We know: the most important factor to drive change is a blazingly obvious reason to act. Change management calls these drivers ‘burning platform’ as a metaphor for urgent crises that demand immediate and swift reaction. A blazingly obvious reason to act. Yet, when it comes to venturing into a daring digital transformation strategy, most organisations have no immediate reason […]
It is fashionable to attribute the failure of a business strategy to its poor execution: “It was a great strategy, but the team totally bungled its implementation.” Some people even state that implementing a winning strategy is tougher than coming up with one in the first place.
While the strategy-execution gap is real, we find that many supposedly great strategies […]
The favourite saying of one of the executives we work with is: “The opposite of well done is well planned.” While we do not fully agree, he has a point: We love to emphasise the importance of details in strategy planning. This leads to a false confidence that all we need to do is “push the button” and lean […]
We know that time is important – after all, timing is everything! And time is money! If used skilfully, time and timing can be allies in strategising. But, surprisingly (or maybe not-so-surprisingly), getting time right is hard; it involves a complex balancing act. For example, if you push your strategy too much, you overwhelm your team, whereas if you do […]
We like to think that for our strategy work, we will have plenty of time and resources. Armed with both, out of the 10s or 100s of options we have on the table, we will pick the best one.
In this article, we will make the opposite argument. Not only do we not have much time or resources available to […]
In a previous post, we talked about how two major dimensions shape the type of strategy work we need to do: 1) the degree of people impact, i.e., how many people the task at hand affects and how much it affects them; and 2) the degree of uncertainty it faces and subsequently addresses.
With this post, we are going to […]
You are responsible for the success of your strategic initiatives. Your results will be measured and you will be judged. As long as we have success, we consider this to be perfectly fair. But let’s be honest: your results will depend to a large extent not only on what you do (or not do), but also on events and […]
Strategy work is always hard, but particularly so when senior executives know less about emerging trends than the 19-year-old intern that just brought them coffee. Blockchain-based bank accounts, Artificial Intelligence lawyers, smart cities, collaborative robots, autonomous cars and online dating – wherever you look, pervasive digitalisation is turning businesses upside down. “I have been doing this for 50 years” […]
In the quest for identifying barriers to firm growth, much attention has been paid to barriers that act at the level of the individual firm. But firms do not operate in a vacuum: business relationships are potentially central. We conducted an intervention in China to measure their importance.
A field experiment with 2,820 firms
In 2013 we invited tens of thousands […]
Sustainable growth depends on delivering the right strategies the right way. Yet this is something that organisations appear ill-equipped to do. Our work at the Brightline Initiative is examining what causes the gap between strategy and implementation and how it can be closed. Our research suggests that business leaders need to answer ten key questions for their strategies to more effectively […]
Often unnoticed by business leaders in Europe, Chinese technology companies are on the move. Hardly a week goes by without news that Alibaba has acquired a company in Southeast Asia, Tencent has invested in an Israeli startup or that Baidu is entering a new industry. Western onlookers may think that this is unlikely to have a direct impact on […]
There’s one choice every business, large and small, must make: what to name itself. It appears that more talented and confident entrepreneurs are more likely to name their firms after themselves, self-selecting into a group taking a risky approach, but one that can pay off handsomely.
We found entrepreneurs who name their firms after themselves are sending a powerful signal […]
Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm. If I’d listed these six cities to you a little over 18 months ago, you might wonder if I was considering a weekend away to explore the rich culture, history and tourism that these great European cities have to offer. Today they are synonymously linked as the six cities that were victim to […]
Something regarding big data has recently changed in Brussels which business should take note of. This usually prefaces news of ramping up EU data protection rules, such as the recent Data Protection Regulation, which are not universally welcomed in business circles. In particular, companies coming from the more permissive environment of the US are faced with a sea change […]
Policymaking often creates unintended consequences. But can disruptive innovation actually be spurred by President Donald Trump’s version of protectionism? Using the language of disruptive innovation, we observe that the long-term negative consequences of isolationism are actually an acceleration of US companies losing their own industries. Perhaps not even protectionism is what it used to be.
When it comes to economic […]
Firms that lay off staff can see a significant reduction in the performance of their remaining workers, according to our experimental study. Our research suggests that firms that decide to ‘downsize’ their workforce should be wary of how the layoff decision is perceived by the remaining (“surviving”) workers. If the surviving staff interpret the decision as a way to boost […]
What would happen if a CEO publicly declared that he is against innovation and would never invest a dime on it again? He would probably be fired right away, while the company’s stock plunged! Not to mention, his statement would be quoted in B-schools for decades as an example of business myopia or, in more mundane terms, idiocy. Why? […]