The Strategy & Corporate Finance blog

Fresh takes on strategic growth and the latest trends in business

Simply labeling a plan “strategic” doesn’t make it so

– Business leaders know well what’s expected of them in a strategy meeting: to approve or reject the single proposal put forward, typically in a numbing 150-page presentation.

Common excuses for not appointing women to boards—and what to do about them

– If you care about female leadership in business, recent research from a review set up by the UK government may leave you stunned.

Should you digitize your core business, or build new digital ventures?

– Successful digital strategies find ways to bring their current operations into the digital age as well as innovate new models

Hope is not a strategy

– Business leaders share their reflections on new strategy research

Treat strategy as a journey, not an annual management junket

– Shifting from annual strategy meetings to an ongoing and continuous strategy process will make you more responsive, and potentially give you a competitive edge.

If you’re not building an ecosystem, chances are your competitors are

– Failing to embrace digital platforms is one of the biggest pitfalls in digital strategy

Why boards must be talent-first

– CEOs rank the failure to attract and retain talent as their top concern this year. We increasingly find the allocation of people is just as important as the allocation of capital.

The six numbers that should guide your strategy

– Use empirical benchmarks, calibrate your odds of success—and watch the dynamics in the strategy room transform

Corporate boards need a facelift

– With activist investors on the rise, does the current board construct work?

Why business needs to strike a new deal with society

– Corporations can’t solve global challenges alone, but they can’t afford to sit on the sidelines, either

The CEO’s act 2

How the best leaders keep the magic going in their middle tenures

Could Roger Federer be as successful playing badminton?

– Your industry trend matters more than most companies realize

Where will future global growth come from?

– Technological breakthroughs have led us through past resource constraints.

Bold moves are less risky than a timid corporate strategy

– To achieve real hockey stick performance, companies must back their bold aspirations with equally bold actions.

How to create a real hockey stick strategy

– You can boost your odds of success by capitalizing on your endowment, riding the right trends, and most importantly, making a few big moves.

Why your strategy needs bold moves, not just bold forecasts

– Misconceptions and biases are strategy sinkholes.

The “social side” of strategy at Davos

– Blockchain technology, AI, and cybersecurity all featured prominently at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year.

When doing strategy, make yourself an outsider

– The common method of developing a strategy starts bottom up: compile all the facts you can gather about your specific situation, then synthesize them into tailored recommendations.

Why strategy is like poker, not like golf

– Strategy plays out in a world of probabilities, not certainties. That’s why you need to know your odds

Is your strategy good enough to move you up on the power curve?

– In the early 15th century, European map makers drew their own continent reasonably accurately. But they outlined Africa and Asia just as confidently, despite little knowledge of those unexplored coasts, and missed the Western Hemisphere entirely.

How biases, politics and egos trump good strategy

– When creating a strategy for your organization there are many obstacles. It’s important to know what they are and how to get around them.

Why publicizing M&A synergies is a big deal

– When investors understand where a deal’s value comes from, they tend to reward companies up front.

Tax reform: A guide for tech executives

– As the debate over tax reform heats up, technology companies are in the crosshairs.

What happened to the world’s “greatest” companies?

– We tracked the long-term fortunes of the 50 companies lauded in the seminal business books of the past three decades. What did we find? Take greatness with a grain of salt—even the greatest answer to trends and forces.

How growth champions thrive even in stagnating markets

– A deeply ingrained growth mind-set gives these organisations the ultimate edge.

Want to grow faster? Double down on your real growth engine

– Few people, and even fewer companies, are true polymaths. To keep your company growing and adding value, focus on the core performance drivers.

To develop a winning strategy, know who you are fighting

– Remember, strategic planning isn’t just about you. A winning plan also takes time to analyze what your rival might likely do. Yuval Atsmon shows you how to outfox your rivals.

Digital dilemma: Why anything less than superb execution leads to failure

– Jacques Bughin identifies the five core elements that make a crucial difference for companies executing a digital transformation.

Recent trends in activist-investor activity

– A new interactive looks at the latest in hedge-fund activism.

Digital success requires a digital culture

– An old-world organization will doom your reinvention for the new world.

How to unleash your strategic thinking

– Can large companies be successful by reducing bureaucracy and unleashing the full scope of their talent to think strategically?

Are you ignoring the most important digital playing field?

– By neglecting digital supply chains and ecosystems, companies risk irrelevance.

The case for (cautious) post-Brexit optimism

– In the face of the UK’s decoupling from the European Union, you can become quite dizzy when you consider all the forces at play: potential new trade terms, immigration-law regulations and deregulation, to name a few.

How to win the digital race by coming in second, and other (often surprising) ways to reinvent for the digital world

– A new data-driven study on digitization identifies which digital strategies work, and quantifies how well they work.

Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet

– Digitization has barely started, and so has the accompanying upheaval. Some key insights for winning strategies.

Is your company underperforming? Use the full CEO playbook

– There are many things new CEOs can do to try to right a foundering ship, but what should take priority?

Want to get better at business? Practice your mental math.

– Managers who influence strategy and decisions must see through the numbers to prevent foolish and expensive mistakes.

Hockey stick dreams, hairy back reality

– The ambitious hopes of strategy forecasts tend to fail over and over again—producing an unfortunate pattern you'll likely recognize. Here’s why it happens, and what to do about it.

2017: The year executives turned data into action

– In 2017 senior managers have the opportunity to challenge every aspect of their business and look for ways to radically improve with better analytics.

How to improve strategic decisions with better predictions

– Five lessons on how to develop good estimates and use them aptly in strategic decision making.

How insider CEOs can gain the outsider’s edge

– Outsiders continue to make inroads and land leadership positions. How can insiders cultivate a valuable external perspective?

Strategists as myth-busters: why you shouldn’t believe your own stories

– People love stories. We have an insatiable tendency to put a sequence of facts into a logically connected narrative. Strategists, though, should be wary of the well-intentioned, but unreliable myth-maker.

Lessons for new CEOs: Go big, go fast, or go home

– My colleagues Kurt Strovink, Thomas Meakin, and I analyzed the major moves over 600 CEOs took during their first two years in the role. We then assessed how those moves influenced the company’s returns and the CEOs’ tenure. Here are some of the lessons we drew from the data.

How sharing services can turn enemies into friends

– Savvy companies are realizing that to ensure their future growth, they have to more persuasively explain how the sharing economy benefits not only the participants and the users but society at large.

What unicorns can learn from dinosaurs

– Fast growing mid-stage start-ups are increasingly wrestling with the challenge of attracting capital. Here’s what they can learn from established companies.

Connect with our Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice