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The Heart of Change
Appealing to the Heart, Not the Mind

Excerpted from

The Heart of Change:
Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
By

John P. Kotter, Dan S. Cohen
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Harvard Business Press
Boston, Massachusetts

ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-4672-9

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Copyright 2008 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
This chapter was originally published as chapter Introduction of The Heart of Change:
Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, copyright 2002 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Requests for permission should be directed to permissions@harvardbusiness.org, or mailed to Permissions,
Harvard Business School Publishing, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02163.
You can purchase Harvard Business Press books at booksellers worldwide.You can order Harvard
Business Press books and book chapters online at www.harvardbusiness.org/press, or by calling 888-500-1016 or, outside the U.S. and Canada, 617-783-7410.

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INTRODUCTION

The Heart of Change

T

message in this book is very simple. People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings. This is especially so in large-scale organizational change, where you are dealing with new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, new strategies, cultural transformation, globalization, and e-business— whether in an entire organization, an office, a department, or a work
H E S I N G L E M O S T I M P O R TA N T

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group. In an age of turbulence, when you handle this reality well, you win. Handle it poorly, and it can drive you crazy, cost a great deal of money, and cause a lot of pain.
The lessons here come from two sets of interviews, the first completed seven years ago, the second within the last two years.
About 400 people from 130 organizations answered our questions.
We found, in brief, that
• Highly successful organizations know how to overcome antibodies that reject anything new. They know how to grab opportunities and avoid hazards. They see that bigger leaps are increasingly associated with winning big. They see that continuous gradual improvement, by itself, is no longer enough.
• Successful large-scale change is a complex affair that happens in eight stages. The flow is this: push urgency up, put together a guiding team, create the vision and strategies, effectively communicate the vision and strategies, remove barriers to action, accomplish short-term wins, keep pushing for wave after wave of change until the work is done, and, finally, create a new culture to make new behavior stick. • The central challenge in all eight stages is changing people’s behavior. The central challenge is not strategy, not systems, not culture. These elements and many others can be very important, but the core problem without question is behavior—what people do, and the need for significant shifts in what people do.
• Changing behavior is less a matter of giving people analysis to influence their thoughts than helping them to see a truth to influence their feelings. Both thinking and feeling are essential, and both are found in successful organizations, but the heart of change is in the emotions. The flow of see-feelchange is more powerful than that of analysis-think-change.

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These distinctions between seeing and analyzing, between feeling and thinking, are critical because, for the most part, we use the latter much more frequently, competently, and comfortably than the former.
When we are frustrated, we sometimes try to convince ourselves there is a decreasing need for large-scale change. But powerful and unceasing forces are driving the turbulence. When frustrated, we sometimes think that problems are inevitable and out of our control. Yet some people handle large-scale change remarkably well. We can all learn from these people. CEOs can learn. First-line supervisors can learn. Nearly anyone caught up in a big change can learn. That’s the point of this book.

The Eight Stages of Successful
Large-Scale Change
To understand why some organizations are leaping into the future more successfully than others, you need first to see the flow of effective large-scale change efforts. In almost all cases, there is a flow, a set of eight steps that few people handle well.
Step 1

Whether at the top of a large private enterprise or in small groups at the bottom of a nonprofit, those who are most successful at significant change begin their work by creating a sense of urgency among relevant people. In smaller organizations, the “relevant” are more likely to number 100 than 5, in larger organizations 1,000 rather than 50. The less successful change leaders aim at 5 or 50 or 0, allowing what is common nearly everywhere—too much complacency, fear, or anger, all three of which can undermine change. A sense of urgency, sometimes developed by very creative means, gets people off the couch, out of a bunker, and ready to move.

