sustainability  tariffs  Tyson 
february 2019 by jerryking
MISC Magazine
A journal of strategic insight and foresight.
magazines  strategy  strategic_thinking  foresight 
october 2018 by jerryking
The New Innovator’s Dilemma: When Customers Won’t Pay for Better - WSJ
Aug. 15, 2017 | WSJ | By Denise Roland.

As the turmoil at Novo Nordisk shows, there are commercial limits to innovation. Nokia Corp. and BlackBerry Ltd. both lost their market dominance in smartphones because competitors beat them with major technological advances. Both firms are in the process of reinventing themselves.

In other cases, though, innovation has hit a wall. That is especially the case in some pockets of the pharmaceuticals business, where the scope for big improvements is narrowing.
CDC  Novo_Nordisk  innovation  pricing  marketing  strategy  insulin  diabetes  Denmark  Danish  pharmaceutical_industry  pharmacy-benefit_management 
august 2017 by jerryking
Building an Empire on Event Data – The Event Log
Michelle WetzlerFollow
Chief Data Scientist @keen_io
Mar 31

Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix have built their businesses on event data. They’ve invested hundreds of millions behind data scientists and engineers, all to help them get to a deep understanding and analysis of the actions their users or customers take, to inform decisions all across their businesses.
Other companies hoping to compete in a space where event data is crucial to their success must find a way to mirror the capabilities of the market leaders with far fewer resources. They’re starting to do that with event data platforms like Keen IO.
What does “Event Data” mean?
Event data isn’t like its older counterpart, entity data, which describes objects and is stored in tables. Event data describes actions, and its structure allows many rich attributes to be recorded about the state of something at a particular point in time.
Every time someone loads a webpage, clicks an ad, pauses a song, updates a profile, or even takes a step into a retail location, their actions can be tracked and analyzed. These events span so many channels and so many types of interactions that they paint an extremely detailed picture of what captivates customers.
data  data_driven  massive_data_sets  data_scientists  event-driven  events  strategy  engineering  Facebook  Google  Amazon  Netflix 
april 2017 by jerryking
Transitioning Pro-Bono Service to Paid Accounts
(1) Doing so would be contrary to any consultant’s positioning. If consultants choose to give away advice, it should be because they truly care about the cause. Doing so with the expectation that it could be turned profitable would be disingenuous. (2) When your primary deliverable is incorporeal (advice, strategy, direction, etc.), getting a client to start paying for that kind of service after they’ve already been receiving it for free is very, very difficult- even if they say they are willing.
pro-bono  management_consulting  advice  strategy  disingenuous 
january 2017 by jerryking
Advice for Data Scientists on Where to Work | Stitch Fix Technology – Multithreaded
It's a good time to be a data scientist. If you have the skills, experience, curiosity and passion, there is a vast and receptive market of companies to choose from. Yet there is much to consider when evaluating a prospective firm as a place to apply your talents. Even veterans may not have had the opportunity to experience different organizations, stages of maturity, cultures, technologies, or domains. We are amalgamating our combined experience here to offer some advice - three things to look for in a company that could make it a great place to work.

Work for a Company that Leverages Data Science for its Strategic Differentiation

Companies employ various means of differentiation in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Some differentiate themselves using price, striving to be the low-price leader. Others differentiate by product, providing an offering that is superior in some way. Still others differentiate by their processes - for example providing faster shipping.

A Data Scientist should look for a company that actually uses data science to set themselves apart from the competition. Note that data science may be supportive of lower prices, better products, and faster shipping, however, it is not typically the direct enabler of these differentiators. More commonly, the enablers are other things - economies of scale in the case of lower prices, patents or branding in the case of product, and automation technology in the case of faster shipping. Data science can directly enable a strategic differentiator if the company's core competency depends on its data and analytic capabilities. When this happens, the company becomes supportive to data science instead of the other way around. It's willing to invest in acquiring the top talent, building the necessary infrastructure, pioneering the latest algorithmic and computational techniques, and building incredible engineering products to manifest the data science.

"Good enough" is not a phrase that is uttered in the context of a strategic differentiator. Rather, the company and the data scientist have every incentive to push the envelope, to innovate further, and to take more risks. The company's aspirations are squarely in-line with that of the data scientist's. It's an amazing intersection to be at – a place that gets you excited to wake up to every morning, a place that stretches you, a place that inspires you (and supports you) to be the best in the world at what you do.

