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How to Stress-Test Your Strategy

Robert Simons, the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, explains why management teams must ask themselves tough strategy questions. During this interview, Robert covers:

  • obstacles business leaders face when executing their business strategy
  • why companies need to focus on one primary customer
  • the importance in choosing which among shareholders, customers, or employees are most important to the company’s success
  • how executives should decide which few metrics to focus on
  • key approaches to effectively making tough priority selection decisions

Robert Simons on the StrategyDriven Podcast

Last month, we were privileged to talk with Robert about his new book, Seven Strategy Questions, on the StrategyDriven Podcast. Listen as we explore the seven strategy questions that can help an organization’s leaders identify gaps within their strategy and its execution.

Capabilities Driven Mergers & Acquisitions – Integrating Capabilities, part 4 of 5

What role do capabilities play in successful mergers?

Too big to fail has proven to be a flawed notion. In Integrating Capabilities, Booz & Company partners Gerald Adolph and Paul Leinwand continue their discussion on the role of capabilities in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and explain why pursuing a capabilities-driven M&A strategy produces more successful companies that enjoy a right to win.

Integrating Capabilities is the fourth of a series of five interviews focusing on capabilities-driven mergers and acquisitions. Other editions include:


About the Authors

Gerald Adolph is a New York-based Senior Partner with Booz & Company with a specialty in strategy and operations for technology-driven businesses. His work primarily focuses on assisting clients with growth strategy, new business development, and industry restructuring. He has led numerous assignments in corporate and portfolio strategy as well as business unit strategy. In addition, he deals with value chain and industry restructuring driven by technology changes, and how companies respond to these disruptions and opportunities. Gerald is the co-author of Merge Ahead: Mastering the Five Enduring Trends of Artful M&A with Justin Pettit. To read Gerald’s complete biography, click here.

Paul Leinwand is a Booz & Company partner based in Chicago. He works in the consumer, media, and digital practice and focuses on capabilities-driven strategy for consumer products companies. Paul is the co-author of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy. To read Paul’s complete biography, click here.

Capabilities Driven Mergers & Acquisitions – Capabilities Roadmapping, part 3 of 5

What role do capabilities play in successful mergers?

Too big to fail has proven to be a flawed notion. In Capabilities Roadmapping, Booz & Company partners Gerald Adolph and Paul Leinwand continue their discussion on the role of capabilities in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and explain why pursuing a capabilities-driven M&A strategy produces more successful companies that enjoy a right to win.

Capabilities Roadmapping is the third of a series of five interviews focusing on capabilities-driven mergers and acquisitions. Other editions include:


About the Authors

Gerald Adolph is a New York-based Senior Partner with Booz & Company with a specialty in strategy and operations for technology-driven businesses. His work primarily focuses on assisting clients with growth strategy, new business development, and industry restructuring. He has led numerous assignments in corporate and portfolio strategy as well as business unit strategy. In addition, he deals with value chain and industry restructuring driven by technology changes, and how companies respond to these disruptions and opportunities. Gerald is the co-author of Merge Ahead: Mastering the Five Enduring Trends of Artful M&A with Justin Pettit. To read Gerald’s complete biography, click here.

Paul Leinwand is a Booz & Company partner based in Chicago. He works in the consumer, media, and digital practice and focuses on capabilities-driven strategy for consumer products companies. Paul is the co-author of The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy. To read Paul’s complete biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 57 – An Interview with Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 57 – An Interview with Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions explores the seven strategy questions that can help an organization’s leaders identify gaps within their strategy and its execution. By asking and effectively answering these questions, executives and managers gain the insight necessary to better align their organization’s day-to-day operations to the optimal achievement of mission goals; thereby enhancing overall bottom line results. During our discussion, Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution, shares with us his insights regarding:

  • the benefits of routinely asking the right strategy questions
  • the key Seven Strategy Questions and what makes them so important
  • how leaders can formally incorporate the Seven Strategy Questions into their business processes
  • actions executives should take to develop rising managers so that they instinctively ask the Seven Strategy Questions as a part of their internal thought process and the way they interact with their staffs

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Robert shares in Seven Strategy Questions and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from his Harvard Business School Working Knowledge website.   Robert’s book, Seven Strategy Questions, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

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Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Podcast!


About the Author

Robert Simons, author of Seven Strategy Questions, is the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. For twenty-five years, he has taught accounting, management control, and strategy implementation courses in the Harvard MBA and Executive Education programs. Robert’s research has been published in the Harvard Business Review and the Strategic Management Journal, among others. To read Robert’s complete biography, click here.

Corporate Cultures – Culture Trumps Strategy

Culture is hard to quantify but its impact on business operations is unmistakable. Even the well-conceived strategy cannot withstand the onslaught of a counter focused culture. In order for a strategy to be implementable, it must be formulated to work within the confines of the corporate culture. Alternatively, the corporate culture must be changed before the strategy is implemented… typically a years long process.


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