VZM Management Services

Article Archive

Stragegy, Business Development, finance and performance management

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In time links may turn into a dead end. If you have problems locating any of the articles below please contact us so we can help. 


Strategy-Making in Turbulent Times describes what it takes to produce great results during uncertainty and propose a practical model for strategy development that the authors have seen work at several leading companies.
(Harvard Business Review September-October 2022)


Open Up Your Strategy explains why leaders collaborating on strategy with people outside the executive team formulate more realistic strategies. And they implement their strategies faster and more effectively. It’s a fundamentally new mindset premised on transparency, collaboration, and diversity that requires nurturing over the long term.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring, 2022)


Three Ways to Sell Value in B2B Markets highlights the key characteristics, requirements, and challenges of three different approaches of value-based selling: product-centric, customer process-centric or performance-centric. 
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2021)


Why Good Arguments Make Better Strategy explains why formal processes, constructive debate, and logical rigor the key ingredients are to crafting consistently great strategies. It describes how a strategy map enable iterative visualization, facilitating constructive debates.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2021)


The Rules of Co-opetition provides a practical framework for thinking through the decision to cooperate with rivals. It helps to determine the risks and rewards, and how to structure an agreement. It also emphasizes the importance to manage resistance within the company.
(Harvard Business Review, January-February 2021)


What Managers Get Wrong About Capital explains why companies should assess the performance of its investment based on market value instead of on a traditional EVA (economic value added) basis. It prevents selling off business units based on the wrong expectations. A bit of a technical article, but still interesting to better understand why private equity firms do so well.
(Harvard Business Review, May-June 2020)

Put Purpose at the Core of Your Strategy
explains how to develop and implement a purpose at your organization. It describes the benefits you are quite likely from it: a more unified organization, more-motivated stakeholders, broader impact, and more profitable growth.
(Harvard Business Review, September-October 2019)


The One Thing You Need to Know About Managing Functions describes the problems of the unconscious strategies of functions and outlines a strategy-making framework to help functions strengthen the capabilities that set their company apart.
(Harvard Business Review, July-August 2019)


Ready for a Recession? emphasizes the importance of preparing for a possible recession and to be aware that many of the younger managers have not experienced a recession in such a position. But even the experienced need to avoid a false sense of confidence.
(CFO Magazine, February/March 2019)


How GE Went From American Icon to Astonishing Mess describes how this model for managing a company became an underperformer – except for the aircraft engine division. We can all learn lessons from this declining business empire.
(Bloomberg Businessweek, February 1, 2018)


Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy discusses how Augmented Reality (AR) will have a wide impact on how companies compete. The authors Porter and Heppelmann walk readers through AR’s key capabilities and how it creates value, while inspiring them to think about how it will change their future business and strategy. 
(Harvard Business Review, November-December 2017)


Linear Thinking in a Nonlinear World shows in a simple and effective way the dangers of linear thinking of the human brain, as nonlinear phenomena are all around in business. By mapping out the relationship in data visualizations helps to make this clear, and helps making choices that maximize the desired outcome.
(Harvard Business Review, May-June 2017)


Visualizations That Really Work describes how to make visual communication of data more successful. By answering just two questions you can set yourself up to succeed: Is the information conceptual or data-driven? and Am I declaring something or exploring something? It leads readers through a simple process of identifying which of the four types of visualization they might use to achieve their goals most effectively: idea illustration, idea generation, visual discovery, or everyday dataviz.
(Harvard Business Review, June 2016)<


Welcome to the exponential age! provides a list of examples how ICT is rapidly disrupting the traditional industries and creating new business opportunities. It is not a formal article, but written on a Facebook page and circulating wildly on the internet – by itself maybe also a good an example of a changing world.
(Facebook – Udo Gollub, Founder and CEO, sprachenlernen24, April 22, 2016)


Starting from Scratch discusses whether zero-based budgeting is appropriate approach for companies.
(CFO Magazine, November 2015)


Airbnb is Inc.’s 2014 Company of the Year tells the inspiring story of successful disruptive innovation – the home-sharing via internet changing the hotel business.
(Inc. Magazine, December 2014/January 2015)


Finding the Right Corporate Legal Strategy describes five legal strategies companies can adopt and how they can use their legal environment to secure a competitive advantage. It can help better understand the legal instruments OEMs use to secure a larger part of the aftermarket of the next generation aircraft.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2014) – free access


