What is Strategy?

My first teaching assignment at SMU (Singapore Management University) was teaching the core strategy course in the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program. This was an interesting assignment.  Despite a thirty-year teaching career, I had previously never taught a strategy course. Of course, over the years, there had been many comments by students of my…

Are Independent Directors Independent?

Thank you everyone for your support of last week’s blog “How Cyrus Mistry was Fired as Tata Chairman”. It received over a million views between my blog, social media, and websites of publications. Besides, it also appeared in the print editions of more than 30 national and regional newspapers. The separation of control from ownership…

How Cyrus Mistry was Fired as Tata Chairman

On 24 October 2016, Cyrus was in his Bombay House 4th floor office examining what seemed like a routine agenda for the Tata Sons board meeting that was scheduled to start in five minutes at 14:00 hours. Through the grapevine, Cyrus had heard that some of the board members had an unscheduled informal meeting earlier…

How Should Business Engage with Sustainability?

Given the weekend read of last week, it is not surprising that some of the largest companies in the world are now producing annual sustainability reports. As an example, the GE sustainability report states: At GE, sustainability means aligning our business strategy to meet societal needs while minimizing environmental impact and advancing social development… Business…

Is Sustainability a Business Challenge?

The Challenge to the Planet The world population is expected to grow from the 7.5 billion currently (5 billion in 1987) to 10 billion by 2050. This increase is driven by a combination of enhanced life expectancy and high birth rates. While the former has been a global phenomenon, the latter is restricted to the…

Brand Mission, Vision or Illusion?

A great brand needs direction. The brand’s mission statement, which in the case of the corporate brand is the company’s mission statement, helps articulate “why the brand exists?” Unfortunately, too many mission statements are too superficial, diffused, or bland to help answer the fundamental question of “why we exist” for its owners, management, and employees….

Does Parenting Matter?

Fifteen years ago, with the arrival of Maya, I became a father. As all parents feel, it was a transformational event. Sometimes, as new parents, we forget that becoming a parent is something that has happened billions of times before. Yes, it is a unique event, but only for us as individuals, not for humanity.

Must Power Corrupt? The Hubris Syndrome

The hubris syndrome has been defined as “a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.”[i] From a longer list, reproduced here are four symptoms that I have frequently observed in such leaders:

How Power Affects Individuals?

Power of “A” party over “B” is related to the dependence of B on A. This dependence happens because A controls some resources, such as rewards, punishments, or expertise, that can be bestowed on B, and B does not have attractive alternatives to A. My early research career was devoted to investigating power and I…

Does Experience Matter?

Over the next few weeks, I am working on finishing my book so will not be sending weekend reads and you may have already noticed their absence. Perhaps once every two weeks you may receive an older one which has been revised and improved. The executive lunch room at Bombay House led to interesting conversations….

Do Global Brands Create Value?

My co-author and friend of many years, Professor Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, mailed me a complimentary copy of his latest book, Global Brand Strategy. A month later, I finally got around to reading it this week.

Insiders and Outsiders in Organizations

A learning from my corporate experience has been the fascinating differences between “insiders” and “outsiders”. Insiders are those who have been with the organization for a long time, often their entire career has been with a single firm. Outsiders are those who have been hired to bring fresh ideas, competences, and blood into the organization.