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Category Archives: Strategy

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The VW Debacle: How Large Successful Organizations and Institutions Can Become “Bad Barrels” And What To Do About It

The outlines of Volkswagen’s comprehensive program to defeat national auto emissions laws are becoming clearer. According to the New York Times the company began installing software designed to cheat on emissions test in 2008, when they realized that their new … Continue reading

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Management by Machine: MBO as Manipulation?

Recently Adrian Wooldridge, the Schumpeter columnist for The Economist, reviewed the introduction by BetterWorks, a Silicon Valley startup, of “goal science” to the workplace. The New York Times reviewed the same company on Monday. The company “makes office software that blends … Continue reading

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The Wreck of The New Republic – How Not to Run a Turnaround

The economist Joseph Schumpeter famously argued that the central feature of capitalism was “creative destruction”. Last month the destructive aspects were on full view in the wreck of the 100-year-old magazine The New Republic (TNR). In the first week of … Continue reading

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Strategy as the Creation of Power: The Lion versus the Fox

This week my blog consists of the review I wrote for Strategy+Business of Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy – a History: Lawrence Freedman defines strategy as the central political art. “It is about getting more out of a situation than the starting … Continue reading

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A Theory and a Hammer: Managing With Incentives (Part II)

I spent the past week teaching a leadership class at the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business at the University of Regina. At the same time my HBR blog “Is Management Due For a Renaissance” has been attracting continuing comment … Continue reading

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A Theory and a Hammer: Managing with Incentives (Part I)

The wait time scandal, recently revealed in the Veterans Affairs Hospital (VAH) network in the U.S., is another indication of how difficult it can be to change large-scale, complex organizations. The VAH system has had a long roller-coaster history. It … Continue reading

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Exploring The Ecology of Leadership: the Power of Analogical Thinking

I spent the past week in California working with a senior management team from a large global corporation as part of their extensive executive development program. This was my third time with the same organization and I had worked hard … Continue reading

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Double Vision: “Boxes and Bubbles” Thirty Years On [Part II]

This is the second blog on the thirtieth anniversary of my article “Of Boxes, Bubbles and Effective Management” appearing in the May-June 1984 issue of the Harvard Business Review. I had been inspired to write the article when I read … Continue reading

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The Double Vision: “Boxes and Bubbles” Thirty Years On [Part I]

“For double the vision my Eyes do see, And a double vision is always with me:” In 1984 the first article I ever wrote on management appeared in the May-June issue of the Harvard Business Review. Entitled “Of Boxes, Bubbles … Continue reading

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The Nature of Uncertainty: Hunting Black Swans

This past week I gave the opening keynote at the 2014 Conference Board meeting on Enterprise Risk Management. It gave me an opportunity to bring an ecological perspective to risk and uncertainty as well as allowing me to promote The … Continue reading

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