Capture More Value details 15 value-capture innovations to maximize the benefits from their products and services. This practical framework can help devise new ways to boost the company profits.
(Harvard Business Review, October 2014) – access fee


The Big Lie of Strategic Planning discusses the need to avoid three common traps when developing yoyr strategy: strategic planning, cost based thinking and Self-referential strategy frameworks.
(Harvard Business Review, January-February 2014) – access fee


Why Customer Participation Matters talks about the importance of customer participation being a more important vehicle for generating repeat business. It provides six guidelines for companies thinking of implementing participation programs.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2013/14) – free access


Three Rules for Making a Company Truly Great discusses the results of a statistical study of 25,000 companies from 1966-2010. The authors realized that the choices the exceptionally performing companies had made were consistent with three seemingly elementary rules: (1) Better before cheaper—in other words, compete on differentiators other than price; (2) revenue before cost—that is, prioritize increasing revenue over reducing costs; and (3) there are no other rules—so change anything you must to follow rules 1 and 2.
(Harvard Business Review, April 2013) – access fee


Making Mergers Work emphasizes the importance to address the psychological factors and  identity when seeking synergies from mergers and acquisitions. It describes four paths to identify integration and provides recommendations for successful identity integration, a long-term process which requires the same careful planning and execution that tend to accompany the economic aspects.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2012) – access fee


Whose Company is it? describes the debate over shareholder value and the purpose of the public corporation. In a controversial new book Lynn Stout, professor of corporate and business law, condemns management’s focus on shareholder value as misguided at best and dangerous at worst.
(CFO Magazine, November 2012) – free access


The Power of Collective Ambition discusses how some companies come through hard times stronger than ever. Instead of focusing on one goal, employees shape a collective ambition: a shared sense of purpose, how the company will fulfill it and track progress, and how leaders and others will behave every day as they achieve and sustain excellence. A design of concentric circles – called compass – is used to represent the collective ambition and each of these elements.
(Harvard Business Review, December 2011) – access fee


How to Build Risk into Your Business Model discusses the advantages of looking differently at risks – not only as something to avoid, but also to assume yourself to create value by being better in it than your competitors. A typical example of such a business model is the Rolls-Royce “Power by the hour” offering for aircraft engines.
(Harvard Business Review, May 2011) – access fee


Let it roll discusses why an increasing number of companies are abandoning budgets in favor of rolling forecasts. This provides them with a much more effective tool to react quickly in these increasingly volatile times.
(CFO Magazine, May 2011) – free access


How to Provide Great B2B Customer Service is an interview with retired CEO and owner Ed Zimmer about the success in growing the Ecco business of backup alarms and lights for trucks by focusing heavily on customer services.
(Inc. Magazine, March 2011) – free access


The Big Idea: The New M&A Playbook explains how companies can dramatically increase their odds of success, if they understand how to select targets, how much to pay for them, and whether and how to integrate them.
(Harvard Business Review, March 2011) – access fee


A Changed Global Reality discusses the shifting world economic reality in which the emerging markets play a more important role.
(Time Magazine, January 31, 2011) – free access


CEO’s Role in Business Model Reinvention maps out a “three boxes” framework to help corporations. A forward-looking CEO must manage the present, selectively forget the past and create the future.
(Harvard Business Review, January-February 2011) – access fee


Stress-Test Your Strategy: The 7 Questions to Ask helps you to identify the weakest parts in your strategy. By asking these tough questions about your business, you can identify confusion, inefficiency, and weaknesses in your strategy and its implementation. Not all questions are new, but good guideline to help you assess your strategy.
(Harvard Business Review, November 2010) – access fee


What to Do Against Disruptive Business Models is about rolling out a second business model to fight against a disruptive business model and avoiding the trap of getting stuck in the middle. It discusses five questions to be answered before deciding to set up separate unit.
(MIT Sloane Management Review, Summer 2010) – free access


Why forecasts fail. What to do instead discusses how managers can use forecasting tools to plan effectively and build better strategies. It emphasizes the difficulty for most areas of businesses to accurately forecast and recommends to be prepared for different contingencies.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2010) – free access


Value-for-Money Strategies for Recessionary Times discusses that companies in the deepening recession should search new opportunities by providing cost-conscious buyers with more value for less money. Western enterprises can learn lessons here from their emerging-market competitors.
(Harvard Business Review, March 2009) – free access


