Don’t surrender to uncertainty!

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I hope senior management do not get persuaded to divert their attention to studying ‘complexity’ in the hope of understanding recent economic turmoil.  “‘Power curves’: What natural and economic disasters have in common” argues that “parallels between financial crises and natural disasters–such as earthquakes or forest fires–suggest that the economy, just like complex natural systems, is inherently unstable and prone to occasional huge failures that are very hard or impossible to foresee. Proponents of this school of thinking are ...

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Continuous strategic management

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Just came across a great piece, but curiously embedded in a McKinsey Quarterly article that seems to be about something else entirely – an update of how to decide what businesses should be in a corporate portfolio. The little gem is on the evolution of strategic management – which describes how strategy has evolved from a basically financial approach, through forecasting and then externally driven strategizing, to its ultimate, described as follows:

When this investment [in strategic planning] is successful, the ...

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More items on strategy in the crisis

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Amongst the continuing stream of articles on this, some good ones [I’ve left out some bad or downright dangerous ones] include:

Seven Ways Forward from Booz & Co’s strategy+business on, with specifics for Manufacturing, Consumer Products, Aerospace and Defense, Telecom, Finance, and general guidance on rebuilding capabilities for long-term growth.

Surviving the Downturn: Lessons from Emerging Markets from Sloan Mgmt Review [title self-explanatory]

Three Opportunities to Seize in the Downturn a blog post from Harvard Business ...

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Understanding competitor moves

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McKinsey Qtly survey finds that firms can easily anticipate what competitors will do next. Another article explains how to get inside competitors’ heads. .. but I’m still puzzled so little is written in this or any other strategy sources about what to actually do against competitors. It was a key part of my strategy role in practice, makes a huge difference to what can be achieved – and it’s fun!

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Decline and recovery by sector

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Experienced execs may have a good feel for how their particular industry may evolve during the downturn and recovery – e.g. consumer sectors tend to fall first, but recover earlier also. McKinsey have mapped the decline and recovery of different sectors in previous recessions, which might give useful pointers for what to look out for in your industry so your strategy can respond at the right time.

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