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the heart of change

Step 2

With urgency turned up, the more successful change agents pull together a guiding team with the credibility, skills, connections, reputations, and formal authority required to provide change leadership. This group learns to operate as do all good teams, with trust and emotional commitment. The less successful rely on a single person or no one, weak task forces and committees, or complex governance structures, all without the stature and skills and power to do the job. The landscape is littered with task forces ill equipped to produce needed change.
Step 3

In the best cases, the guiding team creates sensible, clear, simple, uplifting visions and sets of strategies. In the less successful cases, there are only detailed plans and budgets that, although necessary, are insufficient, or a vision that is not very sensible in light of what is happening in the world and in the enterprise, or a vision that is created by others and largely ignored by the guiding team. In unsuccessful cases, strategies are often too slow and cautious for a faster-moving world.
Step 4

Communication of the vision and strategies comes next—simple, heartfelt messages sent through many unclogged channels. The goal is to induce understanding, develop a gut-level commitment, and liberate more energy from a critical mass of people.
Here, deeds are often more important than words. Symbols speak loudly. Repetition is key. In the less successful cases, there is too little effective communication, or people hear words but don’t accept them. Remarkably, smart people undercommunicate or poorly communicate all the time without recognizing their error.

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The Heart of Change

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Step 5

In the best situations, you find a heavy dose of empowerment. Key obstacles that stop people from acting on the vision are removed.
Change leaders focus on bosses who disempower, on inadequate information and information systems, and on self-confidence barriers in people’s minds. The issue here is removing obstacles, not “giving power.” You can’t hand out power in a bag. In less successful situations, people are often left to fend for themselves despite impediments all around. So frustration grows, and change is undermined.
Step 6

With empowered people working on the vision, in cases of great success those people are helped to produce short-term wins.
The wins are critical. They provide credibility, resources, and momentum to the overall effort. In other cases, the wins come more slowly, less visibly, speak less to what people value, and have more ambiguity as to whether they really are successes. Without a well-managed process, careful selection of initial projects, and fast enough successes, the cynics and skeptics can sink any effort.
Step 7

In the best cases, change leaders don’t let up. Momentum builds after the first wins. Early changes are consolidated. People shrewdly choose what to tackle next, then create wave after wave of change until the vision is a reality. In less successful cases, people try to do too much at once. They unwittingly quit too soon. They let momentum slip to the point where they find themselves hopelessly bogged down.
Step 8

Finally, in the best cases, change leaders throughout organizations make change stick by nurturing a new culture. A new culture—

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the heart of change

group norms of behavior and shared values—develops through consistency of successful action over a sufficient period of time.
Here, appropriate promotions, skillful new employee orientation, and events that engage the emotions can make a big difference.
In other cases, changes float fragile on the surface. A great deal of work can be blown away by the winds of tradition in a remarkably short period of time.

The Flow of Change
The process of change involves subtle points regarding overlapping stages, guiding teams at multiple levels in the organization, handling multiple cycles of change, and more. Because the world is complex, some cases do not rigidly follow the eight-step flow.
But the eight steps are the basic pattern associated with significant useful change—all possible despite an inherent organizational inclination not to leap successfully into a better future.
Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the most fundamental problem in all of the stages is changing the behavior of people.
The core issue in step 1 is not urgency in some abstract sense.
The core issue is the behavior of people who are ignoring how the world is changing, who are frozen in terror by the problems they see, or who do little but bitterly complain. In step 2, the issue is the behavior of those in a position to guide change—especially regarding trust and commitment. In step 3, the core challenge is for people to start acting in a way that will create sensible visions and strategies. For people who know how to plan but have never devised a winning change vision, this behavior change is very big.
In step 4, the issue is getting sufficient people to buy into the vision via communication. In step 5, it’s acting on that communication—which for some employees will mean doing their jobs in radically new ways. And so on throughout the process.

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The Heart of Change

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The Eight Steps for Successful
Large-Scale Change
Step

Action

New Behavior

1

Increase urgency

People start telling each other,
“Let’s go, we need to change things!” 2

Build the guiding team

A group powerful enough to guide a big change is formed and they start to work together well.

3

Get the vision right

The guiding team develops the right vision and strategy for the change effort.

4

Communicate for buy-in

People begin to buy into the change, and this shows in their behavior. 5

Empower action

More people feel able to act, and do act, on the vision.

