Notes on Growing Wealth in the For-profit Firm 2017

A Primer on Strategy and Finance: What Any Strategy Professional Needs to Know

In this piece, I want to provide finance principles written in a way that any strategy professional can understand. If my message rings true, please share widely. I do know something about finance. I finished all my coursework during my Ph.D. program thirty-four years ago in finance before switching to strategic management.

Operations Excellence Revisited and Observations of the Balanced Scorecard

Speed, Quality, and Cost are three key watchwords of Operations Excellence (OE). Historically a for-profit firm could enjoy best-in-class levels of two of these three watchwords, but not all three at the same time. In today’s business world, the firm needs to have all three at best-in-class levels just to survive. OE is a huge contributor to organization performance and growth the market value of the firm.

The Basics of Competitive Strategy Revisited

As I have written in this series, the field of competitive strategy seeks to understand why some firms continuously out-perform their rivals in terms of sustainable competitive advantage and superior financial performance. Why does Amazon continue to amaze nearly everyone in terms of continual superior performance and increases in its stock price? And recall Amazon almost went bankrupt early in its history. The answer lies in large part on a clear conception of competitive strategy. The clear conception also unfolds as a story that evolves and changes as the competitive landscape changes. But this is key: the unfolding story needs to be aligned and consistent with the clear conception. Stories that flip-flop with no unifying theme usually leads to bad performance over time. Proper alignment of the unfolding story to the clear conception in turn allows a keen focus on operations excellence, which keeps the organization grounded in initiatives that are doable and that allow the firm to win.

What Is the Most Important Functional Area in a Business?

Marketing, sales and human resources are just three of the usual many functional areas. Of course all of the functional areas are important all of the time. And in some time periods one or two of the functional areas become more important to solve a problem, crisis or seize an opportunity. What do you feel is the most important functional area in your business or in any for-profit firm?