9 key takeaways from Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass
Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides took place yesterday, March 23, 2021.
Read on to discover 9 key takeaways.
Yia sou*, world-changer!
I felt it was appropriate for me to welcome you in Greek, the world’s oldest recorded living language and the native language of Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at London Business School.
Prof Costas Markides delivered yesterday the Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass, a BRAND MINDS live online event.
Over the span of nine hours (breaks and Q&A sessions included) Prof Markides delivered a host of amazing insights, latest information and great storytelling.
He spoke with passion about strategy in a volatile world, how to become agile, how to mobilize your organization for strategy execution and how to overcome the latest challenges that new leadership is facing today.
Prof Markides’ high energy and to-the-point teaching style made it easy for everyone attending the masterclass to understand and assimilate the business strategy concepts he was talking about throughout the event.
What was the participants’ feedback?
The masterclass registered a high level of participant engagement. The chat was on fire with attendees asking questions, answering polls and writing comments on the topic at hand.
- 90.3% of participants evaluated Costas Markides’ performance to be amazing;
- 92.9% of participants said the overall experience has exceeded their expectations.
One participant said she felt “full of energy after masterclass:)” and decided she had new things to change in her work with a commitment to “make my team feel special”.
Another participant said attending the masterclass “confirmed some answers”.
Remember when you were a student, taking lots of notes in class? I guess one participant remembered because she told us: “I have filled in 2 A4 pages with notes and many takeaways”.
Another attendee shared with us a smarter way of taking notes: “I have selected 36 keywords that I think will help me structure the strategy of the division I lead”.
We are thrilled when participants tell us “All was above my expectations! Congratulations!”
But one particular type of feedback brings us the feeling of accomplishment: when attendees tell us they had “a great learning experience” and they “will brainstorm afterwards to implement what they have learned”.
Everyone stayed until the end wishing Costas could share one more insight, one more business concept, one more how-to.
As they say, you had to be there. But if you weren’t, you can watch four short cuts from the event with Prof Costas, that I have inserted below.
Without further ado, let’s delve into 9 key takeaways from Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides or as the Greeks say, Pame**!
9 key takeaways from Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides
1.The biggest mistake in a volatile world: believing that you don’t need a strategy.
The pandemic has disrupted the world and brought in a lot of uncertainty. This means companies are facing new challenges, but it doesn’t mean you should use uncertainty as an excuse to do nothing.
Use the information available to make choices.
These choices are your strategy.
Remain flexible and adjust your strategy as needed.
2. Strategy is choices: what to do and what not to do.
Strategy is about making difficult choices.
It’s about choosing who to target and who not to target; what to offer and what not to offer; use one tactic to achieve your goal over another.
What does Prof Costas say?
Stay clear of meaningless statements; they are not strategies. Also strategy should be written down in half a page and answer three questions: WHO-WHAT-HOW.
3. Why do companies fail to make choices? Fear of being wrong.
Companies fail to make choices because they want to avoid any risk that their choice might turn out to be wrong.
So they don’t make any choices at all. Don’t make the same mistake with your company!
Yes, making difficult choices requires a lot of courage. It takes strong leadership to make clear choices in the face of uncertainty and contradictory advice.
4. There are 3 ways of making a decision: analysis, experimentation and intuition.
Which should you use? Well, it depends on the situation.
If it’s about selling to a new type of customer, you could base your decision on a combination of intuition and analysis.
If you want to change your business model, you could experiment first. Ideally it’s a combination of the three, argues Prof Costas.
5. Agility is a by-product of behaviors.
Agility is not something you can ask people to do, said Prof Costas. It is the result of behaviors: questioning, experimenting, talking to your customers etc.
6. To become an agile company, create the right environment around your people.
What looks like a people problem is often an environment problem.
How can you make your organization more agile?
Create the right environment around your people.
Help your employees become more agile by giving them the autonomy to monitor the changes in the outside environment and take action. Find the little tweaks that fit your management style and local culture and introduce them.
7. You won’t win people’s hearts and inspire a change in their behavior through a PowerPoint presentation. Then, how?
The vast majority of employees are not committed to the strategy.
Help them visualize the reason why they should change.
Show your employees how your company’s products or services are changing the lives of your customers.