6

Create short-term wins

Momentum builds as people try to fulfill the vision, while fewer and fewer resist change.

7

Don’t let up

People make wave after wave of changes until the vision is fulfilled. 8

Make change stick

New and winning behavior continues despite the pull of tradition, turnover of change leaders, etc.

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the heart of change

See, Feel, Change
Significantly changing the behavior of a single person can be exceptionally difficult work. Changing 101 or 10,001 people can be a
Herculean task. Yet organizations that are leaping into the future succeed at doing just that. Look carefully at how they act and you’ll find another pattern. They succeed, regardless of the stage in the overall process, because their most central activity does not center on formal data gathering, analysis, report writing, and presentations—the sorts of actions typically aimed at changing thinking in order to change behavior. Instead, they compellingly show people what the problems are and how to resolve the problems. They provoke responses that reduce feelings that slow and stifle needed change, and they enhance feelings that motivate useful action. The emotional reaction then provides the energy that propels people to push along the change process, no matter how great the difficulties.
The stories presented throughout the book clarify this pattern, showing what can be done to enable the process. In chapter 1
(which deals with urgency), a procurement manager starts a needed change by creating a dramatic presentation. On the boardroom table he piles 424 different kinds of gloves that the firm is currently buying for its workers at dozens of different prices for the same glove and from dozens of different suppliers. First people are shocked, then the gut-level sense of complacency shrinks and urgency grows. It’s not just a matter of the data saying that changes are necessary in the purchasing process so people alter their behavior. Instead, it’s subtler and deeper. It’s a loud sound that catches attention in a day filled with thousands of words and dozens of events. It’s an image, hard to shake, that evokes a feeling that we must do something.
In chapter 2 (guiding team), the army officer doesn’t pull together his new change team with a rational argument. Instead, he shocks them by taking a risk for the greater good with his comments in a meeting. He then helps them begin to tell emotion-

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The Heart of Change

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packed stories around a campfire. More positive feelings and trust grow, making them act as an effective team.
The aircraft plant manager in chapter 3 (vision and strategies) ceases to just talk to his people about developing ambitious strategies to fit an ambitious quality vision. Instead, he takes dramatic action. He stops the normal production process—just stops it—so everyone must stare all day long at a gigantic plane that can no longer move along the production line. At the same time, he expresses a rock-solid belief that they can find a way to improve quality without delaying delivery. After the initial shock, and with his continuously upbeat behavior, employees begin developing all sorts of new strategies for leaping ahead in procurement, logistics, and quality control.
In chapter 4 (communication), people logically explain why maintaining a lush executive floor is cost-effective in an age of cutbacks—the logic being that it would cost more to change the architecture and décor to make it look less excessive. But that communication convinces few employees and allows cynicism to grow. So they “nuke” the floor, making it less regal, and shock employees in a way that increases their faith in top management and their belief in the vision.
In chapter 5 (empowerment), managers refuse to demote, fire, or “retrain” someone who is staunchly against change and who disempowers others from helping with change. Instead they loan him to a customer, where he is dramatically confronted each day with the problems the customer is having with his products.
What he sees generates shock, then feelings that help the man rise to the occasion. He returns to his employer a manager reborn.
Approaching his job in a whole new way, he helps the firm make changes that benefit customers, employees, and owners.
In chapter 6 (short-term wins), a manager does not ignore an influential state Senator or sell him on a change effort’s progress with graphs and charts. Instead, the manager finds out what the
Senator really cares about. Then he dramatically reduces the number of ridiculous, bureaucratic forms needed to be filled out

