strategy

‘Politics’ of failure

Nokia’s once-stellar performance was undermined by misaligned collective fear: top managers were afraid of competition from rival products, while middle managers were afraid of their bosses and even their peers. It was their reluctance to share negative information with top managers—who thus remained overly optimistic about the organization’s capabilities— that generated inaccurate feedback and poorly adapted organizational responses that led to the company’s downfall.*

It is not just Nokia, but many others who have fallen prey to complacency and turned risk-averse. New technologies are growing pervasive by the day and organizations can ill-afford to ignore its implications.

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Purposeful mission, profitable opportunities

In his book, Master Opportunity and Make it Big, Richard M Rothman says, “The success of your career, your business, or any other important aspect of your life, is enormously influenced by the opportunities you choose to pursue. In fact, these decisions are among the most important you will ever make in your life. In choosing these, you choose your fate.” Enabling innovation and growth in an organization comes from choosing the right, lucrative opportunities that are compatible with its vision and mission.

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Blow with the wind

A company’s response to change determines its chances of survival—as Jonathan MacDonald writes in his recent book, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”

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Creative core

A company’s most important asset isn’t raw materials, transportation systems, or political influence. It’s creative capital—simply put, an arsenal of creative thinkers whose ideas can be turned into valuable products and services. Creative employees pioneer new technologies, birth new industries, and power economic growth… If you want your company to succeed, these are the people you entrust it to. That much is certain. What’s less certain is how to manage for maximum creativity.*
Creative management is a complex process, but mastering it is imperative for those who want to deliver true value.

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Bright leaders, right opportunities

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, Rita McGrath, author of The End of Competitive Advantage, said, “In organizations, we always think the sins of commission are the ones that might be punished. In smart companies in the future, we are also going to think about sins of omission—not taking the appropriate chances or pursuing the appropriate opportunities for the future.” Consciously looking for opportunities and leveraging the best among them defines the path to survival in the long term.

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A mandarin narrative

“Understanding the China effect on global innovation will be essential for companies that wish to compete in China, take advantage of China’s innovation capacity, and adopt Chinese approaches to innovation to improve their own performance. The overall effect is that more innovation will originate in China—from both Chinese and global companies—and more companies would adopt the Chinese style of innovation.”*
What has helped many Chinese firms make remarkable strides—not just in the realm of innovation—is their swiftness in reformulating themselves, eschewing hierarchical structures, and adopting a customer-centric approach.

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A positive delay

According to Professor Adam Grant, Wharton School of Business, “We shouldn’t be afraid to start early, but equally we shouldn’t be afraid to be slow to finish… procrastination might just improve the end result.” * When used sensibly by leaders, procrastination is a powerful management strategy.

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The Goldilocks moment

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, Rita McGrath said, “…in today’s rapidly changing environments, the kind of product/feature advantages that lasted for a long time in the past are no longer offering the kinds of margins or profits that they once did.” In a sense, this points to the need for businesses to be alert and agile in the face of change. With seeming continuity of thought, here she explores the concept of ‘inflection points’ and underlines the need to identify the right time to plunge into action.

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change tracks

The Ministry of Science and Technology announced it will be investing $749,500 over the next few years…Under a new program, Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring Innovators and Startups (PRAYAS), the Ministry will be providing grants of up to $149,900 to each startup to encourage innovators.* However, free flow of funds alone does not ensure success. Indian startups and SMEs have to bring about radical improvement in costs, quality, service, and other critical avenues to stay ahead of the curve.

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lean is in

Entrepreneurs need to realize the importance of a coherent strategy and how it can impact the overall growth of their venture, explains David Collis, Harvard Business School.

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