Strategy Innovation, strategic management, why companies fail


Researchers at the Tuck School of Business have studied several examples of established organizations investing in experimental businesses. Several fell into the same pitfall mistakenly assuming the initial strategy, developed at great expense by outside experts, was correct.

Failure Story

For example, when a major technology company decided to launch a new services business, it based its initial resource commitment and value proposition on extensive research by a consulting firm. The services constituted a new market. But the market did not materialize until several years later.

Meanwhile, believing the strategy was right on, the company kept redoubling its effort, and escalating their investment, until finally the losses were so great that the leader was quietly reassigned and nearly half of the workforce dismissed.

The company subsequently invited the consulting firm to come back to diagnose what had gone wrong. Naturally, the firm claimed that their strategy was brilliant and blamed the problem on poor execution. Yes, the problem was poor execution. But the sign of poor execution was not the (self-judged) brilliance of the initial strategy. The sign of poor execution was that the leaders never questioned the strategy and never revised it >>>

"Rowing harder doesn't help
if the boat is headed in the wrong direction."
~ Kenichi Ohmae

Success Story

Another company they studied, a media company, understood this. Rather than hiring an outside expert, they developed their own strategy and  constantly questioned it. They developed a product and a pricing model, then quickly gathered data about which features their readers valued, which they did not, what they were willing to pay for, and what they were not. The business is now  profitable because its leaders understood that when it comes to innovation, execution is not about fulfilling the script. It is about constantly rewriting it.


Goggle Larry Page business advice quotes

Things do change, and if your business is static, you're likely to have issues >>>

Larry Page