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the heart of change

in that area. He shows the Senator the result, surprising the man in the most positive sense. As a result, the Senator begins actively supporting the change effort.
In chapter 7 (not letting up), a task force knows top management behavior is slowing down the change process. But instead of ducking the issue, or trying to describe it in antiseptic terms, the task force creates a hilarious video with actors spoofing the problem. The amusing, nonconfrontational video gives those executives trying to create change a much-needed tool for legitimizing new top management behavior.
In chapter 8 (making change stick), staff write a good speech about the values the firm has created and needs to strengthen and retain if their transformation is to be firmly entrenched. But the real power comes when they present a real customer to employees. He tells an inspirational story showing the consequences of living those values.
Stories like these reveal a core pattern associated with successful change.
1. see. –People find a problem in some stage of the change process—too many of their colleagues are behaving complacently, no one is developing a sensible strategy, too many are letting up before the strategy has been achieved. They then create dramatic, eye-catching, compelling situations that help others visualize the problem or a solution to the problem.
2. feel. –The visualizations awaken feelings that facilitate useful change or ease feelings that are getting in the way. Urgency, optimism, or faith may go up. Anger, complacency, cynicism, or fear may go down.
3. change. –The new feelings change or reinforce new behavior, sometimes very different behavior. People act much less complacently. They try much harder to make a good vision a reality. They don’t stop before the work is done, even if the road seems long.

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The Heart of Change

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Achieving a Change of Behavior within Each of the Eight Steps

Almost Always the Core Method Is:

Rarely the Core Method Is:

SEE-FEEL-CHANGE

ANALYSIS-THINK-CHANGE

1. HELP PEOPLE SEE.

1. GIVE PEOPLE ANALYSIS.

Compelling, eye-catching, dramatic situations are created to help others visualize problems, solutions, or progress in solving complacency, strategy, empowerment, or other key problems within the eight steps.

Information is gathered and analyzed, reports are written, and presentations are made about problems, solutions, or progress in solving urgency, teamwork, communication, momentum slippage, or other key problems within the eight steps.

As a result

As a result

2. SEEING SOMETHING
NEW HITS THE
EMOTIONS.

2. DATA AND ANALYSIS
INFLUENCE HOW WE
THINK.

The visualizations provide useful ideas that hit people at a deeper level than surface thinking. They evoke a visceral response that reduces emotions that block change and enhances those that support it.

The information and analysis change people’s thinking.
Ideas inconsistent with the needed change are dropped or modified. 3. EMOTIONALLY
CHARGED IDEAS
CHANGE BEHAVIOR
OR REINFORCE
CHANGED BEHAVIOR.

3. NEW THOUGHTS
CHANGE BEHAVIOR OR
REINFORCE CHANGED
BEHAVIOR.

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the heart of change

Successful see-feel-change tactics tend to be clever, not clumsy, and never cynically manipulative. They often have an afterglow, where the story of the event is told again and again or where there is a remaining visible sign of the event that influences additional people over time. When done well over all eight stages of a change process, the results can be breathtaking. Mature (old-fashioned, clunky, or heavy) organizations take a leap into the future. Laggards start to become leaders. Leaders jump farther ahead.
The point is not that careful data gathering, analysis, and presentation are unimportant. They are important. Sometimes it is behavior changed by analysis that sends people into a see-feelchange process. Sometimes change launched through feelings creates a radically better approach to analysis. Often small changes are a necessary part of a larger change effort, and the small changes are driven by analysis. Occasionally, careful analysis is required to get show-me-the-numbers finance people or engineers in the mood to see.
But analysis has at least three major limitations. First, in a remarkable number of cases, you don’t need it to find the big truths.
You may not need to do much work to find that the old strategy isn’t working and that a new one isn’t being embraced. You don’t need a fifty-page report to see there is insufficient new product development and that a number of factors make it impossible for the engineers to do what is necessary. You don’t need reams of financial data to learn that you cannot stay out of e-business and that the first step is simply to take the first step. It isn’t necessary for a team of psychologists to study Fred and his team to find out they are failing and must be replaced. Yes, there are many exceptions—deciding on which $100 million IT system to buy, for example—but the general point is valid.
Second, analytical tools have their limitations in a turbulent world. These tools work best when parameters are known, assumptions are minimal, and the future is not fuzzy.
Third, good analysis rarely motivates people in a big way. It