Work for a Company with Great Data

In determining what will be a great company to work for, data-science-as-a-strategic-differentiator is a necessary criteria, but it is not sufficient. The company must also have world-class data to work with.

This starts with finding a company that really has data. Spotting the difference between data and aspirations of data can be especially important in evaluating early-stage companies. Ideally you'll find a company that already has enough data to do interesting things. Almost all companies will generate more data as they grow, but if you join a company that already has data your potential for impact and fulfillment will be much higher.

Next look for data that is both interesting and that has explanatory power. One of the most important aspects of your daily life will be the extent to which you find the data you work with compelling. Interesting data should require your creativity to frame problems, test your intuition and push you to develop new algorithms and applications. Explanatory power is just as important - great data enables great applications. There should be enough signal to support data science as a differentiating strength.

Finally, don't fixate on big data. The rising prominence of the data scientist has coincided with the rise of Big Data, but they are not the same thing. Sheer scale does not necessarily make data interesting, nor is it necessarily required. Look for data with high information density rather than high volume, and that supports applications you find interesting or surprising. This enables you to spend most of your mental energy on analysis and framing rather than on efficient data processing.

Work for a Company with Greenfield Opportunities

When evaluating opportunities, find a company that doesn't have it all figured out yet. Nearly all companies that fit the criteria in the sections above will already have some applications in place where the work of data scientists is essential. Look for those companies that have a strong direction and strongly established data science teams, but have an array of problems they are solving for the first time.

Often the most exciting and impactful opportunities for data scientists at a company are not being actively pursued. They probably have not even been conceived of yet. Work somewhere that encourages you to take risks, challenge basic assumptions, and imagine new possibilities.

Observing the relationship between engineering and data science teams is a quick way to determine if an organization adopts this mindset. Is engineering enthusiastic to partner with data science teams to experiment and integrate ideas back into the business? Is there an architecture in place that supports agile integration of new ideas and technologies? In fact, in companies that embody this mindset most effectively, it is likely difficult to locate the boundary between data science and engineering teams.

A greenfield can be intimidating in its lack of structure, but the amount of creativity and freedom available to you as a data scientist is never greater than when you're starting from scratch. The impact of putting something in place where nothing existed previously can be immeasurable. Look for chances to be involved in designing not just the math and science, but also the pipeline, the API, and the tech stack. Not only is creating something new often more challenging and rewarding, but there is no better opportunity for learning and growth than designing something from the ground up.

Incremental improvements have incremental impacts, but embrace the chance to operate on a greenfield. While it is extremely important to constantly iterate and improve on systems that already exist, the Version 1 of something new can fundamentally change the business.

Summary

Of course, there are other considerations: domain, the company's brand, the specific technology in use, the culture, the people, and so forth. All of those are equally important. We call out the three above since they are less frequently talked about, yet fundamental to a data scientist's growth, impact, and happiness. They are also less obvious. We learned these things from experience. At first glance, you would not expect to find these things in a women's apparel company. However, our very different business model places a huge emphasis on data science, enables some of the richest data in the world, and creates space for a whole new suite of innovative software.
career  strategy  via:enochko  economies_of_scale  data_scientists  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  greenfields  data  differentiation  good_enough  information_density  product_pipelines  think_threes 
september 2016 by jerryking
U.K. Can’t Bank on EU’s Rationality in Talks - WSJ
By STEPHEN FIDLER
July 1, 2016

In a rational world, the EU would indeed react to Brexit by seeking the closest economic relationship possible with the U.K., and this may be what happens. But there are other factors suggesting this outcome shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here are four reasons why:

Anger: The U.K. can’t draw on a wellspring of sympathy from the EU 27, and some leaders are plain angry that in their view the British government has put the EU’s future at risk to resolve a domestic political problem. “Moods are ephemeral,” said Peter Ludlow, a Brussels-based historian and analyst, before the vote. “But it will affect both the tone and the content of the earliest exchanges between the two parties.”

Mercantilism: an outdated philosophy that equates national prosperity with exports, still hold broad sway with the public and with politicians throughout Europe and farther afield. EU governments, not least in Paris, are salivating at the prospect of benefiting from the U.K.’s exclusion from the single market in services.

Asymmetry: Yes, the U.K. is important to Germany, but the EU as a whole is more important to Britain than vice versa.