Reinforce the message through storytelling which is more likely to evoke emotion than a presentation.
There are four tactics to mobilize your organization: visualization, stories, actions that support the message, symbolism.
8. Disruption is a threat and an opportunity at the same time.
A Harvard study reported that the companies that approached disruption as a threat, failed.
The companies that looked at disruption as an opportunity also failed.
The successful companies are the ones that looked at disruption both as a threat and as an opportunity.
9. It is no longer enough to be a good employer, you need to make your people feel special for working for you.
How can you make your employees feel special?
There are 5 ways:
1) by providing them with a special purpose,
2) by surrounding them with special people through super selective recruitment and using unusual criteria (ie: passion),
3) by building a special working environment for them,
4) by selling special products, and
5) by treating people in special ways.
It’s difficult to translate nine hours of insights, statistics, case studies and other examples into ten takeaways.
On this note, allow me to conclude the present article with the following quote from Costas Markides:
Efharisto***, Prof. Costas Markides!
Yia sou* = Hello!
Pame** = Let’s go!
Efharisto*** = Thank you
Last days to join Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides
Next week on March 23, 2021, founders and entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors, business developers and sales executives will participate in Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with acclaimed Prof Costas Markides.
If you’re looking to turn your business from disrupted to disruptor and find innovative ways to thrive, then this masterclass is for you.
These are the last days you can get your tickets.
The masterclass is held online through live streaming. It starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm with a Q&A session which is a great opportunity to get answers to your questions. An outside perspective over your particular situation is invaluable. It could light a new pathway that you couldn’t have seen otherwise.
Here is the agenda of Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass:
Session 1: STRATEGY IN A VOLATILE WORLD
Success doesn’t come by chance or fall in your lap. It’s the result of a well-thought strategy and an excellent implementation plan.
You know how they say about overnight success?
This overnight success has taken ten years of hard work and perseverance.
That’s why you need a strategy for your business. And given the volatile nature of the world we are living in, even more so today.
Every successful business has a successful strategy. Remember: strategy before tactics.
Amazon’s main strategy is to focus on their customers. But the global leader of the ecommerce market doesn’t just listen to its customers.
Year after year, since 1997, Amazon sets out to delight its customers.
And that’s the drive pushing every improvement and product or service that the company has ever made: its search recommendation engine, AWS, one-click purchase, Alexa and so on.
Join the masterclass to upgrade and improve your business strategy!
Session 2: STRATEGIC AGILITY IN TODAY’S WORLD
There has never been a better time to go agile in business. Times are changing quickly and the business environment must adapt and keep up.
In 2014, consulting company McKinsey & Co introduced two new dimensions to their organisational surveys: speed and flexibility.
They described the companies that combined both as agile.
Companies that are agile can adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities. They mobilize quickly and show a strong relationship between organizational health and the creation of value. They move to market faster than traditional companies and have lower costs.
Join the masterclass to discover ways to create strategic agility for your business!
Session 3: MOBILIZING THE WHOLE ORGANISATION FOR STRATEGY EXECUTION
Whether you lead a business of thousands of employees or a small team of five, you need to be aware that for the strategy to work, everyone must be on board.
Every employee, from front desk to product development to supplier quality has to understand the strategy, contribute to its implementation and be on the same page with everyone else.
Learn from strategy expert Costas Markides how to mobilize your organisation for strategy execution.
Session 4: NEW CHALLENGES FOR LEADERS
One of the abilities that successful leaders need to develop or acquire is the ability to see around the corner.
What does that mean?
It means to have one foot in the future.
It implies to be able to spot trends before they go mainstream and take steps to leverage them to the benefit of your business.
It’s called strategic foresight. Strategic foresight allows companies to prepare for the future.
What challenges do leaders have to face in the near future?
Is it employee high turnover due to low engagement levels in the context of the work-from-home situation?
Everything going digital and online?
Changes in customer behaviour?
Attend the Business Strategy for Top Executives to find out!
Join the Conversation
We’d love to hear what you have to say.
Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO. What is his legacy?
In a letter published yesterday, Jeff Bezos announced he is stepping down as Amazon CEO later this year. Andy Jassy, Amazon’s head of cloud computing will be taking the helm.
