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 all ) 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 strategy 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 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 all "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 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 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 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" ?! 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.