Strategy: Germany and other EU governments don't want to 'reward' the UK with a special deal that tempts other countries to follow it toward exit.
Brexit  United_Kingdom  Germany  rationalism  negotiations  strategy  EU  anger  asymmetrical 
july 2016 by jerryking
Retailing Through The Trough Of Disillusionment -
January 22, 2016Posted in Blog, Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Strategy, Technology, The Future

By Doug Stephens
Doug_Stephens  retailers  strategy  location_based_services  LBMA  tech-utopianism  disillusioned  Gartner 
january 2016 by jerryking
Capital Markets 'Impediment' to Innovation - The CFO Report - WSJ
June 20, 2011, 10:05 PM ET

By MICHAEL HICKINS

Glenn Hutchins, the co-founder and co-CEO of private equity firm Silver Lake, believes the expectations of shareholders and analysts often prevent companies from investing in new businesses or technologies. “One of the largest impediments to getting all of this done is in fact the capital markets,” he said during the opening panel discussion of The Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network Conference.
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CFOs often find it tough to make aggressive, long-term investments because explaining the reason for “making a short-term diminution for the purpose of a long-term gain [to the equity markets] is very difficult to do.”

Still, companies need to be willing to overhaul their entire businesses, if necessary, to avoid being overtaken by aggressive innovators...He lauded Apple for being willing to promote something like the iPad despite the fact that the tablet may in fact destroy the computer maker’s iMac franchise. “Business model innovation is underrated,”.....Also speaking on the panel, HBS professor Clayton Christensen blamed a corporate culture born, ironically, of business school formulas that separate strategy and finance. “The business schools decided to teach strategy and finance [separately] and this got carried over into companies. [But] a lot of things that make sense financially make no sense strategically.”
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With the finance function certainly in mind, Christensen wrote that, “Managing innovation is the complexity of managing the resource allocation process.”
Silver_Lake  Clayton_Christensen  innovation  short-sightedness  strategy  finance  CFOs  long-term  impediments  capital_markets  business_models  Glenn_Hutchins  resource_allocation  expectations  new_businesses  new_products  investors'_expectations 
february 2015 by jerryking
Why strategy is dead in the water - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 16 2014

Old line discussions of "strategy" assumed that one's competitors today will be one's competitors forever. It also assumed that companies can control distribution and send out targeted marketing messages to prospects and customers. These days, competition can come at you from all directions – witness, for example, the many companies with which Amazon.com, once just a book seller, competes. Distribution is wild and woolly, and in an era of social media, companies no longer control the messages about their offerings.

“Control and predictability have been greatly diminished,”
Here are seven factors that prevent you from being classically strategic:

1. Incrementalism has been disrupted
2. Outcomes are unpredictable.
3. The past is no longer a predictor.
4. Competitive lines have been dissolved.
5. Information is abundant (i.e. the commoditization_of_information)
6. It hard to forecast value.
7. Fast trumps long-term.
fast-paced  commoditization_of_information  strategy  Michael_Porter  Harvey_Schachter  long-term  unpredictability  GE  IBM  data  information_overload  incrementalism  Amazon  kaleidoscopic 
november 2014 by jerryking
Five questions to hone your business strategy - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Sep. 28 2014

1. Why does our business deserve to succeed?
2. What would a new CEO do?
3. Imagine it is three to six years in the future and the proposed strategy has been unsuccessful. Why did it fail?
4. What would have to be true for our strategy to succeed?
5. Would I put my own money into this?
strategy  business_planning  Harvey_Schachter  execution  effectiveness  assumptions  anticipating  questions  biases  overconfidence  self-delusions  skin_in_the_game 
september 2014 by jerryking
The Grand Strategy Obama Needs
SEPT. 10, 2014 | NYTimes.com | Vali R. Nasr.

What’s missing is a grand strategy — a road map not just for managing two crises but for ending them....But Eisenhower had a larger goal — not upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Cold War. Above all, he sought to avoid greater conflict, especially when he was trying to start arms control talks with Moscow.

In other words, he had a long-term global perspective.

