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By Michael Mankins, Richard Steele
Everyone knows that great strategy can’t produce great performance without great planning and execution. Yet companies routinely fall short of the financial results spelled out in their strategic plans. In fact, our research suggests that companies typically deliver less than two-thirds of their strategy’s performance potential and, more importantly, that the causes of this "strategy-to-performance gap" are all but invisible to top management.
By Mason Kissell
After a two- to three-year dry spell, management teams are starting to see promising opportunities for profitable growth. Yet many executives are reluctant to make the "big bets" necessary to exploit these opportunities.
With billions of dollars at stake in their credit portfolios and trading operations, banks have been forced to look much more closely at the risks they take every day (and every minute of the day). Yet many financial institutions ignore a much more fundamental type of risk: their choices about which markets to participate in, how to compete in those markets and the impact of those choices on the risk profile of their institutions. Call this "strategic risk," if you will.
By Simeon Preston
Given the sheer scale of activities that companies are moving offshore these days, decisions on how to configure operations can have an unprecedented impact on shareholder value. Yet time and again, large corporations are making these decisions with insufficient clarity. The most egregious oversight: assuming that migrating operations offshore requires outsourcing them to another company.
By David Meer
Coca-Cola grabbed headlines recently when it named executive Mary Minnick to a new post overseeing three key growth functions: marketing, innovation and strategic growth. In essence, Coke created a "chief growth officer" position in all but name. But if the experiences of companies like Colgate- Palmolive, H.J. Heinz, Interpublic Group and Hain Celestial in establishing that role play out again, Ms. Minnick will have limited ability to reverse the beverage giant’s falling market share.
By Michael Mankins
A company’s scarcest resource isn’t capital or even talent, it’s top management time. Yet despite its value, top management time is rarely managed systematically. As a consequence, crises of the moment often push aside deep discussions of strategy and investment.
By Uta Werner
Despite the enormous buying clout of mega-merchants like Wal-Mart, Target and Carrefour, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have actually outperformed retailers in the capital markets over the past decade. From 1994-2003, the mean annual total return for the top 25 U.S. and European FMCGs was 11.8% compared with 9.6% for the top 25 retailers, a nearly 25% difference.
To find profitable growth opportunities in an increasingly competitive marketplace, many companies are trying to deepen their understanding of existing and potential customers. They have the right idea, but most go about it the wrong way. Either they rely too much on attitudinal information or – if they also look at customer behavior and economics – make little attempt to combine the three types of information. The result is an incomplete and often misleading view of how to manage growth investm