Coursera – Strategy Implementation


The class explains the process and pitfalls of implementing any strategy in the organization.  Links to additional materials were particularly enlightening.

  • Around 70% of change initiatives do not deliver expected results
  • On average, acquisitions of public firms result in 5.9% losses in value

Balance Scorecard dimensions

  • Customer (Time, quality, performance, cost)
  • Internal business processes (Delivery time, time to new product introduction etc.)
  • Learning (Employee skills, data)
  • Financial (Cost reduction, revenue increase)



Different types of organizational structure (divisional, matrix, etc.) can be beneficial for some strategies and not others.

Organization’s ability to simultaneously pursue efficiency in current operations and be adaptive to changes in the environment.

Excellent HBR article explains ambidexterity.


Interesting insight on the concept of “resistance to change” – technically, there is no “resistance to change” as a monolithic concept – there is resistance to negative consequences of an initiative, and they need to be addressed as specific problems rather than a problem of “change.”

If the anticipated change will result in the loss of status by some employees, then the field must research and develop strategies for dealing with the loss of status. Likewise, if the change will result in the loss of jobs, that issue must be dealt with. Labeling these difficult problems as resistance to change only impedes the change effort.

Interesting (as I read before): strong culture is not helpful for innovation, as it prevents the organization from challenging established conventions.

Netflis Culture presentation – very distinct approach, which makes sense


Interesting perspective on the informal networks of the organization, which can solve non-standard problems for which formal infrastructure may not be sufficient.

If the formal organization is the skeleton of a company, the informal is the central nervous system driving the collective thought processes, actions, and reactions of its business units. Designed to facilitate standard modes of production, the formal organization is set up to handle easily anticipated problems. But when unexpected problems arise, the informal organization kicks in. Its complex webs of social ties form every time colleagues communicate and solidify over time into surprisingly stable networks. Highly adaptive, informal networks move diagonally and elliptically, skipping entire functions to get work done.  HBR

Book – Brain and Culture

brain-and-cultureThis book was recommended in one of international management texts, and it does give an excellent understanding of the biological origin of humans’ cultural perceptions.  We are “excused” from not seeing intricacies of another culture as a kitten, who was raised to look at light moving left to right has less capability seeing light moving right to left.  This is a part of human condition we need to consider in business and politics.

An interesting point of the book: a person’s internal perception of the world is less flexible after puberty, and the person would be trying to “adjust” the outside world to be consistent with this internal perception.  The dissonance is uncomfortable.

Familiarity with a particular object or pattern results in a feeling that the person “likes” the object or pattern more than other similar ones.  An experiment exposing students to words written in an unknown language showed that even if the students could not tell if they have seen this particular word before, they were generally accurate stating that they “liked” the previously seen words better than the words to which they were not exposed.

When faced with representatives of different cultures, people tend to “perceive the different human beings in a way that is consistent with fundamental beliefs of the perceiver, rather than changing those established beliefs.  In many cases, however, the foreign culture is too broadly different to be accommodated by such efforts…  …then the effort becomes elimination of the offending perception.