By contrast, American policy today sees the world in fragments — ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Russia in Ukraine. But those crises have something important in common: Both trace to political fragmentation in weak states living within unsettled borders. That leaves those states prone to internal dissent, and America’s recent minimalist posture has given these brewing troubles room to explode into crises....American grand strategy should identify these weak countries before they turn on themselves; bolster their political mechanisms for living together in pluralism; declare our unyielding opposition to any outside forces that would seek to divide them. America’s military strength could assure the third part. The rest is work for our political and diplomatic experts.
Obama  Ukraine  strategy  geopolitics  '50s  Middle_East  Russia  strategic_thinking  nation_building  failed_states  long-term  weak_states  diplomacy  grand_strategy  roadmaps  Non-Integrating_Gap  Dwight_Eisenhower  crisis 
september 2014 by jerryking
Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order - WSJ
Aug. 29, 2014 | WSJ | By HENRY KISSINGER.

To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself: What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? What do we seek to achieve, or prevent, only if supported by an alliance? What should we not engage in, even if urged on by a multilateral group or an alliance? What is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? And how much does the application of these values depend on circumstance?

For the U.S., this will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions' histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy.
U.S.foreign_policy  Henry_Kissinger  geopolitics  dual-consciousness  crisis  Kissinger_Associates  strategic_thinking  strategy  questions  21st._century  international_system  grand_strategy  history  national_identity  unilateralism  multilateralism  arduous  APNSA 
august 2014 by jerryking
Baseball or Soccer? - NYTimes.com
JULY 10, 2014 | NYT | David Brooks
Is life more like baseball, or is it more like soccer?

Baseball is a team sport, but it is basically an accumulation of individual activities. Throwing a strike, hitting a line drive or fielding a grounder is primarily an individual achievement. The team that performs the most individual tasks well will probably win the game.

Soccer is not like that. In soccer, almost no task, except the penalty kick and a few others, is intrinsically individual. Soccer, as Simon Critchley pointed out recently in The New York Review of Books, is a game about occupying and controlling space. If you get the ball and your teammates have run the right formations, and structured the space around you, you’ll have three or four options on where to distribute it. If the defenders have structured their formations to control the space, then you will have no options. Even the act of touching the ball is not primarily defined by the man who is touching it; it is defined by the context created by all the other players.
“Soccer is a collective game, a team game, and everyone has to play the part which has been assigned to them, which means they have to understand it spatially, positionally and intelligently and make it effective.” Brazil wasn’t clobbered by Germany this week because the quality of the individual players was so much worse. They got slaughtered because they did a pathetic job of controlling space. A German player would touch the ball, even close to the Brazilian goal, and he had ample room to make the kill....Most of us spend our days thinking we are playing baseball, but we are really playing soccer. We think we individually choose what career path to take, whom to socialize with, what views to hold. But, in fact, those decisions are shaped by the networks of people around us more than we dare recognize.

This influence happens through at least three avenues. First there is contagion. People absorb memes, ideas and behaviors from each other the way they catch a cold....Then there is the structure of your network. There is by now a vast body of research on how differently people behave depending on the structure of the social networks. There is by now a vast body of research on how differently people behave depending on the structure of the social networks. People with vast numbers of acquaintances have more job opportunities than people with fewer but deeper friendships. Most organizations have structural holes, gaps between two departments or disciplines. If you happen to be in an undeveloped structural hole where you can link two departments, your career is likely to take off.

Innovation is hugely shaped by the structure of an industry at any moment. ...Finally, there is the power of the extended mind....our very consciousness is shaped by the people around us. Let me simplify it with a classic observation: Each close friend you have brings out a version of yourself that you could not bring out on your own. When your close friend dies, you are not only losing the friend, you are losing the version of your personality that he or she elicited....Once we acknowledge that, in life, we are playing soccer, not baseball, a few things become clear. First, awareness of the landscape of reality is the highest form of wisdom. It’s not raw computational power that matters most; it’s having a sensitive attunement to the widest environment, feeling where the flow of events is going. Genius is in practice perceiving more than the conscious reasoning.

Second, predictive models will be less useful. Baseball is wonderful for sabermetricians. In each at bat there is a limited range of possible outcomes. Activities like soccer are not as easily renderable statistically, because the relevant spatial structures are harder to quantify.
David_Brooks  baseball  bridging  career_paths  Communicating_&_Connecting  soccer  social_networking  strategy  spatial_awareness  fingerspitzengefühl  innovation  negative_space  predictive_modeling  job_opportunities  job_search  competitive_landscape  think_threes  large_companies  opportunities  contextual_intelligence  wisdom 
july 2014 by jerryking
Advice to Microsoft's Satya Nadella: Be More Brave - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS CONNECT
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Updated June 2, 2014
advice  Microsoft  Satya_Nadella  strategy  cloud_computing  Christopher_Mims 
june 2014 by jerryking
Elegant and unexpected: What Steve Jobs can teach you about strategy - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY D. SHERMAN
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 16 2014
Apple  Steve_Jobs  strategy 
may 2014 by jerryking
Saving the System - NYTimes.com
APRIL 28, 2014 | NYT | David Brooks.

