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Strategy & Leadership Archive

December 23, 2014

What You Read: The 10 Most Popular s+b Articles of 2014

Among all the articles we’ve published over the last year, here are the ones that garnered the most attention.
December 19, 2014

Best of the s+b Blog: A Feast of Management Ideas for the New Year

A look at some of the best blog posts that we published in 2014.
December 16, 2014

Integrity Is Free

For businesses that keep their promises, there are often invaluable hidden benefits.
December 15, 2014

The Truth About Breakthrough Strategies

You won’t find them through typical strategic planning, executive retreats, or brainstorming sessions.
December 15, 2014

What Self-Made Billionaires Do Best

They don’t just generate results. They produce breakthroughs.
December 10, 2014

What Is This Thing Called Resilience?

It is a hot buzzword, but often clouded in mystery. Here’s what executives need to know.
December 1, 2014

Leadership Insights from a Special Needs Parent

Raising a child with disabilities showed me what it takes to be an effective leader.
November 25, 2014

What the Ebola Crisis Can Teach Business Leaders

Executives have much to learn about how fragile the public’s trust in them can be.
November 21, 2014

How to Lead a Successful Global Team

INSEAD professor Erin Meyer discusses how companies can boost the efficiency of their multinational teams by focusing on how they communicate across cultures. For more insights, read the related article.
November 18, 2014

Best of Multimedia: Three Techniques for Embracing Culture Change

Fixing resistance to transformations starts with reframing mind-sets and assumptions.
November 11, 2014

The Complexity of Complexity

It’s not enough to say your organization is simple or complicated—you must also understand what kind of complexity you’re dealing with.
Best Business Books 2014
November 10, 2014

Best Business Books 2014: Sustainability

Tomorrow’s Bottom Line
November 10, 2014

China’s Philosopher-CEO Zhang Ruimin

Haier’s leader describes how he built a winning global company by continually reframing his management philosophy.
Best Business Books 2014
November 7, 2014

Best Business Books 2014: Innovation

Greasing the Skids of Invention
November 4, 2014

How to Be Privileged Like Louis XIV

A favored position creates authentic leadership only when it is tempered by accountability.
Best Business Books 2014
November 3, 2014

Best Business Books 2014: Strategy

To the Nimble Go the Spoils
November 3, 2014

Making Sense of Globalization

The DHL Global Connectedness Index, now in its third edition, shows that not all flows of trade, capital, information, and people are alike.
October 29, 2014

The Virgin Chronicles

Richard Branson’s books demonstrate how an entrepreneur’s drive and verve can turn seemingly crazy ideas into reality.
October 28, 2014

Free Your Strategy from Annual Planning

When your strategy is shackled to the annual planning process, you lose a uniquely powerful management tool.
October 28, 2014

The Sharing Company

Behind the hype of peer-to-peer economics is a quiet B2B revolution.
October 27, 2014

The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA

Based on 10 years of organizational design (“organizational DNA”) research and 220,000 diagnostic surveys, here’s what we’ve learned about building high-performance companies.
October 23, 2014

Ending the Battle between Leadership and Management

Historical and fictional accounts of King Henry V show how powerful the two disciplines can be when used together.
October 22, 2014

Best of Multimedia: What Airports and Alleys Can Tell You about Prospective Employees

In this HBR IdeaCast, the authors of “How Google Works” reveal their personal approaches to recruiting top-notch talent.
October 16, 2014

Reframing Sales Effectiveness

Aligning Strategy and Sales is the best sales book of the year—and one that senior executives should read.
October 13, 2014

A Call to Action on Big Data

It’s time for companies and governments to take the steps that will lead to an evolution in analytics.
October 9, 2014

The New Supercompetitors

Companies that realize the power of their capabilities can shape how industries evolve. For more insights, read “the related article.”
October 6, 2014

How to Set Productive Collaboration into Action

Here are 11 tips to encourage employees to build better ideas.
October 6, 2014

Politicians for Prosperity

National leaders, such as India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, can make or break their country’s business climate.
September 30, 2014

The Accountability Equation

Holding people, companies, or systems responsible for their mistakes is about more than just pointing a finger at the most convenient target.
September 29, 2014

The Business of Coming Out at Work

Former BP CEO John Browne argues that self-disclosure is the right course for LGBT employees in The Glass Closet.
September 29, 2014

Are You Ready to Get Creative?