Jeff Bezos founded the eCommerce retailer 27 years ago in a garage when it “was only an idea” and people were asking him “What’s the internet?”.
Leveraging the power of the internet and thanks to his vision on what makes a successful company, today Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer of consumer products and a leader in the cloud computing segment.
With a market value of 1.6 trillion dollars, Amazon is in the Top 5 big tech US companies and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down.
“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else”, he writes. In his new role as Executive Chair of the Amazon Board, Jeff Bezos will still watch closely over the company but will dedicate his time and energy to other Amazon initiatives such as the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post “and my other passions”.
As Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO of the world’s largest eCommerce retailer, let’s take a look at what he leaves behind, his legacy.
Jeff’s business strategy is his legacy.
Here are eight essential factors of Jeff’s successful business strategy for Amazon:
1. Move quickly to solidify and extend your current position
In 1997, with big tech companies like Microsoft and AOL expressing interest in online commerce, Bezos saw a window of opportunity.
“Our goal is to move quickly to solidify and extend our current position while we begin to pursue online commerce opportunities in other areas. We see substantial opportunity in the large markets we are targeting”, he writes in his 1997 shareholder letter. I remind you that, at the time, Amazon was still selling books.
2. Set out to delight your customers
Jeff believes complaining customers are a company’s most valuable resource for growth. They reveal blind spots that employees or managers could not otherwise identify giving the business the opportunity to improve and develop.
Amazon’s focus on customer obsession is one of its underlining factors for success.
3. Make bold investment decisions
At the heart of Amazon’s investments is the customer.
Every investment that Amazon makes is to further improve customer satisfaction and experience by developing systems, infrastructure and service.
4. Become aware of proxies
In his 2016 shareholder letter, Jeff talks about the danger of allowing proxies to gain power within the company.
Proxy is something or someone who acts as a substitute. This is when the process has become more important than the result and replaced it. It’s the process as a substitute for the outcome.
When someone in the company starts saying This is how we’ve always done it, it’s time for a change.
5. Your employees must think like an owner
Jeff acknowledged early on that hiring the right people was paramount if Amazon was to be successful and achieve its objectives. “Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”
The retailer behemoth compensates its employees in Amazon stock than cash because becoming stockholders changes their mindset.
6. Embrace external trends
Businesses that adapt to the latest technological trends and customer behaviour changes evolve and survive. Businesses that resist change, don’t survive.
His advice to every company founder is to acknowledge powerful external trends like AI and machine learning and embrace them quickly.
7. Make high-quality decisions fast
Large organizations like Amazon have many things going for them with one downside: they are slow at making decisions.
Jeff didn’t allow this to happen to Amazon.
He created a system of making high-quality decisions fast which relies entirely on the Day 1 mindset. Day 1 companies are startups, nimble and agile, bursting with vitality. Day 2 companies are already heading for the end. Amazon is a Day 1 company.
8. Implement high standards
Amazon’s obsession with customer satisfaction has led to a number of outstanding product innovations (Alexa, AWS) and excellent customer experience (Amazon Go, 1-click purchases).
What does it take to achieve such results? Implementing high standards in the company.
At the core of Amazon’s supremacy is innovation. So it’s no surprise that Jeff Bezos ends his letter to the employees with an encouragement to continue down the path of innovation.
Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.
Join the Conversation
We’d love to hear what you have to say.
Get your company back in growth model with Business Strategy for Top Executives
Are you looking to get your company back in growth model?
Then BRAND MINDS’ Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass is for you.
Get access now, the price goes up on February 1st!
The BRAND MINDS Business Strategy for Top Executives is a full-day premium learning experience
The Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass is hosted online on March the 23rd and provides participants with the opportunity to learn the principles of innovative companies.
The masterclass is a full-day premium learning experience delivered by Costas Markides, one of the world’s most renowned experts on strategy & innovation.
As the Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at London Business School for the past thirty years, his expertise is focused on strategic and business model innovation.
By attending this masterclass, participants will
- Explore NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES;
- NETWORK with top executives;
- Develop a CREATIVE BUSINESS STRATEGY;
- Learn to FORESEE BUSINESS TRENDS;
- Generate EFFICIENT BUSINESS MODELS;
- Explore how DISRUPTION CAN DEVELOP their industries;
- Learn to ADAPT in a volatile business ecosystem.