Confidence, tricked provides an overview by Business school professor Simon Johnson of what caused the financial crisis. This article is an excerpt of the author’s testimony end October 2008 before the US Congress. he is one of the founders of the Web site The Baseline Scenario which offers expert analysis of the global financial crisis in nontechnical language. Here you find the highly recommended more detailed analysis of the present economic recession in the document called Baseline Scenario.
(MITSloan The Management Review, January 9, 2009) – free access


6 Steps to (Re)Building a Top Management Team provides a set of guidelines and recommendations that can help the top management team to come together quickly and increase the likelihood of a new enterprise after a M&A.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2008) – access fee


In the New World Disorder, Loads of Rivals for America co-author of the recent published book Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything discusses that the future of globalization in which the business environment is not only borderless, but also ruleless.
(Time Magazine, October 27, 2008) – free access


The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy Michael Porter reaffirms his model to analyze and understand the industry structure. Maybe it does not contain much news for those who read his earlier work, but it is still interesting to reacquaint yourself with it. And for those who haven’t read it this is a compulsory stuff.
(Harvard Business Review, January 2008) – access fee


The 7 deadly sins of performance measurement provides an inspiring comprehensive view at the problems with operational metrics. It helps to identify misguiding measurements and provides remedies to correct them. Like the authors (Michael Hammer a.o.) indicate, the sins are often not just measurement problems, but symptoms of deeper problems.
(MIT Sloan Management Review, spring 2007)


Strategies to Fight Low-Cost Rivals discusses options incumbents can use to react to upcoming low-cost competitors in their markets. The worse they can do is neglect these rivals. Although several other strategy experts have described strategies companies can use to fight low cost competitors, this is still a very interesting article about the subject.
(Harvard Business Review, December 2006)


Secrets of the M&A Masters provides seven practical dealmaker guidelines, based on successes from six frequent acquirers. Even though the statistics say by far the majority of mergers and acquisitions fail, there are companies who more often do it right.
(CFO Magazine, September 2005)


Budgeting in the Real World discusses how companies are improving their budgeting and planning process. Not only by linking strategy to budgeting, but also by making them less detailed, making managers accountable and introduction of software. Maybe nothing new …. but still good to remember.
(CFO Magazine, July 2005)


Lean consumption describes how to apply lean thinking to the processes of consumption. It describes 6 principles of Lean Consumption, which can be applied to the benefit of both the customer and the supplier.
(Harvard Business Review, March 2005)


Measuring the Strategic Readiness of Intangible Assets focuses on the Learning and Growth perspective of the Balanced Scorecard. The article, written by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, provides inspiring thoughts for systematically measuring the alignment of the company’s human, information and organization capital with the company’s strategy. This book is based on the authors’ book Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes.
(Harvard Business Review, February 2004)


We did it discusses the successful merger of HP and Compaq. It is an inspiring case study for people who are planning a merger.
(Forbes Magazine, August 11, 2003)


Uncovering Hidden Value in a Midsize Manufacturing Company discusses how to increase the company value by growing the business they are in. It emphases the need for first protect what you have before growing with present customer or penetrating new areas. Provides practical method to develop this strategy, not only for midsize manufacturing companies.
(Harvard Business Review, June 2003)


The Empire Strikes Back: Counterrevolutionary Strategies for Industry Leaders Richard D’Aveni describes five strategies how incumbents can react to revolutionary technological or business model developments in their industry, using numerous examples to illustrate each and making it an interesting read. He ends with an illustration how Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest beer maker, was able to combine several of them to ward off a potent threat to the American beer industry.
(Harvard Business Review, November 2002)


Charting Your Company’s Future introduces a four-step process for drawing and discussing a company’s strategy profile, using the value curve, a tool to visualize the relative competitive position. It describes how one European financial services company used this process to create a distinct and easily communicable strategy.
(Harvard Business Review, June, 2002)


Having Trouble with Your Strategy? Then Map it is an article by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, well known from the Balanced Business Score Card (BBSC). They have used the BBSC framework to develop a tool to map a company’s strategy more clearly and coherently. In the article the writers use the Mobil North American Marketing and Refining Company as an example to walk the reader through the creation of a strategy map. This article is adapted from their book The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment.
(Harvard Business Review, September-October 2000)


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