A new Strategy& online survey helps you check your innovation proficiency.
September 24, 2014

The Four Rs of High-Stakes Decision Making

When it’s all on the line, when and how a decision is made matter just as much as whether it’s made in the first place.
September 23, 2014

The Business Approach to Climate Change

John Elkington and Jochen Zeitz’s new book proposes how to achieve the triple bottom line of planet, people, and profits.
September 22, 2014

Are You a Conscious Capitalist?

It’s time for capitalism to find a higher purpose.
September 22, 2014

Trust Me, Trust Me Not

Barry Nalebuff, coauthor of Co-opetition, introduces a passage on when to—and when not to—believe what others say, from The Power of Noticing, by Max Bazerman.
September 16, 2014

How the Fresh-Start Effect Creates a Clean Slate

In this video, Wharton professor Katherine Milkman explains how to motivate people to move beyond their past failures and achieve their goals. For more insights, read “Katherine Milkman on Why Fresh Starts Matter.
September 15, 2014

Beyond the Brainstorm

Here are 15 ways to generate better ideas every day.
September 5, 2014

How Your Brain Responds to Performance Rankings

Watch this video to see why traditional employee evaluations are flawed. For more insights, read “Kill Your Performance Ratings.”
September 2, 2014

Young CEOs’ Risks Can Pay Off

Executives who take more chances may prove to be a better long-term bet than those who play it safe.
August 28, 2014

Best of Multimedia: What’s Your Leadership Style?

It may depend on where you live. Here’s how to navigate different ways of managing across cultures.
August 25, 2014

Lead by Asking

Sometimes the most obvious questions are the most crucial.
August 25, 2014

Know Thy Audience

Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact, introduces a timeless lesson about crafting clear messages from Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand, by Frank J. Pietrucha.
August 18, 2014

Dick and Emily Axelrod’s Method for Holding Better Meetings

The couple share their secret for how to actually get work done the next time you gather your team together.
August 14, 2014

Where Are the Sinkholes in Your Strategy?

Answering two critical questions will fortify your company’s strategy—and your ability to implement it.
August 13, 2014

Remembering Warren Bennis

A consummate humanist and pioneer of management thought leadership has passed away.
August 11, 2014

The Importance of Putting People First

Starbucks’ plan to pay its workers’ college tuition may signal a new era in how employers consider their employees.
August 8, 2014

The New Supercompetitors

Companies that realize the power of their capabilities can shape how industries evolve. And watch the related video.
August 8, 2014

Katherine Milkman on Why Fresh Starts Matter

The Wharton professor says moments when you wipe the slate clean can help you meet your goals. And watch the video “How the Fresh-Start Effect Creates a Clean Slate.
August 1, 2014

Best of Multimedia: A Lesson Women Can Learn from Men

Journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman explain why self-doubt hurts the career paths of women.
August 1, 2014

Genius Is a Team Effort

Michael Schrage reviews two notable books by veteran Silicon Valley journalists that seek to explain collaborative charisma.
August 1, 2014

The Downside of Competition

In A Bigger Prize, former CEO Margaret Heffernan argues that the corporate world has an unhealthy obsession with winning.
July 30, 2014

A New Hat for Negotiators

If you want to become a better deal-maker, start by examining who you are at the table.
July 29, 2014

Should Leaders Be Heroes or Relationship Builders?