Business Strategy and Innovation are the answer for Successful Top Executives
The pandemic is the most disruptive event in modern history taking an unprecedented toll on the business environment.
It has presented top executives in every industry with new challenges ranging from team management to customer behavior changes, business operations to company culture.
When disruption occurs to such an extent, business executives need to take action.
How can businesses protect themselves against disruption?
By designing a new business strategy and a company culture that encourages innovation.
Why is business strategy important?
Because strategy drives decisions in business. The strategy provides the organization with the most effective path and direction to achieve its goals.
Why is innovation essential for business?
Because innovation helps businesses grow. Organizations that are continually innovating are more likely to achieve competitive advantage.
Set your business for success and attend BRAND MINDS’ Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass!
Join the Conversation
We’d love to hear what you have to say.
March 2021: Business Strategy Masterclass for Top Executives with Prof. Costas Markides
We have exciting news!
BRAND MINDS is launching Business Strategy Masterclass for Top Executives with London Business School professor Costas Markides.
The masterclass is scheduled for March 23rd, 2021 and will take place online. It starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm with a Q&A session which is a great opportunity to get answers to your questions.
Check the agenda to find what you will learn at this masterclass:
Session 1: Strategy in a volatile world
Session 2: Strategic agility in today’s world
Session 3: Mobilizing the whole organisation for strategy execution
Session 4: New challenges for leaders
6 benefits of attending Business Strategy Masterclass for Top Executives
BUILD CUSTOM BUSINESS MODELS
Learn to develop custom business models and drive success through innovation.
WORLD-CLASS EXECUTIVE EDUCATION
Acquire a premium learning experience from the former Executive Education Director of London Business School.
EXPAND YOUR COMPANY
Drive growth by exploring new business opportunities through networking with other Top Executive participants.
BECOME THE ARCHITECT OF YOUR BUSINESS
Acquire the necessary business tools to plan your company’s future efficiently.
LEARN BUSINESS INNOVATION PRINCIPLES
Upgrade your knowledge on innovation and disruption to drive business success.
IMPROVE YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
In today’s fast-paced environment, making good decisions fast is an invaluable skill.
Are you a CEO, investor, business owner, sales expert, marketing manager, HR director or strategy specialist?
Then this masterclass is for you!
Prof Costas Markides – One of the world’s foremost experts on strategy & innovation
A business author and strategic thinker, Costas Markides has been a professor at London Business School for the past 30 years teaching Strategy & Entrepreneurship.
As the holder of the Robert P. Bauman Chair of Strategic Leadership at London Business School, Costas Markides’ role is to create innovative educational approaches that shape the next generation of strategic leaders.
He received his MBA and DBA from Harvard Business School and served as the Faculty Director of Executive Education at London Business School until 2016.
His expertise includes strategic innovation, business model innovation, diversification and international acquisitions.
A skilful professor, he won 5 awards recognizing his excellence in teaching and innovation in learning over the past ten years.
He is the bestselling author of Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets and Game-Changing Strategies: How to Create New Market Space in Established Industries by Breaking the Rules.
Fast Second illustrates how to determine which new markets have the potential to be successful and how to move into them before the competition does, when to make a move into a new market, how to scale up a market, where to position a company in the market, and whether to be a colonizer or a consolidator.
Game-Changing Strategies presents practical ideas on how established firms could not only discover new radical business models but also grow them next to their existing business models.
His forthcoming book is entitled Architects of Change and is set to launch in April 2021. The new book explores how individuals could design innovative solutions to social problems in ways that make them easily scalable.
Costas is currently serving on several editorial boards of strategic management journals among which is Sloan Management Review, the research-based magazine published at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Have a long term strategy, especially in a fast-changing world; listen to the customer, but don’t always do what they say; don’t feel threatened by disruptive innovation; promote innovation in the face of core resistance; and, finally, do your best to bridge the know-do gap.
Do you want to get your company ready for an amazing 2021?
Access now BRAND MINDS Business Strategy Masterclass for Top Executives with prof Costas Markides!
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We’d love to hear what you have to say.