Table of Contents About the Author Publisher's acknowledgements Introduction: The monkey story 1: Management happens Forced to be stupid Collective inertia - if you don't join them, you can beat them! Pharma - the devil is in the detailing The Abilene Paradox Same same but different "Selection bias" Numbers and strategy - do they mix? Inebriated cyclists Deciding stuff - that's the easy bit How well do you know your company? (My guess is not very well at allÂ ) How to make a compelling corporate strategy in six easy steps Wanna play strategy? Get a board game "Framing contests": What really happens in strategy meetings It looks like we don't have a strategyÂ 2: The Success trap (and some ideas how to get out of it) Why good companies go bad The Icarus paradox Tunnel vision - "in the end, there is only flux" Operation Market Garden Mental models Â let's all think within the same box A creosote bush: how "exploitation" drives out "exploration" A bitter pill Framing something as a threat or an opportunity dramatically alters what we choose In a downturn, manage your revenues, not your costs In a crisis, innovate Is your company brave enough to survive? 3: The urge to conquer How big is your yam? (not that it matters) Deal-eager executives - tribal instincts CEOs, marriage, mergers, geriatric millionaires, and blushing brides When acquisitions take over "Time compression diseconomies" - too much, too fast Seeds and fertilizer - how to build a firm "I've won... I've won" Most acquisitions fail - really! "Heerlijk, helder, Heineken" Toads and acquisitions - where does CEO "hubris" come from? 4: Gods and villains The heroes of our time Narcissus versus humble bloke - and the winner is? Are overconfident CEOs born or made? Hang the hero Celebrity CEOs and the burden of expectation Successful managers - incompetent for sure Executives: superhuman after allÂ "Over the hill and far away, top managers are here to stay" Chief story teller Managers and leaders: are they different? Women on top 5: Liaisons and intrigues Fact over fiction Analysts, astrologers, and lemmings - three of a kind? Conflicts of interest - do analysts rate their bank's clients' stock more favorably? Banks' blurry categorizations - have your cake and eat it too Analysts rule the waves (whether we like it or not) Sirens and investment bankers Â birds of a feather How to tame an analyst Advice or influence? Why firms ask government officials to be directors Boards of directors: cliques and elites Board-cloning - a rewarding habit Boardroom friends CEOs and their stock options (oh please) Stock options, risk, and manipulations Too hot to handle: explaining excessive top management remuneration How to justify paying top managers too much CEOs do seek advice Â if you pay them for it Dirty laundry: who is hiding the bad stuff? 6: Myths in management No stranger than fiction Say you will - that'll do Right again! Managers and their self-fulfilling prophecies Your expectations manage you "Reverse causality" - sorry, but life's not that simple Eating Uncle Ed - don't worry, its called downsizing Does downsizing ever work? Who can downsize without detriment? What management bandwagons bring Remember this one: "total quality management"? ISO 9000 makes you reliable, myopic, efficient, and dull - and unable to invent Post-It notes How bad practice prevails Can we please stop saying that the market is efficient? Pin-striped pigeons Management consultants - happy slapping Star knowledge workers - you really should not pay them that much, you know Patent sharks Information overload Â and how to deal with it (if you're the one loading) When knowledge hurts Exaggerating to make my point R&D - it's a steal 7: Making far-reaching decisions (when you can't see a fricking thing ahead of you) The Red Queen Binoculars in the mist "Today's fast-changing business environment"? The same as it ever was! Is innovation over-rated? Customers? Ah, forget about them Means and ends; profits and innovation It is OK to get lucky - even for a top manager Getting lucky - fortune favours the prepared firm Sometimes it is about knowing when not to decide Retaining your ability to make money? Causal ambiguity's the answer Company cloning - how to change a winning formula When to fire your M&A management consultant Not all trouble is really trouble Change for change's sake "A serial changer" "Innovation networks" and the size of the pie Spinning clients - the McKinsey effect 8: A rock or a soft place? The hidden cost of equity "Shareholder value orientation" - now, where did that come from? Who should come first? Shareholders? Are you sure..? Human nature: self-interested bastard or community-builder? Down-town Calcutta firms Pay inequality - good or bad for team performance? What really caused the 2008 banking crisis? The third sin "Work-family initiatives"Â ?! That's rather soft and fluffy isn't it? Corporate social responsibility - nice, but does it earn you any money? Taking care: companies make love and money (if their shareholders let them) Epilogue: The Emperor's new clothes Literature Index
Freek Vermeulen is Associate Professor of Strategic & International Management at London Business School, teaching courses to executives and executive MBA students. He is the recipient of several teaching and various research-related awards, including the first-ever LBS 'Excellence in Teaching' award and the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award. Freek is an active consultant for companies such as KPMG, and a key-note speaker on various topics.