Multi-business strategy dynamics

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Extending the strategy dynamics principles to related businesses is essentially simple. If a single business is a system of customers, products, capacity, people and cash, then a multi-business corporation could simply be a number of such independent systems. Indeed, that was a popular model in the 1970s – the diversified conglomerate, in which only investment and financial-objective choices were made at the centre. But this is now a discredited model because investors can make those decisions ...

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eBay/Skype split

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Sad to see the ill-fated marriage of eBay and Skype end in divorce. Though it’s more fun to celebrate strategy triumphs, disasters can offer important lessons too. An Economist article focuses on the sale itself and worries about eBay’s prospects, but doesn’t assess why the original strategy didn’t work. At its most basic, it was a common issue – over-optimism about how business A customers would form a strong and easily-captured potential customer-base for business B. [I made the same mistake ...

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Sovereign Wealth Funds impact

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Have noted before the major role that Sovereign Wealth Funds may play as the global economy recovers, in particular those engaged in active management, not just passive investment, e.g. Mubadala Development Co from UAE. Reports from Monitor have much to say on this – Weathering the Storm and Testing Time. As I have urged before, strategy requires asking how the future might develop, so if you are in an industry where these ...

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Good old tools still help

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You would expect knowledge in a professional field to accumulate – what we use today being built on what was known and used in the past. Strategy often doesn’t feel like that – a new fad gets promoted, then falls away as the next one comes along. So it’s a good reminder that one such tool is still helpful – if used with very great care!

The GE-McKinsey nine-box matrix helps identify which business units in a corporate entity ...

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