wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Kenneth Andrews (1916-2005)Kenneth Andrews


Harvard Business School professor (pictured right) who wrote a hugely influential corporate strategy textbook (see below)


Key book


The Concept of Corporate Strategy (1971)

Corporate strategy involves:



Setting aims for the organization’s owners (shareholders in a company), employees, customers and local community.


SWOT analysis 

kenneth andrews

Analyzing the organization’s

  • external opportunities and threats (favourable and unfavourable changes in competition and customer demand).
  • internal strengths and weaknesses.

An organization should do what it does better than competitors (“distinctive competence”).



Choosing the right strategy

The possibilities are:


1. Low growth strategies 

  •   no change.
  •   selling or cutting back existing businesses.
  •   focusing on a particular type of customer (market segment).


2. High growth strategies

  • buying competitors.
  • vertical integration (buying a supplier or retailer).
  • geographical expansion.
  • diversification (going into new businesses).


Evaluating the chosen strategy

Key questions in evaluating strategy are:


1. Is it identifiable, simple and clear?


2. Does it exploit market opportunities at home and abroad?


3. Does it use present and future distinctive competences?


4. Are its major policies consistent with one another?


5. Is it ethical, helpful to society and consistent with employees’ needs and values?


6. Does it motivate employees?


7. Does it satisfy customers’ needs?


8. Is the risk involved acceptable?


Employees make a strategy work, so it must inspire them.

Strategic management is also more of an art than a science, so it must rely on intuition as well as the strategic analysis outlined above.


Key quotes on strategy

Strategy is a human construction; it must in the long run be responsive to human needs.

Opportunism without competence is a path to fairyland.


Key quote on core competencies

The distinctive competence of an organization is more than what it can do; it is what it can do particularly well.


Key quote on objectives

Purpose, especially if considered worth accomplishing, is the most powerful incentive to accomplishment.


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