strategy+business Spring 2020

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
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
many facets of leadership

The most popular topic in business writing is leadership. Perhaps that’s because wisdom on the subject is so elusive. To be a great (or even good) leader, there is no easy formula to follow, and much of the guidance you’ll find is clichéd or, worse, problematic. Yet I think the literature on leadership has gotten more credible lately. It’s as if the challenges of our time, and our increasing (albeit imperfect) knowledge of human nature, are forcing us to rethink our view of how people can grow into authority and what they’re supposed to do when they get there. In this issue, we’ve assembled a number of fresh perspectives, each of which speaks to a different facet of leadership thinking and practice. For example, there’s “Leaders in waiting,” by PwC’s Peter Englisch…

5 min
how to think like a ceo

The list of qualities and habits of mind required to succeed in the role of CEO is long; it includes resilience, stamina, high IQ and EQ, confidence, ambition, humility, vision, trustworthiness, and presence. It would be easy to come up with a hundred more characteristics, all of which could be true. But what if we set ourselves a more difficult task, and tried to determine what quality is at the very top of the list? Over the last decade, I’ve conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500 CEOs. I wanted to understand what makes them tick as human beings, rather than as business strategists. I asked them about formative experiences and influences, and the key leadership lessons they had learned over the course of their lives. In choosing the leaders I would interview,…

9 min
creating an agile mind-set at pepsico

It appeared to be a routine day at the cookie factory in Mar del Plata, Argentina — a facility operated by PepsiCo Central and South America (CASA). Freshly baked treats were continually transferred from an enormous industrial oven onto an assembly line for cooling. As machines whirred and workers moved about, a piece of the conveyor belt broke down, bringing the action to an abrupt stop. The turn of events was no surprise to anyone on the line. They thought they knew what would happen next: The line operator would have to order another US$300 part from Italy, and production wouldn’t resume until it arrived. But the operator on the line that day in 2018 happened to be a skilled tinkerer who owned a 3D printer. He knew there must be…

11 min
the fourth industrial revolution in agriculture

Do all cows’ faces look the same to you? They don’t to systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Bovine facial recognition technology, developed through a strategic partnership between Cargill and an Irish technology company called Cainthus, equips barns and fields with smart cameras that can identify each cow in a herd in seconds based on facial features and hide patterns. Linked to machine learning software, the system determines whether a cow isn’t eating or drinking enough, or if she’s sick, and can alert the farmer via smartphone app. It can also look at the whole herd’s behavior to identify how best to distribute feed or schedule cows’ stints in a specific pen or in the field. Over time, the platform learns from what it sees and begins to automate more…

7 min
what avengers: infinity war can teach us about business

What does a movie about a team of superheroes — scientists, soldiers, magicians, monsters, androids, and aliens — who collaborate to try to stop the destruction of half of all life in the universe have to do with business? I didn’t expect to see a connection, but when I watched Avengers: Infinity War, I found it was like watching a dramatized version of my daily working life. My colleagues and I help teams of committed leaders — businesspeople, politicians, civil servants, trade unionists, journalists, activists, academics, and artists — collaborate to address their most important and difficult challenges. The movie helped me see more clearly some of the central dynamics in such efforts. For example, our work with the Mexico Education Lab has several crucial parallels to the movie. Mexico needs…

6 min
can you be a shaper of great institutions?

As a business strategist and writer, R. Gopalakrishnan has devoted his work to studying ethics, leadership, and human capital. He began his 31-year-long career at Unilever’s massive, idealistic India business, and then became a board director at the even more massive and idealistic Tata Group, where he was head of Tata brand and strategy for almost 18 years. Along the way, Gopal (as he prefers to be called) developed the idea at the heart of his new book, Doodles on Leadership: Experiences Within and Beyond Tata. He says that business professionals, as they proceed through their career, rise through three levels of leadership: transactional, where they deliver functional results; corporate, where they coordinate functions; and holistic, where they engage fully, on behalf of the business, in addressing broadbased, long-range issues. Recently,…