A guest article by Edouard Gruwez

In the past months, we helped half a dozen global organizations to articulate their strategy. When people talk about 'the strategy', they are referring to a bulky slide deck destined for the executive committee or the board. Many companies report two problems with corporate strategy: First, they really struggle to cook up a strong, coherent and engaging strategy. Second, many stakeholders are frustrated by the strategy creation process.

Companies usually possess various kinds of resources and capabilities—financial, human, organizational, physical, and technological. For strategists, this raises the question as to which ones are so-called core competencies providing a source of sustainable competitive advantage. A good way to find out is the VRIO analysis which was first developed in 1991 by Jay B. Barney, the founder of the resource-based view, and since then repeatedly refined.

In management theory and practice, it is now generally accepted that the corporate environment is characterized by rapidly increasing complexity and dynamics and decreasing predictability. This situation demands new ways of thinking and acting from corporate management and those responsible for strategy. Nevertheless, traditional strategic planning tools remain popular...

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to strategy implementation is that responsibilities are not clearly defined. Employees are not sure what is expected of them or simply assume that someone else will do the job. Often with the result that goals are not achieved fully, not at all, or not within the desired time frame. Trouble and frustration are inevitable. Yet, this mistake can easily be avoided. Responsibility matrices, such as the RACI matrix, help organizations to clearly define, communicate, and document roles and responsibilities.

Since the early nineties, benchmarking is one of the most commonly used management and strategy tools around the world. In the Management Tools & Trends reports published by Bain & Company every two years, benchmarking regularly scores among the top five. However, there is some confusion in the literature and practice as to what benchmarking exactly is and how the method is best applied.