Strategy in cyclical industries

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The world’s biggest basic materials firms are suffering along with others as the world economy collapses, and the Economist points out that taking on loads of debt to grow and acquire others did not help. But these industries have always suffered cyclicality, even when not buffeted by extreme market conditions. Pity is that we have known how to steer away from these dangers for many years. Seems to me the same principles would have been useful to a great ...

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Capability-based strategy: beware ‘core competences’.

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How to win by changing the game by head of Booz N America business Cesare Mainardi, and colleagues Paul Leinwand and Steffen Lauster makes a strong case for building capabilities to capture new opportunities, rather than looking inward at what you already have. Capabilities feature strongly in current strategy writing, but seem hard to make practical. The article implies, though, that they have a way of making capabilities concrete and measurable, to arrive at a ‘capability ...

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Where was the strategic thinking?

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I’ve been posting on strategy in the downturn for a while now, but what makes me really angry is the strategic incompetence that led to this mess [search ‘incompetence’ for previous posts on this]. But now I’m puzzled – Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Strategy+Business, Economist, etc, etc, are full of advice from strategy experts on how to survive the problem, so I wondered how much they warned folk before that this was likely to happen? .. and how much ...

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Losers from the down-turn

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Whilst business schools are seeing more applications by analysts and execs being down-sized from banks and other sectors, I see from the Economist [Giving advice in adversity] consulting firms are not faring so well. I hope they were expecting this and prepared their staffing plans for it over the last couple of years, as it’s exactly what happened after the dot-com bubble. Last time round some messed up so badly they withdrew MBA job offers within weeks of making them, and ...

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