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What Are the Biggest Strategy Traps?

Martin Reeves, senior partner and managing director of BCG’s Bruce Henderson Institute for strategy, and author of the recently released book, Your Strategy Needs a Strategy, spoke to Knowledge@Wharton.

In this interview, Reeves looks the most common business strategies and the biggest traps companies fall into when trying to work them out:

We deal with tricks and traps in the book and there are some fairly prominent ones. When we looked at how companies perceived their environments and the strategies that they choose we found that there was a very human bias towards perceiving business environments as being more predictable and more controllable than they actually are. It’s a comforting thing for people to believe that they can control and predict their surroundings, and sometimes it’s the case and sometimes it’s not the case.

The second big trap is to be stuck in one way of doing strategy — most often, the classical way of doing strategy — analyze, plan, execute. That’s not a bad way of doing strategy under the right circumstances, but if you have a very fast-moving part of your business, one where the rate of technology change is very high, for example, then it’s totally inappropriate.

The interview is also available as a PDF.