Howard Yu, Jialu Shan, Angelo Boutalikakis, Laurence Tempel, and Zuriati Balian analyzed top companies by revenue across four sectors, measuring seven equally weighted factors, then analyzed what leading companies were doing differently.
The pandemic put companies under a tremendous amount of stress. It revealed who is ready for the many changes the near future will bring and who is not. how retail is moving toward direct-to-consumer, omnichannel, and personalized offerings. Stock prices at Hermes, Nike, and Target have hit all-time highs as they have pivoted to e-commerce, in stark contrast to the parade of bankruptcies among some of retail’s most iconic names: Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and JC Penny.
Industry Insight 1: Don’t Play the Zero-Sum Game with Disruptors
They discovered industry specific insights, which also informed more universal lessons.
First, don’t play zero-sum games with disruptors. Looking at the financial industry, companies that explored new tech early were able to develop partnerships and exploit that tech more quickly.
Second, when everyone is digitizing, only going deep sets you apart. Learning aggressively, with a strong viewpoint, helped retail companies find opportunities to differentiate.
Third, in a high-speed sector, you have to branch out fast. Looking at the tech sector, the author saw the importance of knowing what kind of decision you’re making, so you can make it quickly. Universal Behavior 3: To Move Quickly, Be Clear with Your Decision Type
While major carmakers have made strides to pivot to electric vehicles, the ongoing semiconductor shortage has forced companies like VW and GM to halt their production lines. Tesla, on the other hand, was able to “substitute alternative chips, and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks,” explained Elon Musk. This process required quickly rewriting the car’s software, which was possible because of Tesla’s in-house mastery and helped Tesla deliver 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter — up from 180,667 the previous year — achieving a “trophy-case” performance.
Becoming future ready means scaling up capabilities relevant to future competition.
Credit: Howard Yu, Jialu Shan, Angelo Boutalikakis, Laurence Tempel, and Zuriati Balian
Credit: What makes a company “future ready”? Harvard Business Review. (2022, March 21). Retrieved March 23, 2022, from
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