From 1966 to 1970, we helped America’s rising
conglomerates make hundreds of acquisitions. By and large, the
acquisitions did not work out. But we learned a lot– particularly about
strategy. Strategy has to be simple enough and clear enough to keep us
away from profit-draining distractions. It will ward off lots of foul
acquisitions. Strategy has to be simple enough so that everyone in
the company can get it and act on it. Strategy has to take advantage
of the future.
How Do We Define Strategy?
Yes, we define it differently. Strategy, in our eyes, is a
stubborn wish to change the world at a profit mixed with a whole lot of
cunning, practicality, and luck. Good strategy mixes compulsiveness
and calculation, creating a powerful brew.
Whom Have We Advised?
Our clients have included multinationals (mostly in technology or
science-intensive industries), financial service companies, and, as it
happens, many management-consulting firms to include a host of strategy
pioneers. Often we have advised chief executives how to manage
strategy engagements with consultancies.
What Do We Focus On?
Here are some questions we always have to ask:
a. Can we state the strategy simply in fifteen words or less?
b. What kinds of people will we need to put the strategy in place?
c. Will the strategy truly grow the company? For years, strategists
and consultants have focused much too much on reducing costs, not
d. Does the strategy figure out what alliances will create enough leverage
for us to achieve superior performance?
e. Does the strategy swim upstream against the prevailing tide? The
real money will be made by finding a way of not doing things the way they
f. Will the strategy remedy some big hole in the economy? Will lives
really be different if the strategy gets implemented?
g. Does the strategy look for niches where there’s no competition?
a. The quality
of the enterprise to improve substantially.
b. Revenues to accelerate. We believe in growth.
c. Reputation to grow as a leader and as an ethical company.
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