Executives better serve their companies when they act as co-creators, rather than solo artists.
July 28, 2014

Tomorrow’s Leaders Need Diverse Challenges Today

Cynthia D. McCauley, coeditor of Experience-Driven Leader Development: Models, Tools, Best Practices, and Advice for On-the-Job Development, introduces a career development lesson from It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best, by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz.
July 25, 2014

Lead by Doing, Not by Delegating

Leaders who pass hard problems to their subordinates create cynicism, not success.
July 25, 2014

How Old Industries Become Young Again

Five indicators reveal when your sector is about to be transformed by dematurity.
July 23, 2014

Beach Reading…Boardroom Style

Your summer vacation is the perfect time to relax, lie back, take in some sun, and learn something new about leadership.
July 18, 2014

Does Your Company Keep Its Promises?

Despite best intentions, many businesses struggle with “commitment drift.”
July 16, 2014

Don’t Let Insecurity Infect Your Business

Confidence is critical to individual and organizational performance.
July 14, 2014

Stop Hiring and Start Attracting Talent

Building a great team starts with being a great leader.
June 30, 2014

What’s the Secret to Leadership Presence?

Be present. Although your mannerisms and dress matter, so does your focus on the person or task at hand.
June 26, 2014

Do Winners Give—or Take—All?

Generosity in the workplace doesn’t cost as much as being selfish.
June 24, 2014

Don’t Let the Short-Term–Long-Term Tension Drag Your Strategy Down

How to navigate the twin demands of current performance and future investment.
June 17, 2014

How to Scale Up Excellence in an Organization

Stanford’s Robert Sutton discusses the mind-set and strategies of companies that are most adept at building and spreading high standards.
June 16, 2014

Cynthia McCauley’s Manual for Leadership Development

The leadership scholar explains why measurable, experience-based programs are key to helping executives develop their potential.
June 11, 2014

Getting Fired for the Right Reasons

Effective leaders focus on powerful possibilities, not problems.
June 10, 2014

What’s the Future of the Workplace?

MIT professor Thomas Malone predicts that new technologies will enable more decentralized decision making and ultimately more freedom in business. For more related insights,  read “Thomas Malone on Building Smarter Teams.”
June 9, 2014

How to Lead Change Management

DeAnne Aguirre, senior partner with Strategy&, discusses techniques that can help companies transform quickly and effectively. For more insight,  read “10 Principles of Leading Change Management.”
June 6, 2014

10 Principles of Leading Change Management

These time-honored tools and techniques can help companies transform quickly. And watch the video, “How to Lead Change Management.”
May 30, 2014

The CEO Time Machine: Where Do You Belong?

In this interactive experience, answer a handful of questions about your leadership style, habits, and opinions. Then we’ll match your profile to the era in which you may be the best fit as CEO.
May 30, 2014

The Lives and Times of the CEO

From 100 years back to a quarter century ahead, the evolution of the chief executive officer.
May 27, 2014

The Business Case against Business Cases

Companies that rely on traditional project management methods could be getting an incomplete picture of their own vulnerabilities and opportunities.
May 26, 2014

Deals That Transform Companies

How to shift your business model with M&A integration.
May 22, 2014

How Apple and GE Create Smarter Teams

Successful companies, MIT professor Thomas Malone says, take advantage of collective intelligence theory to improve their performance, read “Thomas Malone on Building Smarter Teams.”
May 22, 2014

Strategy or Culture: Which Is More Important?

Although culture is much more than an “enabler” of strategy, it’s no substitute for it.
May 20, 2014

Why “Leadership” Isn’t Just for Leaders Anymore

Skills that were once limited to the C-suite now take place at all levels within companies.
May 19, 2014

The Waves and Streams of Crisis Communication

Navigating the media in a crisis is complex, but it starts with knowing when to surf and when to swim.
May 15, 2014

The Collective’s Crystal Ball

Crowdsourcing offers companies the opportunity to analyze large amounts of data in innovative ways.
May 12, 2014

Why Women Make Teams Smarter

MIT professor Thomas Malone discusses why women can increase a group's collective intelligence, read “Thomas Malone on Building Smarter Teams.”
May 12, 2014