“The ‘category error’ of our experts is to tell us that our system is doing just fine and proceeding on its eternal course toward ever-greater progress and global goodness. This is whistling past the graveyard.

“The lesson-category within grand strategic history is that when an established international system enters its phase of deterioration, many leaders nonetheless respond with insouciance, obliviousness, and self-congratulation. When the wolves of the world sense this, they, of course, will begin to make their moves to probe the ambiguities of the aging system and pick off choice pieces to devour at their leisure.

“This is what Putin is doing; this is what China has been moving toward doing in the maritime waters of Asia; this is what in the largest sense the upheavals of the Middle East are all about: i.e., who and what politico-ideological force will emerge as hegemon over the region in the new order to come. ....Today that system is under assault not by a single empire but by a hundred big and little foes. As Walter Russell Mead argues in a superb article in Foreign Affairs, geopolitics is back with a vengeance. Whether it’s Russia seizing Crimea or China asserting itself, old-fashioned power plays are back in vogue. Meanwhile, pre-modern movements and people try to eliminate ethnic and religious diversity in Egypt, Ukraine and beyond.

China, Russia and Iran have different values, but all oppose this system of liberal pluralism. The U.S. faces a death by a thousand cuts dilemma. No individual problem is worth devoting giant resources to. It’s not worth it to spend huge amounts of treasure to establish stability in Syria or defend a Western-oriented Ukraine. But, collectively, all the little problems can undermine the modern system. No individual ailment is worth the expense of treating it, but, collectively, they can kill you (JCK: Worst of all worlds).
authoritarianism  autocracies  category_errors  China  Colleges_&_Universities  Crimea  curriculum  David_Brooks  death_by_a_thousand_cuts  dilemmas  diplomacy  geopolitics  grand_strategy  insouciance  international_system  Iran  liberal_pluralism  multiple_stressors  obliviousness  power_plays  rogue_actors  Russia  self-congratulatory  South_China_Sea  stratagems  strategic_thinking  strategy  Walter_Russell_Mead  worst_of_all_worlds  Yale 
april 2014 by jerryking
Embracing the cloud: How Microsoft is radically changing its vision - The Globe and Mail
OMAR EL AKKAD - TECHNOLOGY REPORTER

REDMOND, WASH. — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Mar. 22 2014
Omar_el_Akkad  Microsoft  cloud_computing  strategy 
march 2014 by jerryking
Staying Focused
December 2013 | Harvard Business Review | by Adi Ignatius.

In “The Focused Leader” Daniel Goleman posits that a primary task for leaders is to “direct attention” toward what matters—so it’s imperative that they stay focused themselves. Building on neuroscience research, he argues that “focus” isn’t about filtering out distractions as much as it is about cultivating awareness of what truly matters. The executive’s goal should be to develop three things: an inward focus, a focus on others, and a focus on the wider world. The first two help to build emotional intelligence, while the third can help in devising strategy, innovating, and managing.
attention  distractions  editorials  emotional_intelligence  filtering  focus  HBR  incisiveness  inward-looking  leaders  people_skills  self-awareness  serving_others  strategy  the_big_picture  think_threes  what_really_matters 
december 2013 by jerryking
Six clues your innovation process is broken
Oct. 20 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

1. Innovation is episodic
2. The process is invented from scratch
3. Resources are held hostage
4. Innovations are force-fitted into existing structures
5. Applying the same criteria to innovation
6. Insisting on the venture meeting its plan
Harvey_Schachter  innovation  warning_signs  strategy  competitive_advantage  shortcomings  problems 
october 2013 by jerryking
How to develop the mind of a strategist Part 1 of 3 - Google Drive
Apr/May 2001|Communication World. Vol. 18,Iss.3; pg. 13, 3 pgs.| by James E Lukaszewski.

