McKinsey Quarterly on “portfolio-of-initiatives approach to strategy”

Though this article by Lowell L. Bryan is already a bit older, you can quickly see why McKinsey has filed it in the category of “enduring ideas.”

“Just-in-time strategy for a turbulent world”

“Competitive advantage comes in the form of the progress a company makes while its competitors, paralyzed by confusion, complexity, and uncertainty, sit on the sidelines. The key is to be ready to act as soon as it becomes possible to estimate, in a reasonable way, the risks and rewards of an investment. The advantage lies not with the first mover but with the first mover that can scale up activities once the way forward has become clear and it is possible to see returns from larger bets.” (Quote from the article, p. 24)
“The process requires the CEO and the management team to keep an open mind about where the company might be headed. Inherent in this approach is the understanding that future decisions and future outcomes are likely to vary enormously from initial hypotheses. The whole process resembles art more than science. Most of the critical decisions involve subjective judgments that, unlike those generated by more deterministic strategies, will be informed by not just the highest-quality staff work but also the knowledge gained as time passes.” (Quote from article, p. 25)

By Lowell L. Bryan, June 2002
(http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Just-in-time_strategy_for_a_turbulent_world_1195)

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