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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

John Sterling

Rubicon Technology, a materials science company focused primarily on the manufacture and marketing of high quality single crystals possesses unique and advantageous…

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Abstract

Rubicon Technology, a materials science company focused primarily on the manufacture and marketing of high quality single crystals possesses unique and advantageous technology. But having technological advantages is not enough. Concerted focus is required to translate that technical advantage into product performance that makes a significant difference in customer operations. With market intelligence, an honest self‐assessment and logical analysis, a sustainable market position was developed. The company avoided the temptation of chasing the market with the greatest upside potential and instead elected to target products and markets that were more accessible and aligned well with the experience and capabilities of the company’s technical and operations staffs. Recently, the company has invested enough (in manufacturing facilities and knowledge) to keep its future options open relative to additional vertical integration. Rubicon’s experience with strategic alliances confirms that they can play a crucial role in closing capability gaps and delivering a total package of value to key segments of the market. Rubicon has succeeded largely because, after selecting products and markets that offered excellent potential returns, it focused relentlessly on improving and aligning its technology and its operations to meet expressed customer and market needs. Rubicon has captured at least 10 percent of the LED/LD substrate market worldwide. More importantly, it has moved quickly from the high burn rate of a start‐up to breakeven, and it is on the road to profitability.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Barbara Gannon and John Sterling

People and culture are a core element of strategy at the Wisconsin‐based cheese processing and marketing company, Sargento Foods. Its competitive advantage stems from the…

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1754

Abstract

People and culture are a core element of strategy at the Wisconsin‐based cheese processing and marketing company, Sargento Foods. Its competitive advantage stems from the capabilities and loyalty of its 1,200 employees. Three interrelated business drivers define the company’s core strategy – a focus on cheese products, a commitment to outstanding customer and consumer response, and an economic engine centered on customer profitability. This three‐pronged strategy is guided by the company’s cultural philosophy – people, pride and progress. The culture and the commitment to people is the foundation for all other strategic initiatives. For over 50 years, Sargento has translated their philosophical commitment to people and culture into meaningful long‐term action through several HR programs cited in the article.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

John Sterling

Several reasons are frequently offered to explain (or to justify) failure to implement strategy. Some are valid but many have merely gained credibility from being repeated…

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16257

Abstract

Several reasons are frequently offered to explain (or to justify) failure to implement strategy. Some are valid but many have merely gained credibility from being repeated often. By discrediting the myths, we can more clearly look at a number of approaches that can greatly enhance the effectiveness of strategy implementation. There are seven key reasons for strategy failure. Unanticipated market changes – strategies can fail because the market conditions change before the strategy can take hold. Three preventative actions are cited: (1) effective competitor responses to strategy – to out‐perform the competition, competitive intelligence is a must; (2) too little investment – if insufficient resources are applied, the strategy will fail. Modeling will aid the executive to make smarter deployment of limited resources; and (3) failure of buy‐in – insufficient buy‐in to or understanding of the strategy among those who need to implement it will cause failure. Good strategic management is a function of people actively considering the strategy as they make day‐to‐day decisions in an ever‐changing world. Lack of focus – resources are wastefully dissipated if priorities are unclear. Put the strategy on one page: focus to execute. Poorly conceived business models – sometimes strategies are simply bad.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

John Sterling

A respected Wisconsin metro newspaper, confronting significant market change and eroding profit opportunities, gathered a broad cross‐section of its management team…

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2040

Abstract

A respected Wisconsin metro newspaper, confronting significant market change and eroding profit opportunities, gathered a broad cross‐section of its management team together a little more than a year ago to take a fresh look at its business strategy. The resulting strategic plan strikes a balance between focusing on key operational targets and creating distinctive editorial products that ensures the paper remains the “indispensable source of news and information” in its markets. This case study examines how The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel used strategic planning to craft a strategy that keeps profits flowing despite in an increasingly competitive market environment. This case demonstrates that even when a company is pushed to improve operational performance it still cannot ignore the need to create a distinctive strategic position in its market. And, even when a company enjoys a leading market position, it cannot afford to relax its commitment to operational excellence.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2019

John Sterling

This interview of two IMD professors examines how leadership teams that are struggling to make decisions or experiencing tensions, can address the root causes of…

Abstract

Purpose

This interview of two IMD professors examines how leadership teams that are struggling to make decisions or experiencing tensions, can address the root causes of dysfunctionality -- "undiscussables" of some kind – unexpressed thoughts and feelings that, if addressed effectively, could help the team work more productively.

