Is your company spending enormous time and energy on strategy development, with little to show for your efforts? We've combed through hundreds of HBR articles on strategy and selected the most important ones to help galvanize your organization's strategy development and execution. This collection includes 10 classic articles that will help you gain the competitive edge and achieve breakthrough performance for your organization.
Today's dynamic markets and technologies have called into question the sustainability of competitive advantage. Under pressure to improve productivity, quality, and speed, managers have embraced tools such as TQM, benchmarking, and reengineering. Dramatic operational improvements have resulted, but rarely have these gains translated into sustainable profitability.
Porter undertakes a thorough reaffirmation and extension of his classic work of strategy formulation, which includes substantial new sections showing how to put the five forces analysis into practice. Only by understanding them can a company incorporate industry conditions into strategy.
Companies that enjoy enduring success have a core purpose and core values that remain fixed while their strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. The rare ability to balance continuity and change—requiring a consciously practiced discipline—is closely linked to the ability to develop a vision. Vision provides guidance about what to preserve and what to change.
by Mark W. Johnson, Clayton M. Christensen, and Henning Kagermann
Why is it so difficult for established companies to pull off the new growth that business model innovation can bring? Here's why: They don't understand their current business model well enough to know if it would suit a new opportunity or hinder it, and they don't know how to build a new model when they need it.
In studying more than 150 blue ocean creations in over 30 industries, the authors observed that the traditional units of strategic analysis—company and industry—are of limited use in explaining how and why blue oceans are created. The most appropriate unit of analysis is the strategic move, the set of managerial actions and decisions involved in making a major market-creating business offering.
by Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Powers
When a company finds itself unable to execute strategy, all too often the first reaction is to redraw the organization chart or tinker with incentives. Far more effective would be to clarify decision rights and improve the flow of information both up the line of command and across the organization. Then, the right structures and motivators tend to fall into place.
The balanced scorecard revolutionized conventional thinking about performance metrics. In this article from 1996, the authors describe how the balanced scorecard can address a serious deficiency in traditional management systems: the inability to link a company's long-term strategy with its short-term financial goals.
In this article, Bain consultants Orit Gadiesh and James Gilbert explore the concept of the strategic principle—a memorable and actionable phrase that distills a company's corporate strategy into its unique essence and communicates it across an organization.
Despite the enormous time and energy that goes into strategy development, many companies have little to show for their efforts. Indeed, research by the consultancy Marakon Associates suggests that companies on average deliver only 63% of the financial performance their strategies promise. Michael Mankins and Richard Steele of Marakon present the findings of this research.
Decisions are the coin of the realm in business. But even in highly respected companies, decisions can get stuck inside the organization like loose change. As a result, the entire decision-making process can stall, usually at one of four bottlenecks: global vs. local, center vs. business unit, function vs. function, and inside vs. outside partners.
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