A palette of plans

BUSINESSES are bombarded with advice on strategy. Many gurus urge them to discover a “blue ocean” where they can swim without competition. Others argue that this is a pipe dream—a blue ocean will immediately be turned red by competitors—and advise them to focus on flexibility. Some pundits preach the first-mover advantage; others urge firms to be fast followers. Bosses end up confused and cynical, with some lurching from one strategy to another and others concluding that they never want to hear the word “strategy” again.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) made its name with clever ideas about strategy, most notably the growth-share matrix, which helps firms divide their lines of business into stars, cash-cows, dogs and question-marks. Now it has brought some clarity to the current confusion with a new book, “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy”, by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha. The BCG trio argue that business is so fast-moving and diverse these days that a single, overarching strategy will no longer do. The competitive landscape is constantly changing in many industries; businesses speed through the life-cycle from stars to dogs. So,...



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