Management wants and needs:

Valuable, useful, applicable advice beyond what the boss already knows

Well-timed, truly significant insights (insight is the ability to
distill wisdom and useful conclusions from contrasting, even seemingly
unrelated, information and facts)

Advance warning, plus options for solving, or at least managing, trouble
or opportunity, and the unintended consequences both often bring

Someone who understands the pattern of events and problems

Supporting evidence through the behavior of their peers

To be strategic, ideas must pass four tough tests: They must help the
boss achieve his/her objectives and goals. They must help the
organization achieve its goals. They must be truly necessary (and pass
the straight face and laugh tests). Without acting on the strategy recommended, some aspect of the business will fail or fail to progress.
strategic_thinking  strategy  public_relations  Communicating_&_Connecting  generating_strategic_options  indispensable  JCK  howto  endgame  wisdom  insights  warning_signs  ambiguities  advice  job_opportunities  job_search  actionable_information  pattern_recognition 
september 2013 by jerryking
The strategy consultants in search of a strategy - FT.com
August 28, 2013 | FT | By John Gapper.
The strategy consultants in search of a strategy

Two decades ago, 70 per cent of McKinsey’s revenues were from strategy and corporate finance but most now flow from hands-on work on risk, operations and marketing.
management_consulting  strategy  professional_service_firms  McKinsey  BCG  Bain  Monitor  Deloitte  winner-take-all 
september 2013 by jerryking
Tesco's US venture ain't-so-Fresh-&-Easy after £1bn write-down
08 April 2013 | Management Today | By Michael Northcott.

Tesco has invested about £1 billion in the U.S. since 2007, targeting the West Coast with neighborhood urban stores in a market dominated by big-box supermarkets, said Bloomberg. In all it has opened 200 stores, focused on budget-priced, healthy food and own- brand items, employing 5000 people.

Apart from store disposals, the sale of the Riverside, California, distribution centre and three adjacent food factories, the closure of the Los Angeles head office and associated redundancy costs are all part of the equation.
head_offices  Tesco  strategy  food  supermarkets  write-downs  grocery  retailers  convenience_stores 
april 2013 by jerryking
Profile: John Allan - salads strategist
17 February 2012 | Horticulture Week |By Jack Shamash Friday.
salads  strategy  fresh_produce 
april 2013 by jerryking
Big Changes Drive Small Carpet Firm - WSJ.com
October 30, 2006 | WSJ | By PHRED DVORAK
Theory & Practice
Big Changes Drive Small Carpet Firm
Hong Kong's Tai Ping Sets Global Growth on Overhaul In Management, Marketing

The small Hong Kong carpet maker hired an American chief executive who had never been to Asia and installed him in New York. It revamped its executive team, centralized marketing and acquired a high-end carpet maker in the U.S...."We're trying to create a minimultinational," says director John Ying, who helped push Tai Ping in its new direction.... small companies can -- and sometimes must -- globalize as much as big ones....
globalization  CEOs  Hong_Kong  small_business  howto  carpets  multinationals  microproducers  tips  marketing  strategy  management  turnarounds  metrics  managing_change 
february 2013 by jerryking
Five savvy questions for strategic success
Feb. 05 2013 | The Globe and Mail |HARVEY SCHACHTER
Playing to Win
By A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin

(Harvard Business School Press, 260 pages, $30)
The strategy worked, by satisfying the five questions:

* Winning aspirations. Most companies have lofty mission statements but the authors say that isn’t the same thing as having a strategy. It’s a starting point, statements of an ideal future.
* Where to play. In which markets and with which customers is it best to compete? This is a vital question, because you can’t be all things to all people if you want to be successful.

* How to win.After selecting the playing field, you must choose the best approach, which the authors stress might be very different from your competitors.
* Core capabilities. What capabilities must be in place for your organization to win?
* Management systems. What needs to be in place in your management approach to support the strategy, and measure how successful you are with it
Harvey_Schachter  Roger_Martin  questions  book_reviews  P&G  A.G._Lafley  strategy  mission_statements  ambitions  internal_systems  core_competencies  Instrumentation_monitoring  measurements  books  capabilities 
february 2013 by jerryking
The real cost of free software
Aug 2000 | Ziff Davis Smart Business for the New EconomyVol 13. lss. 8; pg. 50 | by Josh Smith.