Female Directors and Their Impact on Strategic Change

The effectiveness of women in the boardroom can depend on whether the company is having a period of good performance or bad.
May 12, 2014

40 Chances to Realize Your Goals

If you find yourself thinking you could be doing more with your life, take a chance and make a change.
May 12, 2014

Management in the Second Machine Age

Future leaders will succeed by being entrepreneurial and by rethinking the balance between financial and social goals.
May 12, 2014

Thomas Malone on Building Smarter Teams

The head of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence explains how the social intelligence factor is critical for business success.
May 12, 2014

Turnover Alchemy: Converting Employee Losses into Gains

Departing staffers can become a source of new networks and competitive intelligence.
May 12, 2014

A Triple Scoop of Social Responsibility

Journalist Brad Edmondson’s recounting of the Ben & Jerry’s story, Ice Cream Social, focuses on the difficulties of living up to high-minded corporate mission statements after new owners take control.
May 5, 2014

The Trust Agenda

CEOs are increasingly seeking “good growth,” aligned with business ethics and sustainability.
May 5, 2014

Stephen Wolfram’s World-Changing Plans

The physicist, author, and software entrepreneur has high expectations of pretty much everything and everyone.
April 29, 2014

Becoming a Capable Company

Advantage is transient, but corporate identity is slow to change. Figure out that paradox, and your company will be primed for success.
April 28, 2014

Strategy Is Not about the Competition

Customers and capabilities—not the competition—should take center stage when developing strategies.
April 28, 2014

Growing When Your Industry Doesn’t

Success and profits flow to companies with uniquely valuable market propositions—regardless of their sector.
April 24, 2014

The Hidden Business Benefits of Regulation

How embracing sensible legislation can unlock opportunity.
April 18, 2014

Are You Ready to Lose Control?

It may be the best way to improve your organization’s performance.
April 16, 2014

Best of Multimedia: Benjamin Zander on Choosing Possibility Thinking

It takes discipline to empower others to awaken their creativity, energy, and spontaneity.
April 11, 2014

A Reality Check on Women’s Progress in the Workplace

Is it time to add some civil disobedience to the civil discourse?
April 7, 2014

My Love-Hate Relationship with Quarterly Results

The Best s+b Blog Posts of Q1.
April 3, 2014

A New Life for strategy+business

Our firm, now called Strategy&, joins the PwC network.
March 28, 2014

Best of Multimedia: When Disaster Strikes, We Tune In

Catastrophes bring out the true nature of a leader’s innate capacity to do the right thing.
March 25, 2014

The Long Road to U.S. Healthcare Reform

In Reinventing American Health Care, professor Ezekiel Emanuel predicts that the benefits of reform are still years away.
March 25, 2014

How Digitization Is Impacting Strategy

Rita Gunther McGrath says digitization is affecting strategy in new ways—for instance, by removing entry barriers and requiring greater flexibility. For more related insights, read “The Thought Leader Interview: Rita Gunther McGrath.”
March 25, 2014

Fourteen Interview Questions to Help You Hire Your Next Innovator

Find out before it’s too late if you’re recruiting a trailblazer or an imposter.
March 24, 2014

Why Underemployment Is a Bigger Challenge than Unemployment

Hiring employees with greater qualifications than you need may seem like a bargain, but it carries real risks.
March 21, 2014

Do the “Side Hustle” for Your Next Job

What used to be considered pastimes or hobbies might eventually provide your next paycheck.
March 21, 2014

Mind Your Feedback

Douglas Stone, coauthor of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Even When It Is Off-Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, and Frankly, You’re Not in the Mood), introduces a cautionary lesson in assessing others from Embodied Leadership: A Somatic Approach to Developing Your Leadership, by Pete Hamill.
March 20, 2014

Unleashing Creativity

To take advantage of employees’ innovative efforts, managers must first learn how to encourage and nurture them.
March 19, 2014

Alternative Systems for Corporate Survival

John Kotter and Rita Gunther McGrath both argue that change will inevitably overwhelm hierarchical management systems, but their solutions differ.
March 18, 2014

Is Your Strategy Stuck?

