Neither health nor strategy is a final destination. Each is a journey. As individuals and as companies, we must consistently strive to maintain our current achievements and set stretch goals for our future. To help you beef up your strategy muscles, we’ve compiled five videos from leading business school professors. Check them out on your lunch break or even while you’re getting your reps in at the gym!
You can power through these five videos in less than an hour, but expect the insights to stick with you. There’s something for everyone, even if you’re new to strategy. For seasoned pros, you’ll find new research that challenges long-held strategic mantras. Get ready to expand your thinking around this complex topic.
The Warm Up: 8 minutes
If you’re new to strategy or need a quick refresh, start with this whiteboard-style video from David Kryscynski of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School. You’ll learn what business strategy is and what it isn’t, as well as its connection to the military battlefield. Review the four key questions that a good strategy answers, and apply the concepts to your business.
Pump That Iron: 13 minutes
In 1979, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter published his groundbreaking article, “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy.” The Five Forces framework has remained legendary in the field and is a critical tool for understanding your competitive environment based on five key components: suppliers, buyers, rivals, substitutions and the threat of new entrants. Exercising this tool will help you anticipate potential changes in the balances of power and how you might alter them for your advantage.
Cardio Interval Training: 14 minutes
Work those strategy muscles for endurance, not just strength, with the Three Box Solution, developed by Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Harvard Business School. His approach will help you pinpoint strategic goals and allocate resources around three key areas: competing in the present, selectively abandoning the past and creating the future.
Stretch & Cool Down: 10 minutes
Reduce muscle fatigue with this cool-down video from Knut Haanaes of the IMD Business School in Switzerland (and formerly the head of Boston Consulting Group’s Strategy Practice). He highlights two themes, exploitation and exploration. Focusing on one or the other often dooms businesses to failure, so striking the right balance is key.
Finally, Drink Your Protein Shake: 5 minutes
To round out your workout, learn from Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath about a modern perspective on strategy. According to her book, The End of Competitive Advantage, gone are the days when companies could rely on sustainable competitive advantages for long, stable periods of time. Because of globalization and advances in technology, companies must now learn to capitalize on opportunities faster than ever before, then quickly move on to the next big idea.
Whew, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve completed today’s strategy video circuit. Just like the physical workouts that contribute to your health, remember that strategy is an ongoing journey. It’s up to you to continue developing your strategic thinking muscles. The more you flex those muscles, the better equipped you’ll be to evaluate the state of your business and forge a successful path to the future. What will your next strategy exercises be? Whatever you decide, make them count!