Monday, June 26, 2006

The joy of Business Strategy

Business Strategy is a course that I am finding extremely interesting
The primary reason for that is bcoz it makes one think hard. Besides that ,all the cases are from the Harvard Business Review that gives us excellent insight.The professor taking the subject is Brad Killaly,someone who has command in the subject and is really good.He does a lot of "cold calling" in the class and can easily find out if one has not prepared for the class. So, one needs to be attentive and come prepared for the session.The facilitation and discussion from the students in this class is of very high quality.Also, this course will be covered in 3 stages.

The first case that we discussed was about Honda and its management style, the second case was on Johnson and Johnson's organization culture.The case study that has impressed me most till now has been the Paul Levy Case.This is a print and video case study where we analyze the leadership style of Paul Levy, the CEO who transformed a sick medical hospital unit into a profit making center.Paul Levy was someone who had little medical background but strongly believed that the problems at the hospital were related to management and business issues (and not health care) and he could fix them. Along with his team, he worked on the problems and ensured that there were visible results in the first 6 months. Financial results turned out to be better than budgeted, cash flow was positive , clear objectives and performance goals for the department were set.
We had to write a 2 page document on his leadership style and as I worked on the assignment for about 7 hrs, I think I was more clear about my leadership style too.

BTW, as the case was discussed, there were a few career advices shared in the class room. Here are a few that I could recollect:
1. Execute the decision that you plan. Most CEO's do not succeed because they fail to execute what they plan.
2.Having a clarity vision and strategy and communicating it to your team is a key factor.
3.The toughest phase of your professional life is when you are new on a particular task. Everybody's watching you and giving advice that you don't know if itz right!
4.If you are a part of an organization that has undergone a merger/acquisition, and the new role offered to you does not match your expectations, negotiate on your severance package and have an exit strategy.
5. The mark of a good leader is consistency in action-over and over again.

Another case study that was enjoyed by the class was the Industry Analysis - Cola Wars ( Coke Vs Pepsi).We discussed to a great extent how the companies felt that the existence of the other competeitor is important for its own survival.Using the Porter 5 Forces Analysis framework, the class analysed the case and throughly enjoyed it.

Biz Strategy is one course for which I have developed a strong interest. It could be because I enjoy thinking,or simply because the subject has no exam in this stage.! :)

Here are a ad videos that I found today in the internet on Coke and Pepsi.

Pepsi over Coke

Bill Gates in Coke commercial

Pepsi Indian Commercial


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