My four-year-old grandson, Oliver, is full of questions. He asks what something is, or what we are talking about, or why we are doing whatever we are doing, or how come there are so many cheese wrappers in my office trash can. (Well… not all of his questions are comfortable to answer!) Turns out he’s…

My wife, Liz, likes to putter around the garden. I’m not especially interested, but for her, it’s an important part of how she spends her free time. Not surprisingly, our garden looks pretty great. And yet, every year, she still works to put in something new — this spring’s proposed project was a birdbath. I…

Maybe you’ve seen the news: Apparently, Vladimir Putin is being misled by his advisors who are afraid to tell him that his ill-conceived attack on Ukraine is not going well. While I shudder to think what decisions Putin might make if he knew the truth, this situation is not surprising, since the Russian President is…

For-profit companies place a great deal of weight on financial measures when evaluating their own performance (revenue, profits, etc.). That’s logical. Their customers pay for their products and services and so financials are a pretty fair measure of their success (or lack thereof).It doesn’t work the same way with nonprofits. Yes, revenues are important, primarily as…

One of the phrases I frequently hear — often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker — is that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Many times, what’s being suggested is that strategy is, therefore, irrelevant. Naturally, as a strategist, I disagree! That said, it’s no accident that this quote has survived for as long as it…

You’ve probably heard the term “stakeholder analysis.” It’s a tool that is traditionally used for project management, often with an internally focused perspective. But the concept is also relevant for strategic planning work, factoring in external stakeholders as well. So… What is a stakeholder? A number of years ago, companies began to realize that they…

Pricing. It’s one of the most important elements of any business value proposition. And yet, it’s a topic that many struggle with. That’s because setting the right price is about much more than simply setting price higher than costs or mimicking the actions of competitors. Some things to consider… Pricing sends signals. While economists have…

You’ve probably heard the term: “War games.” Long used in a military context to plan for future conflicts, when applied in a business setting, the phrase refers to a group exercise in which participants try to anticipate the possible moves of a competitor by pretending to “play for the other side.” I have used this…

I’ve been coaching nonprofits and entrepreneurs on how to develop a good elevator pitch for years. In fact, just last month I worked with six different French biotech startups, critiquing and helping them refine theirs. The term describes a hypothetical scenario in which you step into an elevator and find yourself face to face with…

Students in my strategy classes at Boston University often ask: What applicant characteristics matter most when applying for positions with strategy consulting firms? Of course, there are some obvious ones — sharp analytical skills and strong communication capabilities among them. But one that is often overlooked — and yet quite valuable — is possession of…

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