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Posts By Rita McGrath

CVS and the decision to drop tobacco sales – savvy strategic repositioning?

CVS’s decision to stop offering tobacco products is an example of a company shifting its resources from cash-flow-generating, but declining businesses into higher growth markets.  Tobacco, although a cash cow for many retailers (and a boon to local government coffers from the taxes on the product), is a business that in the United States at least is unlikely to ever be a growth engine again. In a way, the decision... read more »

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Heading to the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos

Next week, the World Economic Forum will be having its annual meeting in snowy Davos, Switzerland.  I’m honored to be one of the subject matter experts they have invited to moderate sessions, offer challenges and advice and generally hobnob.  This year, I’m going to be moderating a CEO panel on “Organizational Learning in a Complex World.”  My panelists are amazing, including the CEO of Booz & company, the CEO of... read more »

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Talk about industries competing with industries: PC’s versus weddings

Heard an interesting story on the radio the other day.  An author (wish I wrote down his name) was being interviewed about a project he’s working on that involves understanding the financial lives of Americans.  One of the young women he studied was trying to save up to buy a new PC. But, she found that in her age group everybody was getting married, and the expenses of the weddings... read more »

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The Future of Enterprise: Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

The final panel of the “education” day at the Thinkers50 management event in London on November 11 followed on panels debating the future of management education and the future of work.  This one was called The Future of Enterprise and featured panelists Pankaj Ghemawat, Anil Gupta, Richard Rumelt and Roger Martin.  There was a fair amount of skepticism among the panelists that the traditional, stable organizations many of us have come... read more »

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The Future of Work: Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

Stuart Crainer of the Thinkers50 moderated a dream panel of people to comment on where “work” is going, including my dear friend Lynda Gratton (who just won an HR lifetime achievement award!), Amy Edmondson, Tammy Erickson and another dear friend Stew Friedman.  They didn’t all agree where work was heading, which made for a stimulating dialogue. One panelist (we’re under Chatham House rules here, so I can’t name names) observed that many... read more »

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The Future of Business Education – Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

Des Dearlove of the Thinkers50 chaired an amazing panel on November 11, 2013 entitled “The Future of Business Education”.  It was sponsored by Dean Santiago Iniguez of the IE business school, and featured as panelists Clark Callahan, the Dean of Executive Education at the Tuck School, Roger Martin of the Rotman School, Noel Tagoe, the Executive Director of Education for CIMA and myself. For the most part, the panelists were... read more »

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On the speeding up of just about everything

Over at my HBR Blog I’ve provided some evidence that yes, technology adoption and consequently many strategy decisions seem to be taking place at a more frenetic pace than ever. It goes together with the whole phenomenon of transient advantage, because it reflects a few factors that I think are new.  The first is that increasingly, you don’t need to own assets to utilize them.  When you can simply borrow or rent... read more »

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Transient Advantage: New article in HBR

In a new article featured in the June Harvard Business Review, I offer a summary of my new book.  Essentially, that strategy is stuck!  We've locked ourselves into a view of strategy that depends on sustainable competitive advantage.  In the new strategy playbook, we'll adopt practices that are suited to environments in which advantages come and go.  For instance, focusing on access to assets, not ownership of assets. And creating... read more »

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What does Tumblr bring to Yahoo?

A few folks have been asking me what I think about this acquisition.  I actually think it makes a lot of sense – relative to what Facebook spent to capture users ($30/user) or what Google spent to get viewers on  YouTube ($33/user) Yahood per-user acquisition cost is somewhere between $3.67 to $9.40 / user.  It also brings a younger demographic to Yahoo's user base, and brings largely non-overlapping content to... read more »

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Interview with Dorie Clark in Forbes

May 16, 2013Interview at Forbes with Dorie Clark (author of The Brand of You) in Forbes on-line. The basic idea behind the article is that we need a different way of thinking about strategy when competitive advantages are short-lived. read more »

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A requiem for Competitive Advantage - Forbes Interview by Dorie Clark

Last month, I was invited to give a talk at the National Association of Broadcasters on the core theme of my new book.  While there, I met the smart and savvy Dorie Clark, who did an interview with me for Forbes.  In the interview, I outline why we need a new playbook for strategy, one that recognizes the need for different practices when competitive advantages are short.  The new playbook... read more »

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The perils of being a publicly traded firm

Over at my blog on the HBR site, you'll find some commentary on how difficult it is to cope with the constant changes necessary to be adaptive in a fast-moving economy under the glare of public ownership.  Have a look! read more »

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Broadcasters on the brink? Why skyrocketing media pay should be a red flag.

On my blog at HBR, I observed that the business model for broadcasting is showing some cracks and that a new one is likely to emerge.  Interestingly, a recent New York Times article points out that the compensation for media CEO's is at sky-high levels, some $10 million more, give or take than the compensation of other executives.  So let me make a provocative observation:  We've seen this before in... read more »

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The Hourglass Economy and the Fate of J. C. Penney’s

This month, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the consequences of what some have termed the "hourglass" economy, in which there is growth at the low end of the income spectrum (a boon for dollar stores) and also at the high end (why else would anybody pay so much for a cup of coffee?).  In a blog post over at the HBR site, I argue that one of... read more »

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Book-launch related events

Would you like to be invited to any of my upcoming book tour events?  Let me know! May 20: Offiical Book launch event!  Invitation-only (I can probably wangle an invite, but let me know soon if you are interested – it will be a high profile event at the Parker Meridien featuring senior leaders from companies featured in the new book May 28: Book signing at alumni-owned WORDS bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey... read more »

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