Abstract (Summary)
Smith discusses the negative effects of free software. According to Mark Minasi, author of "The Software Conspiracy.” free giveaways are just an excuse to produce substandard software.
free  software  marketing  strategy  quality 
february 2013 by jerryking
Risky Business: How Data Analytics Can Help
Risky Business: How Data Analytics Can Help

Kathleen Long (Montage Analytics), interviewed by Renee Boucher Ferguson

August 28, 2012
strategy  data  analytics  MIT 
january 2013 by jerryking
Good News and Bad News: THE STRATEGY CONSULTING VALUE CHAIN IS BREAKING UP
March 2005 | Consulting to Management |by SASCHA L. SCHMIDT, PATRICK VOGT, ANSGAR RICHTER.

I retrieved this article in connection with a-connect interview
strategy  management_consulting  value_chains  frameworks  disaggregation  McKinsey  bad_news 
january 2013 by jerryking
Competitive Analysis for Competitive Advantage
(Charles Waud & WaudWare)
Who are my relevant competitors?
What are the criteria to determine customer value creation?
What are the priorities for competition?
Compared to the leading competitors, how do we look on each criterion?
On which criteria are we better?
On which criteria are they better?
How can we better position ourselves on our "strong" criteria?
How can we improve the customer's perception of our "weak" criteria?
Where should we allocate resources?
Where will future changes come from in my competitor's strategies?
On what key customer "value criteria" will they change?
How can we anticipate these changes and "reposition" our strategy most effectively?
Ivey  frameworks  competitive_advantage  market_segmentation  Five_Forces_model  value_chains  competitive_strategy  strategy  products  product_strategy  competitive_intelligence  experiece_curves  cost_analysis  comparative_advantage  customer_segmentation 
december 2012 by jerryking
Watermill Ventures
397010 HARVARD , Case (Field)
Watermill Ventures
Teaching Note: 398062
Watermill Ventures acquires and turns around an under-performing businesses. The case describes the criteria the company uses to identify acquisition candidates. its screening and selection process, and the way it introduces strategic thinking at the business it acquires. Steve Karol, Watermilll's founder, is concerned because the company has only acquired two companies in its three years of operation He is considering a number of actions, including establishing a Web site to broaden the base of contact.
Teaching Purpose: To expose students to a screening and selection process for acquiring companies, as well as the strategy development process used to turn them around and improve their performance.
Industry: acquisitions; steel
Issues: Acquisitions;Strategy formulation
Setting: Massachusetts, Alabama, 8 employees, $480 million revenues. 1993 Length: 21 page(s)
case_studies  turnarounds  HBR  under-performing  screening  buying_a_business  strategy  selection_processes 
august 2012 by jerryking
Winning in Wireless
MAY 1998 | McKinsey Quarterly | SCOTT ARNOLD, BYRON G. AUGUSTE, MARK KNICKREHM, AND PAUL J. ROCHE.

Can the industry learn to operate at one-third its current price levels? Companies will need to build businesses around key segments. The challenge: reducing churn among the customers who provide most of your profits.
mobile_phones  wireless  McKinsey  strategy  market_segmentation  customer_churn 
august 2012 by jerryking
Even a Losing Bid Can Pay Off
November 18, 1996 |WSJ pg A12 | by Adam Brandenburger, a professor at Harvard Business School. Barry Nalebuff is a professor at Yale School of Management. They are the authors of "Co-opetition " (Currency/Doubleday, I996).

What might you have done differently? You could have bid lower. but there's no guarantee that would have worked any better. The problem with the strategy was more basic. The right question to ask is: How important is it to the customer that you bid? If your bidding is important-even if the customer is just trying to gain leverage against his current supplier—then you should get compensated for playing the game.
game_theory  pricing  questions  strategy  coopetition  Monsanto  negotiations  auctions  Adam_Brandenburger  Barry_Nalebuff 
august 2012 by jerryking
Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?
April 2008 | HBR | by David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad
business  strategy  HBR  Wal-Mart  Edward_Jones 
june 2012 by jerryking
Hierarchy of Company Statements
April 2008 | HBR |by David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad.