Rita Gunther McGrath uncovers how companies can tap into more dynamic tools to develop better strategies for how and where they’re competing.. For more related insights, read “The Thought Leader Interview: Rita Gunther McGrath.”
March 17, 2014

Organize Like a Startup

Legacy companies looking to increase agility and collaboration can take a few lessons from new firms.
March 12, 2014

The Freaky Friday Management Technique

In The Hard Thing about Hard Things, VC Ben Horowitz offers a creative solution for resolving conflict among organizational silos.
March 11, 2014

How IKEA, Disney, and Berkshire Hathaway Succeed with Adjacencies

Many adjacency moves fail because they’re driven by the wrong motives. But a lot can be learned from those that succeed.
March 11, 2014

The Importance of Being Mindful

It’s not just a trend; companies can be more effective by fostering contemplative awareness in every aspect of their processes and practices.
March 10, 2014

Making the Talent Leap of Faith

Rita Gunther McGrath explains why organizations need to shed their old-fashioned mentality about how they recruit people in order to fill the talent gap. For more related insights, read “The Thought Leader Interview: Rita Gunther McGrath.”
March 6, 2014

Encouraging the Next Generation

Take a moment, change a life.
March 3, 2014

No More Business as Usual

Syria. Ukraine. The Tea Party. Companies should start preparing for the new global reality.
March 3, 2014

Are Companies Responsible for the Off-Hours Behavior of Their Employees?

A growing rift in San Francisco between techies and long-term residents raises questions about whether employers can—or should—encourage workers to be better neighbors.
February 27, 2014

Four Tips for Walking Your Innovation Talk

To produce a climate of innovation that trickles down from the top, start by following this effective formula for leadership role modeling.
February 26, 2014

Why Coach Mike Rice Boiled Over (and How You Can Avoid the Same Fate)

Leaders must learn to tell the difference between strong emotions that can lead to constructive change, and those that can tear an organization apart.
February 26, 2014

Seeing Innovation in Strategic Terms

Rita Gunther McGrath reveals why innovation and strategy have converged—and what that means for how companies do business. For more related insights, read “The Thought Leader Interview: Rita Gunther McGrath.”
February 25, 2014

How to Talk to Your Board about Risk

New research reveals a better way to engage with board members on this critical business issue.
February 24, 2014

Are You Doing Enough to Retain Your Top Talent?

To assess how well you’re retaining your top talent, take our interactive quiz.
February 24, 2014

Align with Your Star Employees

When you connect the development of your top talent with the needs of your organization, everyone wins—and your best people stay. To assess how well you’re retaining your top talent, take our interactive quiz.
February 24, 2014

Zachary Shore on How to Predict the Future

A historian’s approach to strategic empathy can help you anticipate your rivals’ next moves.
February 21, 2014

Would Your Employees Work for Free?

Leaders who manage volunteer workforces have much to teach leaders who manage employees.
February 18, 2014

Three Leadership Lessons from Sochi: Practice, Practice, Practice

What do great leaders and great athletes have in common? They both work really hard to be the best.
February 18, 2014

This Year’s Top Three Strategic Challenges

Rita Gunther McGrath outlines the hot-button issues that companies are facing in 2014. For more related insights, read “The Thought Leader Interview: Rita Gunther McGrath.”
February 17, 2014

Rita Gunther McGrath on the End of Competitive Advantage

The Columbia Business School professor says the era of sustainable competitive advantage is being replaced by an age of flexibility. Are you ready?
February 14, 2014

How to Prepare Your Company for Growth

Take Booz & Company’s Fit for Growth* Index profiler and find out what you need to be successful in the long term.
February 14, 2014

How Do You Compete?

