Insight to Outcome: A Note on Strategy Development and Implementation

By Thomas S. Wurster, Derek Kennedy, Jason Zajac
2015 | Case No. SM238 | Length 17 pgs.

Most business activities can be understood as progressions from insight to outcome – getting from the original spark of an idea to the actual realization of financial and strategic results. And yet, leaders and companies fail to master this progression all the time, in the headline-grabbing, large scale transformative initiatives we read about, as well in the rest of iceberg – the core business processes and the non-routine initiatives and projects that collectively can have a defining impact on a company’s performance. In this teaching note, we argue that senior executives can, in fact, systematically ensure their organizations’ ability to progress effectively from insight to outcome, and we discuss three critical behaviors that they need to embrace to make this happen: managing the insight to outcome sequence as an integrated, end-to-end process; recognizing and overcoming the challenges of the degree of difficulty curve; and mastering the complex calculus of strategic inflection points.

Learning Objective

Students will learn to: 1. Internalize an integrated end-to-end approach for managing the insight to outcome sequence and study best practices and learn from common pitfalls; 2. Apply the approach to a number of important business processes, such as merger integration, corporate and business unit transformation, and strategy development; and 3. Understand the drivers of the degree of difficulty curve and how the relationship to a strategic inflection point drives degree of difficulty.

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