Design/methodology/approach

The interviewees identify four varieties of undiscussables, each with its own drivers and solutions: 10;∙9; “Things we think but don’t say.” 10;∙9; “Things we say but don’t mean.” 10;∙9; “Things we feel but can’t name.” 10;∙9; “Things we do but don’t realize.” 10;

Findings

Several high profile corporate disasters from Enron to Theranos are rooted in undiscussables with dysfunctional top teams stifling questioning voices and slowly creating a culture of fear denial and delusion that ends up leading the company astray. Team members are either unable or unwilling to express what ails them which systematically distorts their formal and informal interactions.

Practical implications

One key insight for leaders who are part of the “undicussable” proble: they need to demonstrate to followers that they prefer it when people push back and make them think.

Originality/value

By distinguishing the four types of undiscussables and delineating a fix for each the interview shows how to create a team context where criticism is an expected norm and questioning each other’s reasoning is not viewed as disloyal but rather as a valuable chance to learn and improve together.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2013

John Sterling

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525

Abstract

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

John Sterling

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276

Abstract

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2013

Michael A. Katovich

In this chapter I attempt to merge Athens’ conception of domination as a complex interactionist concept with Goffman’s notion of demeanor and deference as lynchpins of…

Abstract

In this chapter I attempt to merge Athens’ conception of domination as a complex interactionist concept with Goffman’s notion of demeanor and deference as lynchpins of dramaturgical analysis. I ground the merger in an analysis of metaphorical duel between a superordinate and subordinate in the TV show Mad Men. The examination of this metaphorical dual also implies a connection between a radical interactionism as defined by Athens and a radical dramaturgy informed by Athens’ conception of domination. In particular, I propose an examination of civil domination within institutionalized settings in which use of shared pasts and concomitant acts of demeanor and deference enhance the construction of domination between superordinates and subordinates. The fictional representation of a metaphorical duel in the television show Mad Men depicts a struggle for control in which the superordinate demands that a willful subordinate sign a contract which will bind the subordinate to a particular place for an extended period of time. The examination of events leading to signing reveals a complex weave of social acts that combines the force of domination with the artistry of demeanor and deference.

Details

Radical Interactionism on the Rise
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-785-6

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Book part
Publication date: 24 October 2017

Maria A. Moore, John Huxford and Jennifer B. Bethmann

At a time when governmental corruption seems rife and administrations grow ever more secretive, the whistleblower is a crucial resource in journalism’s attempts to make…

Abstract

At a time when governmental corruption seems rife and administrations grow ever more secretive, the whistleblower is a crucial resource in journalism’s attempts to make accountable those who wield power. Yet despite legislation that is meant to protect employees and officials who expose wrongdoing, a governmental “war on whistleblowers” has made the hazards faced by many whistleblowers increasingly grim. This chapter explores the role of the journalist/whistleblower collaboration in disclosing important, but sensitive, information involving national security. In discussing case studies of those who have braved the government’s anger, we examine not only the circumstances of these breaches, but also their political and legal repercussions.

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Corruption, Accountability and Discretion
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-556-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

John Sterling

Portfolio‐Plus, a PC‐based software tool developed by Strategic Dynamics, facilitates several common portfolio analysis techniques. In a special test for Planning Review…

Abstract

Portfolio‐Plus, a PC‐based software tool developed by Strategic Dynamics, facilitates several common portfolio analysis techniques. In a special test for Planning Review, a company planning team found that the software helped them reach valuable insights.

Details

Planning Review, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0094-064X

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