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by Alan Hargreaves



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Entries in strategy (39)

Tuesday
Apr092019

Ode to the disrupted

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Hard yards for incumbents and startups

General Electric (GE) was dropped from the Dow Jones last year. After more than a century, the oldest member finally left. It was replaced by a drugstore chain.

Many incumbents have a similar profile to GE. They have long histories. Many are profitable, household names that remain viable. Their balance sheets are strong and their reach is deep. 

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Tuesday
Feb262019

Horses for Courses

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The Principles of Outsourcing

I once considered early retirement. We’d sold our core business. Children were approaching school’s end. My head was saying do something different. 

Horses were already part of my family. My wife was a riding instructor; one daughter was an equine nurse; another would shortly become a full-time equestrian. Yes, breeding sport horses seemed like a good idea.

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Tuesday
Feb132018

The case for agnostic management

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Do you really know that you could be wrong?

How confusing is the outlook for this year? With so many odd predictions it’s impossible to identify reliable forecasts.  

History tells us most will be wrong. Early last year Amazon announced it would start selling groceries. Some say that’s why Amazon’s share price rose about 40% by Christmas. Yet if you were asked to name a stock that would do even better and you answered old-school grocer Walmart, you’d be right. Amazon had the hype but the facts were that Walmart wasn’t in too bad a shape either.

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Tuesday
Aug222017

Spotting Opportunities

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Harnessing the value of difference

Leave aside politics for a moment and look at what diversity actually means. It’s a range of experience, abilities, knowledge, strengths and personality. It’s like a variety performance. You might not like every act but collectively it can put on a good show.

I breed horses. In our paddocks there are heavy eaters, pretty trotters and well-conformed athletes. There are feisty stallions and quality broodmares. Some of these horses like humans. Others don’t. Some will be sprinters, others stayers. A few will be flash equestrians. Others will simply be good paddock buddies. Together, they form a herd. 

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Tuesday
Apr112017

The Strategic Enema

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Unload the future before you go there 

It’s rare to see a five-year plan that does not say everything will be amazing when we get there. Most are pretty confident.

Planning brings with it a few issues. Here are a couple. 

One is in the future: there can shift. What seemed like an ideal, achievable goal when you started can be less so when you get there. You achieved your sales target but failed to improve your offering. A more evolved version of your product came to market. You maintained share but squeezed profit margin to do so. The final results were well below target.

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