strategy+business Spring 2016

Experience the ideas and stories that raise the game for management, written and expounded clearly enough to provide the basis for thoughtful action. Through in-depth feature stories, thought leader interviews, and strategic commentaries, each issue of strategy+business provides an informed global perspective for decision makers in organizations around the world.

United States
PwC Strategy& LLC
6,65 $ CA(TVA Incluse)
13,31 $ CA(TVA Incluse)
4 Numéros

dans ce numéro

2 min
capabilities no one else can match

For years, it was assumed that corporations thrived through economies of scale. It was taken for granted that the biggest companies were the most likely to succeed. Then, when Internet commerce made company size less relevant, many observers thought nimble, small companies would have an edge. Yet today, the leaders in most industries are big and entrenched. But they’re not like the huge conglomerates of yesteryear. The difference lies in their capabilities and the way they use them. Companies that can consistently do things no one else can match — companies such as IKEA, Starbucks, Apple, Natura, and Danaher — have an advantage over everyone else, an advantage that carries them through tumultuous times. They even make it look easy. “Creating a Strategy That Works,” by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi,…

8 min
leading ideas

In theory, management and shareholder activists have the same goal: maximizing longterm value. A stronger and more valuable company not only benefits its shareholders financially, but lays the economic foundation for the company to serve the interests of other stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and its community. Many activists — institutions and individuals who take a position in a publicly traded company with the intent of improving its value by changing its strategy, financial structure management, or board — share these long-term objectives. But some, the type often branded as dangerous corporate raiders, take a short-term view. They believe it is possible to push share prices higher (and soon!) by reducing costs, increasing leverage, and selling assets. According to a 2015 PwC report (“Shareholder Activism: Who, What, When, and How?”),…

8 min
in search of ingenuity

Few people may recognize the name Norman Heatley. Even the Nobel Committee overlooked him when, in 1945, it awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine jointly to Alexander Fleming of St. Mary’s Hospital and Ernst Chain and Howard Florey of Oxford University for discovering the lifesaving antibiotic penicillin. But it was Heatley, working side by side with Chain and Florey, who devised the first methods for growing enough penicillin to study its chemical structure and activity, purifying it, and measuring its potency. Sir Henry Harris, who succeeded Florey as head of Oxford’s Dunn School of Pathology, once summed up Heatley’s role by saying, “Without Fleming, no Chain or Florey; without Florey, no Heatley; without Heatley, no penicillin.” Most of the credit and attention for breakthroughs typically goes to the individual with a…

9 min
mike christian on mindfulness and mental energy

We’ve all come to work exhausted, or under the weather, or while experiencing some sort of physical pain. We power through it as best we can, unaware that our brains are redirecting critical resources to manage these issues. These efforts enable us to cope. But as Mike Christian, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, has found, they take a toll on our performance. When our mental energy is depleted, we are less able to exercise control over our emotions and behaviors — and are more likely to be disengaged, break rules, take part in deception, or even act unethically. “The way leaders act, and whether or not people perceive these actions as fair, can affect people’s reserves of mental energy.” Christian’s research delves…

5 min
breaking bad barriers

In her new book, journalist Gillian Tett shows how companies can be constrained by silos that inhibit collaboration — and how they can break out of them. In the business word, silos have garnered something of a bad name. The term silo has become synonymous with narrow-mindedness, institutional bias, and rampant interdepartmental rivalries. Silos are a metaphor for business structures that prevent the corporate whole from being greater than the sum of its parts. But we shouldn’t reflexively regard silos negatively, says Gillian Tett. They are an inescapable and necessary consequence of organizational scale and complexity. More importantly, they exist because “humans are hardwired to classify the world and to sort it into buckets,” she writes in The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers (Simon…

7 min
mutually assured disruption

In June 2014, Spanish bank Santander and online business lender Funding Circle announced a customer-sharing agreement in the United Kingdom. When Santander turns down a loan applicant, the company refers the borrower to Funding Circle. In exchange, Funding Circle sends some of its customers to Santander for cash management and other services. The relationship involves only referrals; there are no fee splits, risksharing provisions, or operational interactions. In a different type of arrangement, in April 2015 Citigroup agreed to fund US$150 million in loans to lower-income borrowers through Lending Club, an online consumer lender. Lending Club finds and evaluates borrowers, and a state-chartered bank in Utah makes the loans, which are then sold to a private equity firm through a credit facility provided by Citigroup. Financial services is just the latest sector…