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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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MarketDrivenGrowth: Driving Organic Growth and Innovation

Bob Cooper, Academic Director and Senior Fellow at the Kellogg School of Management reviews The End of Competitive Advantage (“fabulous book”) and discusses the five internal barriers that leads to growth stagnation here. read more »

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Inc.: Is It Easy for Your Customers to Leave You?

You’ve heard of barriers to entry, but it’s barriers to exit that determine the strength of your business model, according to Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School. What’s an exit barrier? Simply put, it’s the combination of factors preventing customers from leaving. “In general, business models that create exit barriers, for which there are switching costs -; which are not transactional and which to some extent lock customers... 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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Practical advice from Columbia Business School professor, Rita Gunther McGrath

A Canadian blogger, KJ Mullins, recently interviewed Rita McGrath during her visit to Toronto.   She cited some practical advice from Rita, especially for working mothers.   Read the blog here. read more »

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Rita McGrath presents at the Inaugural meeting Chief Strategists’ Club

“The Inaugural Dinner of the Chief Strategists Club took place on Wednesday 18th September 2013 at the Royal Society of Arts in London. Our special guest for this exclusive event was Rita Gunther McGrath, author of The End of Competitive Advantage, Professor at Colombia Business School, and one of the world’s top 50 business thinkers.” Read the full article here. read more »

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How Relevant is Long-Range Strategic Planning?

A Harvard Business School post by Jim Heskett reviews: “Now comes a new book, The End of Competitive Advantage, by Rita Gunther McGrath. Hers is a frontal attack on accepted strategic planning methods designed, in her opinion, for another time. These are methods based on the presumption that competitive advantage is sustainable. It’s a presumption that she claims “creates all the wrong reflexes” in a world in which the best... read more »

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Thinkers50 names Rita McGrath one of World’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Thinkers

Forbes Mike Myatt  …being nominated for a Thinkers50 award is largely considered akin to being nominated for an “Oscar” in management and leadership thinking….These obvious disclaimers aside, I believe the Thinkers50 to be the gold standard of credibility and accomplishment in the field of leadership and management. Strategy Award: Erik Brynjolfsson: The Schussel Family Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Laurence Capron: Author and professor of strategy at INSEAD; Richard D’Aveni: The Bakala... read more »

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Investing In An Age Of Transient Competitive Advantages: A Book Review

John Mason of SeekingAlpha.com reviewed The End of Competitive Advantage, by Rita Gunther McGrath, published by the Harvard Business Review Press in 2013. I like to think of myself as a “value investor.” That is, I believe that I invest in quality companies that are underpriced.  In terms of the quality of the organizations I like to invest in, I look for firms that have established a competitive advantage in... read more »

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Deploying the M&A Counterattack

Sometimes it pays for a company to respond to a deal in its own backyard, and sometimes it doesn’t. by Matt Palmquist Authors: Thomas Keil (University of Zurich), Tomi Laamanen (University of St. Gallen), and Rita G. McGrath (Columbia Business School) Publisher: Long Range Planning, vol. 46, no. 3 Date Published: June 2013 Few corporate moves have as much potential to shake up an industry as mergers and acquisitions. But although the post-deal... read more »

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