Want to know why we publish so much on strategy? Because it’s hard! Just ask anyone who has tried to lead a strategic transformation. A lot can go wrong.
Our Spotlight in this issue—“Where Strategy Stumbles”—addresses this challenge. We look at some of the most common obstacles to successful implementation and offer insights on how to overcome them.
In the lead piece, Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull set out to debunk several pernicious myths about strategy execution, such as the idea that the best results require “sticking to the plan.” They aim to present a more accurate perspective, drawing on a survey of 7,600 managers in more than 250 companies along with dozens of experiments at organizations undergoing change.
In an accompanying article, the authors of the best-selling book Blue Ocean Strategy, Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, look at why so many companies fail to crack the code for identifying and capturing new markets. They’ve uncovered a number of ingrained assumptions and ideas—what they call “red ocean traps”—that anchor managers’ thinking and prevent the adoption of promising market-creating strategies.
Don’t miss this month’s Big Idea, about how businesses can tap into the bottom of the pyramid—not in developing countries but in first-world powers. The Nobel laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus, together with three professors from HEC business school in Paris, writes about some intriguing experiments that take a new approach to meeting the needs of France’s poorest. The goal of these efforts is to provide sustainable access to essential goods and services in ways that also offer benefits—both tangible and intangible—to businesses.