The Collaborative Organization
By Jacob Morgan
McGraw-Hill, 304 pages (print version)
One of the most difficult problems for senior managers is finding ways for their staff to talk to each other. Morgan believes organisations can easily fall into silos and fiefdoms, with a loss of crucial opportunities in innovation, marketing and technology. He looks at issues such as case mapping, risk assessment and vendor selection, and uses interesting examples. He sees the new generation of collaborative technologies as the key to a strategic approach and gives a good explanation of products such as Jive and Yammer.
By Bill Lane
FT Press, 176 pages (print version)
Some executives appear to be headed for great things, until the moment their successes turn to disaster. Lane seeks to distil the core causes of executive failure as a means of showing how to avoid them. A long-time colleague of former GE CEO Jack Welch, Lane draws on his own experience and interviews with former GE executives now running their own companies. Arrogance is a key failing. Successful executives need to know when micromanagement is needed and how to maintain focus on what really matters. Lane occasionally meanders into somewhat pointless anecdotes, but there is plenty of good material here.
The Big Win
By Stephen Weiss
Wiley, 227 pages (print version)
Weiss’ 2010 book, The Billion Dollar Mistake, examined some of the biggest blunders of the investment world. The Big Win looks at the successful strategies of legendary moneymen as a means of helping smaller investors. He profiles leading investors and highlights their strategies. The lessons have a classical tone: do careful research, look at fundamental issues, don’t be swayed by fashion and salesmen and don’t put money into anything you don’t fully understand. Nothing surprising, but good words to live by.
The Strategy Book
By Max McKeown
Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 264 pages (print version)
Strategic thinking sounds easy until you have to do it. McKeown provides a useful primer, breaking the field into 60 concise sections. He writes with clarity and his examples have a real-world practicality. He does not undervalue academic learning, but believes common sense, a capacity to listen and trust in one’s instincts are the critical ingredients for good strategy. McKeown’s approach is about breadth rather than depth and some readers may want to look elsewhere for more detailed analysis.
The New Emerging Market Multinationals
By Amitava Chattopadhyay, Rajeev Batra and Aysegul Ozsomer
McGraw-Hill, 320 pages (print version)
The past decade has seen multinationals emanate from China, India, Taiwan, Turkey and other emerging markets. From smartphones to beer, these companies have established strong brands and are winning major shares of their market. The authors studied 39 of them and found four strategies driving their growth: as cost leaders, leveraging low-cost structures and large‑scale volumes; knowledge leveragers, tapping knowledge of their home markets to build brands in other regions; niche customisers, combining cost advantages in manufacturing with low-cost R&D capabilities; and global brand builders, focusing on specific products and segments. Essential reading for anyone wanting to grasp the new global environment.
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