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McKinsey Seeks to Have It’s Cake and Eat Yours at the Same Time?

by Andrew White  |  February 9, 2017  |  Comments Off on McKinsey Seeks to Have It’s Cake and Eat Yours at the Same Time?

I really enjoyed reading a recent article on “strategy” from McKinsey Global Institute.  The article was, “Discussion on digital: How strategy is evolving- and staying the same – in hypergrowth digital age“.  I read the article and surmised that most of what I read was common knowledge, at least around these parts, and pretty consistent with many conversations we have with clients in the area of data and analytics strategy.  Here is my summary of the article, in my words:

  • 3 year strategy is OK but such a strategy is not the same old strategy that you used to know
  • Strategy needs to live and breathe and not be an annual offsite – some call this “execution is the new strategy” though “think big, act small” works just as fine
  • Strategy is not only kept in the board room – it needs to connect and thus be visible and understood at operational and tactical levels of the business (e.g. all) in different ways and levels of granularity
  • Two speed is “in” (bimodal)
  • Growth and innovation is key – not “cutting costs to win” (since you can’t)
  • Balance (and I read, “choices” here) is more valuable than any one decision (chances for the silver bullet is low)

What I found odd however was the article the following week.  It was called, “Where companies with a long long-term view outperform their peers“.  This article implies that there are cases where a short-term, if you will “Wall-Street” focus (as in EPS), might yield less effective results than for some firms that take a longer-term view.  This seems to fly in the face of the previous weeks’ advice.  A long-term view might sound like the opposite of the view, “execution is the new strategy”.

However if you read the details and add a few items between the lines, you spot the hype.  Firms with a longer-term view are those that invest more and in more longer value-yielding capital projects.  As such, the pay-off (or return) tends to be longer-term.  So in some ways this is self-selecting.  It is like saying that the most productive firms tend to be those that are “frontier firms” – strongest or fastest growing firms.  They should be – since they are the best at productivity growth!

Anyway, both articles are a good read.

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Category: growth  innovation  mckinsey-global-institute  strategy  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio




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