• Brandminds 2020

9 key takeaways from
Business Strategy
for Top Executives Masterclass

Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides took place yesterday, March 23, 2021.

Read on to discover 9 key takeaways.

Yia sou*, world-changer!

I felt it was appropriate for me to welcome you in Greek, the world’s oldest recorded living language and the native language of Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at London Business School.

Prof Costas Markides delivered yesterday the Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass, a BRAND MINDS live online event.

Over the span of nine hours (breaks and Q&A sessions included) Prof Markides delivered a host of amazing insights, latest information and great storytelling.

He spoke with passion about strategy in a volatile world, how to become agile, how to mobilize your organization for strategy execution and how to overcome the latest challenges that new leadership is facing today.

Prof Markides’ high energy and to-the-point teaching style made it easy for everyone attending the masterclass to understand and assimilate the business strategy concepts he was talking about throughout the event.

What was the participants’ feedback?

The masterclass registered a high level of participant engagement. The chat was on fire with attendees asking questions, answering polls and writing comments on the topic at hand.

  • 90.3% of participants evaluated Costas Markides’ performance to be amazing;
  • 92.9% of participants said the overall experience has exceeded their expectations.

One participant said she felt “full of energy after masterclass:)” and decided she had new things to change in her work with a commitment to “make my team feel special”.

Another participant said attending the masterclass “confirmed some answers”.

Remember when you were a student, taking lots of notes in class? I guess one participant remembered because she told us: “I have filled in 2 A4 pages with notes and many takeaways”.

Another attendee shared with us a smarter way of taking notes: “I have selected 36 keywords that I think will help me structure the strategy of the division I lead”.

We are thrilled when participants tell us “All was above my expectations! Congratulations!”

But one particular type of feedback brings us the feeling of accomplishment: when attendees tell us they had “a great learning experience” and they “will brainstorm afterwards to implement what they have learned”.

Everyone stayed until the end wishing Costas could share one more insight, one more business concept, one more how-to.

As they say, you had to be there. But if you weren’t, you can watch four short cuts from the event with Prof Costas, that I have inserted below.

Without further ado, let’s delve into 9 key takeaways from Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides or as the Greeks say, Pame**!

9 key takeaways from Business Strategy for Top Executives Masterclass with Costas Markides

1.The biggest mistake in a volatile world: believing that you don’t need a strategy.

The pandemic has disrupted the world and brought in a lot of uncertainty. This means companies are facing new challenges, but it doesn’t mean you should use uncertainty as an excuse to do nothing.

Use the information available to make choices.

These choices are your strategy.

Remain flexible and adjust your strategy as needed.

2. Strategy is choices: what to do and what not to do.

Strategy is about making difficult choices.

It’s about choosing who to target and who not to target; what to offer and what not to offer; use one tactic to achieve your goal over another.

What does Prof Costas say?

Stay clear of meaningless statements; they are not strategies. Also strategy should be written down in half a page and answer three questions: WHO-WHAT-HOW.

3. Why do companies fail to make choices? Fear of being wrong.

Companies fail to make choices because they want to avoid any risk that their choice might turn out to be wrong.

So they don’t make any choices at all. Don’t make the same mistake with your company!

Yes, making difficult choices requires a lot of courage. It takes strong leadership to make clear choices in the face of uncertainty and contradictory advice.

4. There are 3 ways of making a decision: analysis, experimentation and intuition.

Which should you use? Well, it depends on the situation.

If it’s about selling to a new type of customer, you could base your decision on a combination of intuition and analysis.

If you want to change your business model, you could experiment first. Ideally it’s a combination of the three, argues Prof Costas.

5. Agility is a by-product of behaviors.

Agility is not something you can ask people to do, said Prof Costas. It is the result of behaviors: questioning, experimenting, talking to your customers etc.

6. To become an agile company, create the right environment around your people.

What looks like a people problem is often an environment problem.

How can you make your organization more agile?

Create the right environment around your people.

Help your employees become more agile by giving them the autonomy to monitor the changes in the outside environment and take action. Find the little tweaks that fit your management style and local culture and introduce them.

7. You won’t win people’s hearts and inspire a change in their behavior through a PowerPoint presentation. Then, how?

The vast majority of employees are not committed to the strategy.

Help them visualize the reason why they should change.

Show your employees how your company’s products or services are changing the lives of your customers.

Reinforce the message through storytelling which is more likely to evoke emotion than a presentation.

There are four tactics to mobilize your organization: visualization, stories, actions that support the message, symbolism.

8. Disruption is a threat and an opportunity at the same time.

A Harvard study reported that the companies that approached disruption as a threat, failed.

The companies that looked at disruption as an opportunity also failed.

The successful companies are the ones that looked at disruption both as a threat and as an opportunity.

9. It is no longer enough to be a good employer, you need to make your people feel special for working for you.

How can you make your employees feel special?

There are 5 ways:

1) by providing them with a special purpose,

2) by surrounding them with special people through super selective recruitment and using unusual criteria (ie: passion),

3) by building a special working environment for them,

4) by selling special products, and

5) by treating people in special ways.

It’s difficult to translate nine hours of insights, statistics, case studies and other examples into ten takeaways.

On this note, allow me to conclude the present article with the following quote from Costas Markides:

Efharisto***, Prof. Costas Markides!

Yia sou* = Hello!

Pame** = Let’s go!

Efharisto*** = Thank you

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