An Aerial View of the Stanford Campus


Why do some organizations fail while others succeed? How do you create a strategy that aligns with your competencies and culture? How do you sustain a competitive advantage?

Winning strategies are required. But they won’t be generated in a planning group. They’ll develop at the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization, a two-week comprehensive program designed to help you “do the right thing” rather than “do things right.” The program gives you a unique opportunity to diagnose and solve strategic problems and create action plans for implementing real change.

Program Highlights

Below are just a few of the sessions you’ll experience as part of this program.

The Ambidextrous Leader

To be adaptive requires managers and companies to be ambidextrous — that is, to consciously adopt different strategies and organizational alignments for different businesses. This session will illustrate how some companies have been able to develop the dynamic capabilities needed to do this.

Capability-Based Strategy

Company capabilities are strategic advantages that derive from things that your business does that others cannot do, or cannot do as well. For instance, your company might be more innovative than others, deliver consistently better service, or produce goods with fewer defects and greater reliability than anyone else can. As a strategic leader, you should always be concerned with developing and strengthening your business’s capability-based advantages. In this session, we will explore the role of organization in generating capability-based advantages, and introduce a framework for analyzing organizational design and strategic alignment.

Design Thinking and Strategy

This module offers participants the chance to learn design thinking: a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applied to products, services, and even business and organizational design. We believe that innovation is necessary in every aspect of business, and that the required skills can be taught. Thus, you will walk away from the workshop with a strong understanding of the key tenets of design thinking, and you will be able to execute them within your organization.

You will first have the opportunity to rapidly experience how the design process works through a hands-on exercise. Then, you will be introduced to a framework for thinking about the organizational ecosystem, and how we can use a human-centered design process to effectively identify the roots of common managerial and organizational problems (such as lack of coordination between units, lack of time for creative thinking, lack of trust between units, loss of top talent, and so on).

Financing Innovation

A key step in leading innovation within your enterprise is obtaining the resources needed to fund that innovation. To do so, it is usually necessary to convince others of the financial and strategic merits. In these sessions, we will see how to build a financial model that will allow you to make a decision about whether to fund a new investment in a product, project, or business. As we will see, a financial model is a critical tool that enables you to estimate both the resources needed and the return that can be generated by a new opportunity. Moreover, you can use the financial model to better understand both the risk and the opportunities that the project represents.

Industry Analysis

One of the most important determinants of a company’s performance is the attractiveness of the industry in which it competes. This session will provide practical tools for conducting an industry analysis and for evaluating a business’s position in its industry.

Leadership in Crisis Management

What should management do when a crisis focuses the harsh spotlight of public opinion on their organization? Whether it results from a company’s own missteps (think BP) or from strategic activism or media action (think Greenpeace), dealing with crisis is increasingly on the agenda for today’s executives. In this session, we will explore the skills and organizational structures that enable leaders to prepare for and productively manage a crisis, and prevent lasting damage to an organization’s reputation.

Crafting Strategy Through Strategic Arguments

Oftentimes, managers and leaders in a company lack an effective way of engaging with each other on strategic issues. Despite the fact that many people have important and valuable insights, the crafting of a company’s strategy is reduced to a set of broadly stated goals in a slide presentation. Changing this process and the articulation of strategy requires that those in the business develop a set of skills for engaging in constructive strategic arguments. In this session, we focus on sharpening strategic acumen by illustrating and applying a framework for constructive strategic arguments.

Strategy Beyond Markets

For a company to achieve superior overall performance, its strategy beyond markets must be integrated with its market strategy. This series of sessions considers companies’ strategic interactions with important constituents, organizations, and institutions outside of markets. Topics of discussion will include boycotts, legislation, and enforcement of intellectual property rules, all of which can substantially impact performance and profitability.


Associate Director, Programs Executive Education