Strategy Dynamics Briefing 2: It matters how we get there

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This is the second post in the fortnightly series of Strategy Dynamics Briefings. Despite a wide range of financial measures being available the interests of investors has led to the choice of one specific measure.

What is it?

(If you would like to receive the series from the beginning in your email inbox, please register on www.strategydynamics.com and subscribe to Briefings in “MyAccount”)

As you may know, strategy textbooks are largely devoted to commercial business situations, and as a result, the strategy ...

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Sustained growth: a challenge

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We’ve noted before that strategy is about delivering earnings growth, not hitting ROIC ratios, but it seems that’s not easy. In Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times, Chris Zook and James Allen, coleaders of Bain’s global strategy practice, find that just 12% of companies grew revenues and profits more than 5.5% during 1998-2008. A few questions and issues arise:

  • This is further evidence that strategic management is not typically done well.
  • It would be interesting to know ...
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Beware divesting core business

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A rare example of clear and useful academic research from Emilie Feldman at Harvard [but treat it with care – see below]. Emilie “investigates “legacy” divestitures, the sale or spinoff of a company’s historical core business. Firms appear to divest their legacy businesses within the context of larger efforts to reshape their identities. I find that operating performance deteriorates in the years following legacy divestitures, and this decline appears to be linked to a loss of intangible resources embedded in the ...

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Aims – growth, survival …

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I made a strong case in a previous post that strategy research should have been asking how strong firms grow cash flows, not deliver profit ratios. I had two main push-backs – 1. is growth relevant in present conditions? – 2. survival is really all that matters. 

The first is easily dealt with – stronger cash flow ‘growth’ than rivals can of course imply less decline when everyone is going backwards .. would you rather cash-flows fell by ...

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More on growth vs. ROIC

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One challenge I got from the academics on the issue of strategy tools’ usefulness was whether growth is still a relevant question in these recessionary times.

Perhaps my original post to them was not clear enough.  I meant to say that, as I understand it, investors are interested in the present value of future cash-flows – not growth per se. There is no point in simply growing market share or revenues if it does not ultimately improve future cash flows ...

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