Organizational Strategy and Structure

Executives and managers face a common problem: how to craft a strategy and design an organization to execute that strategy. An organization’s strategy is its plan to create and capture value. An organization’s design encompasses structures managers put into place to guide employee actions. This is not about day-to-day operations, but about crafting a strategy and designing the organization to achieve lasting competitive advantage.

Historically, strategy has assumed market statics: that environments change slowly enough so that managers can create strategies for the current and foreseeable environment, and update every few years. This course starts with strategy fundamentals under market statics, and teaches foundational frameworks.

Next, we turn to strategy under market dynamics. In our era of disruption, market change is rapid and ongoing. Under these conditions, managers need to shift focus from executing a particular strategy to strategy discovery: where the organization is designed to learn and evolve. Building on tools for strategy execution, this course will also teach strategy discovery and entrepreneurial design for organizations to create competitive advantage under market dynamics.

Corporate Entrepreneurship

Corporate entrepreneurship is critical in the modern economy. Market change is rapid as competition becomes fiercer, customers more fickle, and technology a key differentiator across industries – from automobiles to media. Firms must disrupt or be disrupted.

The central tenet of this course is effective corporate entrepreneurship is based in organization design: structure, culture, and people. To foster corporate entrepreneurship, executives must condition employees to experiment and discover, establish pathways for novel ideas to take hold and flourish, and retain the ability to pivot even at the highest levels. This course teaches elements of entrepreneurial design and how to incorporate them in established firms. Culturally, entrepreneurial design includes nurturing a variety of ideas by using variance-based evaluation and encouraging productive failure while spotting and rooting out inaction. Structurally, firms must develop architectures and processes that bring together people from different functional areas so that new initiatives can blossom.

Leadership in Organizations

Great leadership integrates passion and discipline. A leader must have both a vision that inspires and the ability to build an organization that can execute the vision. Many treatments of leadership focus on the former, often with respect to a leader’s character and charisma. This is important, but not enough. A great leader must also know how to design the organization so people are empowered to make the vision a reality. The fundamental roles of leadership are to clearly articulate how vision translates into business strategy, and to put into place the right processes, people, and culture to execute the strategy. This course focuses on: (1) developing behaviors and intuition essential for vision, and (2) mastering concepts of organization design critical for execution.