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The Heart of Change

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changes thought, but how often does it send people running out the door to act in significantly new ways? And motivation is not a thinking word; it’s a feeling word.
We fail at change efforts not because we are stupid, overcontrolled, and unemotional beings, although it can seem that way at times. We fail because we haven’t sufficiently experienced highly successful change. Without that experience, we are too often left pessimistic, fearful, or without enough faith to act. So we not only behave in less effective ways, we don’t even try.
Consider the implications of this pattern in an age of accelerating change, at a time when we are making a mind-boggling transition from an industrial to an information/knowledge economy. Consider the implications in light of how managers, management educators, and others today deal with large-scale change.
Of course there are many difficulties here, but being uninformed and pessimistic does not help. We need more leaps into the future. And although we are becoming better at this, there is no reason that we cannot learn to become much better still.
In light of the stakes, we must become better still.

Using the Book
Because they help show, the stories in the book are very important.
As a reader, glancing at the figures, reading a bit of the text, and moving on does not work especially well. If you are in a rush and want to learn from the book quickly, read three or four stories and look at the end-of-chapter figures. You might choose the stories in whichever chapter seems of most relevance. Or you might go to “Gloves on the Boardroom Table” in the step 1 chapter,
“The Plane Will Not Move!” in the step 3 chapter, and “Retooling the Boss” in the step 5 chapter.
No matter how you read the book, feel free to copy a story and send it to your colleagues. The more a relevant story circulates

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the heart of change

among your colleagues, and the more it creates useful dialogue, the better.
In a recent edition of Fortune magazine, Jack Welch is quoted as saying, “You’ve got to talk about change every second of the day.” That’s a bit of an extreme position, but maybe extreme is what wins.

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...Question 1 (strategy game): You have managed your camera company in the virtual industry environment for seven “years” together with your co-managers. As an individual now, and with the benefit of hindsight, if you were to start again from Year 6, what would you do differently in your strategy and in your management, and why? Note: the game is clearly a means to an end, and what I’ll be looking for in your answer is that you use your “toolkit”, which you have acquired from Strategy and from other courses in this GXMBA. Also, the question is about company strategy and its deployment, not about internal group organization. GO TO ANSWER Article 1 - Home Depot Earnings Beat, Raises Outlook Published: Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012 | 6:33 AM ET By: CNBC.com With Reuters Home Depot raised its full-year outlook on Tuesday as the retailer benefited from a recent uptick in the U.S. housing market and analysts expect a sales boost from super storm Sandy in the current quarter. The nascent recovery in housing has encouraged professional contractors to buy more in recent months. Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement chain, has also gained from its own efforts to improve distribution, cut costs and localize marketing and merchandising. Excluding a charge for closing seven stores in China, Home Depot said it had earned 74 cents per share. Analysts had been expecting 70 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Third-quarter revenue...

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...J U LY 2 0 12 strategy practice Becoming more strategic: Three tips for any executive Michael Birshan and Jayanti Kar You don’t need a formal strategy role to help shape your organization’s strategic direction. Start by moving beyond frameworks and communicating in a more engaging way. We are entering the age of the strategist. As our colleagues Chris Bradley, Lowell Bryan, and Sven Smit have explained in “Managing the strategy journey” (on mckinseyquarterly.com), a powerful means of coping with today’s more volatile environment is increasing the time a company’s top team spends on strategy. Involving more senior leaders in strategic dialogue makes it easier to stay ahead of emerging opportunities, respond quickly to unexpected threats, and make timely decisions. This is a significant change. At a good number of companies, corporate strategy has long represented the bland aggregation of strategies that individual business unit heads put forward.1 At others, it’s been the domain of a small coterie, perhaps led by a chief strategist who is protective of his or her domain—or the exclusive territory of a CEO. Rare is the company, though, where all members of the top team have well-developed strategic muscles. Some executives reach the C-suite because of functional expertise, while others, including 1 In a McKinsey Global Survey of more than 2,000 global executives, only one-third agreed that their corporate strategy approach represented “a...