The trade-offs companies make are what distinguish them strategically from other firms.
HBR  mission_statements  definitions  company  tradeoffs  vision  values  strategy  balanced_scorecard  hierarchies 
june 2012 by jerryking
Flexibility, Realism and Passion - WSJ.com
March 17, 2003 | WSJ | By PAULETTE THOMAS | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Entrepreneurs' Biggest Problems -- And How They Solve Them
Among the ingredients for success: flexibility, realism and passion

Mark Goldstein, a Pittsburg immigration attorney
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  problems  problem_solving  strategy  flexibility  Flexcar  automobile  globalization  lawyers 
may 2012 by jerryking
A failure in generalship
May 2007 | Armed Forces Journal | By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling.

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war....generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy...“Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife,” by John Nagl
leadership  politics  war  warfare  strategy  strategic_thinking  organizational_culture  civilian-military_relations  Prussian  books  Carl_von_Clausewitz  generalship  probabilities  contextual  militaries  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2012 by jerryking
Zbigniew Brzezinski: As China Rises, A New U.S. Strategy - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 14, 2011 | WSJ |By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI.

We should embrace Russia, Japan and South Korea as we seek to manage the rise of China.
strategy  strategic_thinking  diplomacy  geopolitics  China_rising  China  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S.-China_relations  NSC  APNSA 
december 2011 by jerryking
Surprised by Opportunity - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 14, 2007 | WSJ | By WILLIAM EASTERLY.

Set big goals. Do whatever it takes to reach them. These muscular sentences form the core of commencement addresses, business-advice books, political movements and even the United Nations approach to global poverty. In "Strategic Intuition," a concise and entertaining treatise on human achievement, William Duggan says that such pronouncements are not only banal but wrong.[Duggan is therefore the perfect counterpoint to Jim Collins]

Mr. Duggan, who teaches strategy at Columbia Business School, argues that the commonplace formula has it backward. Instead of setting goals first, he says, it is better to watch for opportunities with large payoffs at low costs and only then set your goals. That is what innovators throughout history have done, as Mr. Duggan shows in a deliriously fast-paced tour of history.
[photo]

Napoleon is Mr. Duggan's canonical example -- his strategic genius was not to storm a pre-fixed position on the battlefield (the traditional approach to military strategy at the time) but to attack any old position that came along where his army was at its strongest and the enemy's at its weakest. Similarly, in the battle for civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. seized on the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 to shift the NAACP's strategy away from filing lawsuits and toward organizing nonviolent civil disobedience.
audacity  books  book_reviews  civil_disobedience  counterintuitive  flexibility  goal-setting  goals  hard_goals  innovators  intuition  Jim_Collins  kairos  large_payoffs  MLK  NAACP  Napoleon  observations  offensive_tactics  opportunism  personal_payoffs  strategy  William_Duggan  William_Easterly 
november 2011 by jerryking
A Middleman Who Doesn't Feel Squeezed by China
September 15, 2005 | New York Times |By JAMES FLANIGAN

Henry Fan expects growth from acquiring distressed apparel firms and gaining the size and strength to withstand the risks of supplying big retail companies even at the low prices that Chinese imports are dictating....Fan says he believes he can continue to compete by using the expertise he gained in the worlds of technology and finance to build an international supply network to handle the growing trade.

"We have overseas offices in Hong Kong and in many parts of China as well as Bangladesh and Thailand," he said. "We can design products here or overseas and ship them anywhere; we can tackle the job in numerous ways." In short, he wants to make Basic Elements a central part of the new supply equation of Chinese factories and American retailers.
intermediaries  Chinese  China  apparel  competitive_advantage  strategy  supply_chains  middlemen  economic_clout  Hong_Kong  Bangladesh  Thailand  roll_ups 
october 2011 by jerryking
Ten ways to become a tenacious marketer -
Sep. 16, 2011 | G & M | RYAN CALIGIURI.

Here are 10 ways to become a more tenacious marketer:
(1) Test and benchmark. test different strategies and gauge what works best. One technique is called split testing.
(2) Always have a strategy. A strategy pts. you in the right direction & ensures your actions build to something.
(3) Always be on the lookout for revenue-generating opportunities.
(4) Be direct-response driven
(5) Get personal
(6) Get more out of a website.
(7) Deliver more value
(8) Show commitment
(9) Be driven by referrals
(10) Focus on the most likely buyers
direct-response  marketing  tips  experimentation  benchmarking  trial_&_error  strategy  commitments  opportunistic  websites  referrals  JCK  growth_hacking  Ryan_Caligiuri  strategic_thinking  tenacity  revenue_generation  overdeliver 
september 2011 by jerryking
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