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The Best Companies Know How to Balance Strategy and Purpose

by Laurent Chevreux, Jose Lopez, Xavier Mesnard

November 02, 2017

Most companies have articulated their purpose — the reason they exist. But very few have made that purpose a reality for their organizations.

Consider Nokia. Before the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, Nokia was the dominant mobile phone maker with a clearly stated purpose — “Connecting people” — and an aggressive strategy for sustaining market dominance. Seeking to extend its technological edge (particularly in miniaturization), it acquired more than 100 startup companies while pursuing a vast portfolio of research and product development projects. In 2006 alone, Nokia introduced 39 new mobile-device models. Few imagined that this juggernaut, brandishing vast resources with such steely determination, could be quickly brought down.

Good Strategy Execution Requires Balancing 4 Tensions

by Simon Horan, Michael Connerty
November 03, 2017

Putting strategy into practice is notoriously difficult. In our experience, the primary obstacle to strategy execution is a failure to balance the inherent tensions that characterize any major execution effort. Successful strategy execution calls for skillful orchestration of sometimes opposing forces and competing needs. In particular, there are four core tensions that leaders need to balance.

Like It or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example

by Michael Schrage
October 05, 2016

Even the most sophisticated psychometrics and people analytics have yet to make leadership development more science than art. Competence, character, creativity, and charisma remain difficult qualities to quantify, let alone cultivate. Growing effective leaders is challenging work.

But maybe we’re measuring the wrong things. When entrepreneurs, innovators, and executives describe the kind of leaders they want to be and/or hire, an unhappy truth invariably emerges: The attributes they so admire often aren’t the behaviors they display. Their truisms lack pragmatism.