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...evaluates and controls the business and the industries in which the company is involved; assesses its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reassesses each strategy annually or quarterly [i.e. regularly] to determine how it has been implemented and whether it has succeeded or needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic environment., or a new social, financial, or political environment. ------------------------------------------------- Strategic Management – An Ongoing Process by GE Consult on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 8:59am December 16, 2009  by Fred Victor  The term “globalization” is not new, what is more, it is more rapid and pervasive nowadays. Significant reductions in barriers to international commerce since the mid-1970s have resulted in markets and industries becoming increasingly integrated across nations. In fact, distance is becoming a shrinking barrier. Markets are globalizing rapidly, due to technological advancement particularly in computer technology, as are the firms that competing. As a result, strategic management will be more significant as the pace of business nowadays.  Managing change has become the "silver bullet" in seeking the final component of successfully managing strategy, process, culture and people in most modern organizations. Furthermore, staying competitive in the face of demographic trends,......

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...Book: Be Different or Be Dead by Roy Osing ISBN: 9781626753150 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1894694694/?tag=sounexecbooks-20 This book is an A to Z business strategy guide, including how to create strategic game plan, elements of execution and staying alive in the competition. Author basically has 2 main objectives for readers to reach. The first is to provide a guide for the execution journey and provide a process to follow. One of the lesson I learned from that is, If you commit to the process, It will deliver executional competency to you in your business life even individually. The second is give more information about the conversation about strategic planning. Just from a different point of view by not completely destroying the traditional planning model, main purpose is to shift the balance between where you or your company want to go, and how you intend to get there. I learned a lot more how to create a strategic game plan. Author lists the possible issues you may be facing, and gives keywords for fast implementation. He also states that focusing the critical elements of execution and keeping all these things easy, play an important role for your act. In addition to that author encourages readers to user their leadership intelligent. Author also lists the questions that we need to ask during the journey, and we have to keep these answers always updated along the way: How big you want to be, how do you want to serve and how will you compete to win. Deciding how big......

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... MAN4120 Exercise 1A: Compare Business Strategy with Military Strategy Ranking the nine military maxims: 1= most important 9= least important Top 9 Maxims: 9= Simplicity-prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding Plans are important. Strategic management relies on strategies that are first formulated, implemented and than evaluated for success. This is the most important. 8= Objective- direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective After plans are formulated in a general scope, now objectives or goals are also formulated in order for it to be implemented and achieved. 7= Unity of Command-for every objective, ensure unity of effort under the responsible commander In business, we have organizational structure. Strategic plans are executed by certain people with duties such as management and employees. Without this type of structure, there is no way of directing the path of success. 6=Offensive-seize, retain, and exploit the initiative At this point, strategy can now be implemented after planning. 5= Maneuver-place the enemy in a disadvantageous position through the flexible application of combat power. Part of implementing strategies, placing competitors in a disadvantage by having “competitive advantage” 4= Mass-concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time Also, part of strategy implementation, deciding when to execute......

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...INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIES (Jay B Barney) Summary International Strategies can be seen as a special case of diversification strategies. Firms implement international strategies when they pursue business opportunities that cross country borders. Like all diversification strategies, international strategies must exploit real economies of scope that outside investors find too costly to exploit on their own in order to be valuable. Five potentially valuable economies of scope in international strategies are: 1. To gain access to new customers for a firm’s current products or services 2. To gain access to low-cost factors of production, 3. To develop new core competencies 4. To leverage current core competencies in new ways and 5. To manage corporate risk. To be a source of sustained competitive advantage, a firm’s international strategies must be valuable, rare and costly to imitate and the firm must be organized to realize the full potential of its international strategies, these strategies can still be rare, for at least two reasons : 1. Given the broad range of international opportunities, firms may not compete head to head with other firm pursuing the same international strategies that they are pursuing and 2. Firms may bring valuable and rare resources and capabilities to the international strategies they pursue. Both direct duplication and substitution can affect the imitability of a firm’s international strategy. Direct duplication is not likely when firms......

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