Our "Problems in Strategy" series
The 'grand vision' trap
Most firms treat strategy as an exercise in establishing a grand vision; a kind of grand strategy that fits on a single page and provides a pathway for all decisions. That kind of vision or strategy is essential but it is not enough. Too many businesses treat it as the beginning and end of strategy. But, to be effective strategy needs more dimensions, more 'degrees of freedom' than . . .
The impetus for the grand vision perspective of strategy is, funnily enough, strategy – the other kind of strategy; the military-political form of strategy. Everyone has seen the books on business strategy reinterpreting the writings of Machiavelli or Clausewitz; but that is a different milieu; the objectives are different and the struggle in business is not "primordial violence, hatred or enmity" . . .
Strategy versus hard work
Along with the first problem – strategy as 'grand vision' – there is the presumption that the hard work is to define that grand vision; nothing could be further from the truth. Once the business has settled on its raison d'être, its grand vision, the hard work must begin. The hard work is the execution of the strategy in to results and performance. But before that can occur, there is a . . .
Coping with uncertainty
By definition, strategy is forward-focused; it is about the future. While there are certain things we can predict with reasonable accuracy over relevant horizons (which differ by company), we can only estimate much of what matters – and what determines performance; thee are some things at which we can only guess. Yet, often the reality of that uncertainty is not reflected in strategy or the firm's strategy process . . .
Find out more about what we do . . .
If you are a UK firm, Brexit changes . . . well, what? Even with the shape of the Brexit deal uncertain, we can help you to understand what Brexit will look like, what it won't and what that means for your firm. Some of the conclusions will surprise you.
coping with the regulatory deluge
Not even regulators are really sure if the deluge of regulation from the EU will improve financial stability – which must be its over-riding objective. We can help you to forge a meaningful regulatory strategy to make sense of the flood.
the nexus of strategy, risk & analysis
All businesses – financial as well as listed non-financial entities – now face regulatory expectations to understand their risk and uncertainty, their appetite for risk and their risk tolerance analytically and in terms of capital. But does that help?
The future will happen whether we plan for it or not. There are many things we can predict about the future; there are many we cannot. But, if we do not try, the future will take us by surprise. And it may not be the kind of surprise we want.
researching specific issues in greater depth
Thought-led businesses require a constant flow of original ideas and insights to flow to their markets. That is why we have an active programme of research on business, economic, policy and social issues.
We also assist other businesses by providing original research that improves their positioning and credibility.
Risks, wasted? Reviewing your longer term viability statement process
dimensionality: Thinking about improving strategy
We focus on improving your strategy by making it more useful and more resilient. Our work focuses on adding dimensions to strategy.
Greater dimensions offer greater insight from strategy and make it more useful for decision-making and for initiating actions which change how the firm operates in and serves its markets. Dimensions build the narrative of strategy.
To understand the impact of greater dimensionality in strategy, we use the analogy of map-making and its impact on how we view the world. Take a look for yourself and the story of adding dimensions to our understanding of our world.
Increasing the dimensionality of strategy adds to its robustness and its resilience in the face of shocks and changing circumstances; it offers greater opportunities to build a compelling narrative around your strategy which improves its resonance and impact.
When it comes to ethics and US business, things may be about to take a turn for the worse. The second part of a response to a blog by Harvard Business School's Eugene Soltes.
Eugene Soltes of HBS misses the point about ethics and the role of training in 'Why It’s So Hard to Train Someone to Make an Ethical Decision' at HBR online.
Can the Leave vote be said to represent a tyranny of the majority? The best starting point for finding out is the originator of the phrase, John Stuart Mill.
In what possible way was the vote 'undemocratic', as some claim?
The first of a series of articles looking at the Brexit vote, what it means and its impact
The typical B-school view glosses over a lot of what makes strategy important and contributory on an on-going basis.
Andrea Ovans reviews Michael Porter's classic 1990 article "What is strategy?" at HBR online. We review Andrea Ovans' review.
Veteran US journalist Seymour Hersch has a view on the death of Osama bin Laden. We are not so sure . . .
In September 2014, the FRC changed how UK listed companies are expected to respond to risk at board level. How many will make the changes . . . ?
We need to be more critical and more honest about what actually works and what doesn't in corporate risk practice.