Where’s the Board?

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We’ve seen a few gung-ho CEOs mess up, especially but not exclusively in banking, but ‘Boards of Prevention‘ in strategy+business asks what the heck the supervisory Board is doing to let such nonsense happen. If they are not warning about risk, they are just overhead. Though the article largely focuses on risk in banking, some simple principles seem more generally useful [let’s call them ‘threats’ to generalise beyond banking]:

  • Give the Board an explicit threat manifesto – how to assess and respond to threats to the business ...
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Business’s key role in climate change

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Shocking to hear from a former strategy advisor to the UK Prime Minister that neither current nor future Governments are likely to do anything serious about climate change because most MPs ‘don’t believe’ in it. I’m reminded of an observation by Dennis Meadows – that the public have a long-term interest, but no resources to drive change, and politicians have the resources to act, but only a short-term focus on the next election. Only the business community has both the long-term concern and the resources ...

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Spreadsheets no good for strategy

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This blog post from HBS starts well, but ends in the wrong place, saying we shouldn’t try to quantify intangible issues. We do know how to deal quantitatively with such factors. We can handle both tangible qualities that differ between people, such as differing customer sales rates, and also intangible states-of-mind. A bank tracks ‘miserable moments’ their customers experience and knows well how recent history of those problems affects the likelihood of customers leaving. Call center companies know how ...

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Dubai strategy disaster

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Strategy is not solely of concern to firms of course, but to public services, voluntary organisations and others [though you would hardly know it to read the strategy textbooks and journals, which largely ignore these vast sections of the modern economy]. The collapse of Dubai is a spectacular case of strategic incompetence, but also throws up an issue of wider importance.

Dubai followed recommendations by Michael Porter to design its strategy, building on ideas from his Competitive Advantage of Nations, See Continue Reading →

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More on sustainability and strategy

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Two solid pieces on strategy implications from sustainability. The Business of Sustainability report from BCG reviews the impact the issue is having on companies and how it is affecting their strategic management. Most now see it as far more than just the latest fad and potentially a big factor in their future success – or failure. Sloan Mgmt Review summarises this report, 5 mini-cases on Nike, Rio Tinto, GE, Better Place and Wal-Mart, and articles on implications for competitive ...

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