Roger Martin, coauthor of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, introduces a lesson on the proper foundation for core competencies from Compete Smarter, Not Harder: A Process for Developing the Right Priorities through Strategic Thinking, by William Putsis.
February 11, 2014

The Critical Few: Components of a Truly Effective Culture

Forget the monolithic change management programs and focus on the elements of your culture that drive performance.
February 11, 2014

The Lion versus the Fox

David Hurst reviews Professor Lawrence Freedman’s magisterial new history of strategy, which underscores the discipline’s central elements and limits.
February 11, 2014

Cut Your Company’s Fat but Keep Some Slack

Why excess capacity leads to greater efficiency.
February 11, 2014

Scale Your Innovation Initiatives

Five ways to boost the impact of new endeavors without adding bureaucracy or cost.
February 11, 2014

A Step-by-Step Guide to Winning the Customer

Companies that understand the stages of consumer purchasing decisions have an outsized influence in their outcome.
February 11, 2014

How to Achieve Growth in a Lean Europe

Lessons on winning in a slow market.
February 10, 2014

Do We Really Want Public Pension Funds to Become Activist Investors?

Some funds are making bolder demands of the companies they hold shares in, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
February 7, 2014

Ugly-Sweater Leadership Moments

Wise leaders actively seek the truth they don't want to find.
February 3, 2014

Why Is Wrong with Your Business Model?

It doesn’t matter what you do with your business if you don’t know why you do it.
January 30, 2014

The Dangers of Adjacencies Strategy

Why a popular approach to growth may put your company’s health at risk.
January 30, 2014

Taking Advantage of the Kinder, Gentler Takeover

Hostile acquisitions may be largely a thing of the past, as they’ve been replaced with gentler—and more effective—M&A strategies.
January 28, 2014

The Other Reasons Janet Yellen’s Fed Chairmanship Is a Big Deal

The new Fed chief’s appointment is a sweet victory for Fed insiders and fans of the dismal science—at least for now.
January 27, 2014

After 500 Years, Why Does Machiavelli Still Hold Such Sway?

Relative morality is usually considered a bad thing—except if it gets results.
January 23, 2014

Make Room for a Successful IPO

New high-tech companies are more attractive to investors when they show room for growth.
January 20, 2014

Beyond Davos: Leading through Complex Global Challenges

In order to solve large-scale problems, world leaders must concentrate on what they have in common, rather than the differences between them.
January 20, 2014

Efraim Benmelech on Financial Contagion

The economist explains how financial crises spread like a disease and what companies can do to immunize themselves.
January 17, 2014

Leadership Gone Viral

Pope Francis has clearly matched his talk to his walk—how about you?
January 16, 2014

Maximizing the Impact of Outsider CEOs

External leaders who take over in good times make a greater strategic impact than those recruited during unstable periods.
January 16, 2014

UPS's Christmas Failure Delivers a Powerful Lesson about Alliances

How networks of small shippers could have played a big role this holiday season.
January 15, 2014

Beware the “CEO Bubble”

Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski paid an unjustly high price for the crime of losing perspective, according to a new book by Catherine S. Neal.
January 13, 2014

Why New CEOs Sometimes Bring New Problems

Leadership transitions are ripe with opportunity—and fraught with peril.
January 10, 2014

Best of Multimedia: A Winning Model for Women in Executive Roles

How Gilt’s Michelle Peluso designed a career to be both the CEO—and the mom—she wanted to be.
January 9, 2014

How an Alliance of Regional Shippers Is Threatening UPS and FedEx

When properly networked, small players wield greater power.
January 8, 2014

Big Data Strategy: s+b’s Strategy of the Year

From the headlines to the C-suite, big data embodied the height of strategy-as-fashion in 2013.
January 8, 2014

New Year’s Resolution: Become a Thought Leader

A study guide for aspiring gurus.
January 6, 2014

The Keys to Leadership: Your Brain and My Grandmother

A new year should herald new ways of thinking about business.
January 6, 2014

Making Better Decisions over Time

The technique of deliberate practice can dramatically improve performance, but knowing its limits is as important as understanding its value.
January 3, 2014

Can Business Find Value in Joy?

An IT services firm has developed a business model that it believes delivers joy to both employees and customers.