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The Hare and the Tortoise: The race is not to speedy (XII). Corporate Strategy Dealings: Start-Racing-Goal

… the Hare lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up…

The hare and the tortoise, a fable by Aesop.

Such a lovely month of May 2021. As you probably have perceived, I have not been vaccinated yet against the Covid-19. My parents and I, have been waiting for a virus classical traditional approach vaccine (live attenuated or virus inactivated vaccines). We will opt for the Sinovac one (until today, there is no other brand available, here in my hometown, manufactured under the classical methods); even though is less effective than the Pfizer- BioNtech or Moderna or Astra Zeneca. We are worried of any future secondary effects that may arise given the novelty of the mRNA or Viral Vector type of vaccines. For us, it is better to stick to the virus classical traditional approach methods of development/manufacturing, when it comes to vaccination or related health treatments. We perceive that we must be cautious when it comes to our decision making about the new inoculation technologies. In the context of time, a vaccine is an extremely refined and delicate hassle, so better to stick to a much time-honored conventional classic proffer. So we are going to bet for the Sinovac vaccine.

Let´s begin with today’s topic: Corporate Strategy Dealings: Start-Racing-Goal. In the context of time, any of us is always thinking about doing something, whatever your belonging occupation or professional set up. Even if you are lucky enough to have your own resources (either inherited or as a result of a self-made success), we as human beings are entitled to take endless possibilities to do something else than to just exist. We did not come to this planet to be a lazy slug, or to spend our days and nights only sleeping; but to generate or produce something (tangible or intangible) that then could be our grain of sand, our legacy not just for our kids or the next generations ahead.

Those who are physicists, theorists of time, strategists or scientists who are discovering new postulations or medical cures, or new social mechanisms, or new value propositions about how to save ourselves in this planet, etc… We are here because we have a specific mission to accomplish before we will pass away. The techie sector grouped under the Silicon Valley ecosystem or the media broadcasting communication entities, also are here, because they have another integral assignment to achieve before they fade into nothing. The moms of the world are also here, because their undertaking is to make their kids the best, they could (integrally) into their future undertakings… The professors (at Kindergarten, K12 or university) are here to teach us how to develop our brains in order reach our highest potential, farther than to apply all that knowledge they teach us. Our professors are here to ignite our brains into the path of creativity, to be problem solvers, entrepreneurs, discoverers, or curious dedicated employees… The bankers and financial entities are here, because their mission is to provide financial solutions to everyone (big corporates, small and medium enterprises and microbusinesses). Historians are here to help us to make sense of the past and are the gatekeepers of our historical mistakes and successes… Agriculture producers are here not just to yield and harvest the land, but to keep the land “on point” and improve the harvest methodologies to transform it into organic production (as it was before the advent of GMOs and artificial fertilizers)… And so on.. I can name thousands of industries and its respective professionals. WE ALL TOGETHER have a mission on this planet earth beyond our lifetime: And that duration of time living and beyond is what we call a “race of a lifetime”.

Le lièvre at la tortue by Oudry (1686-1755)

Corporate Strategy made simple. With that in mind, whatever is your mission to accomplish, at a leading edge industry, or in the back office industries, or from your garage. If you are where you take decisions, if you are at the top of your organization (no matter if private, or public, or NGO) then you are doing corporate strategy.

If you are a business owner or a member of a Board of Directors or you are invited to a table where decisions are taken at the uppermost level, they you are doing corporate strategy.

If you are reading this saga and belong to the high caliber employees who are superior managers, vice-presidents or directors, then you are paid to do corporate strategy, and you belong to the timeframe of the inherent dealings within corporate strategy. (And that happens, regardless if your entity income only reaches $2,000 dollars per month or 1 billion/monthly).

Wrongly, for decades corporate strategy was defined to serve only those big corporate conglomerates, who had a multiple configuration of business units. Wrongly, corporate strategy was established to help multinational corporations. If you took a course of corporate strategy at any business school, the definition of corporate strategy was adjourned to these low-hanging fruits, and it was coined to help managers and top decision makers to help them to formulate how to grow and coordinate its multimarket activities (i.e., multiproduct, multi-location, and multi-business activities). For Eleonora Escalante Strategy, the notion of corporate strategy is not limited to decision making for the private multinational companies (as Toyota, Alphabet, Comcast, British Petroleum, L´oreal or Marriott, etc), or for those private entities who are planning to grow by mergers and acquisitions. Not at all.

For Eleonora Escalante Strategy; Corporate Strategy is decision making at the top. Moreover that includes all our entities. Including family offices. Including entrepreneurial endeavors and private companies. Including the network of United Nations bureaus. Including your public offices at your country of origin. Every single owner of an entity, when it comes to define and decide what is that entity going to sell or what is it going to do; is doing corporate strategy. And that frame of reference includes the private sector, the public sector, and the NGO sector, of all the industries (and economic sectors) that you can imagine and further.

Corporate Strategy in Business Schools. Traditionally, in the past and in the present, if you decide to take a course about Corporate Strategy during your 2 years MBA studies, your course syllabus was expected to be inundated of material related to competitive strategy, and a bit on how to define your industry appeal (to respond to the question which industries should we be in), or how to do your optimal portfolio of businesses, or how to formulate an effective growth strategy, including to cover when it was convenient to do organic growth, or acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances.

Some Corporate Strategy courses included post mergers and acquisitions integration management, and a tiny portion about diversification, vertical and horizontal integration. If your professor was a bit biased towards human capital, then probably you were going to learn about managing the organization resources and capabilities from the headquarters office. And that has been the scope of the course Corporate Strategy for decades. Nowadays, strategy professors, have divided the corporate strategy course by sub-subjects of domain; and it is usual to find corporate strategy sub-titles as an elective course. Those courses are now named as “Managing Growth”, or “Catching the Growth Waves in Emerging Markets” or “Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital: Partnership for Growth” or “Mergers and Acquisitions”, etc.
Those latter courses is what you will find at the present time at the the top business schools such at Wharton School of Business, or at Harvard Business School or at the Graduate School of Management at Columbia University or at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford or at INSEAD.
But still, by now, you will not find one single course at any Business School about how to deal with “time” in corporate strategy?. Thus, how can we provoke that businesses schools strategic management professors consider to address the variable “time” at the “corporate strategy courses”?

Corporate Strategy Dealings: Start-Race-Goal. Eleonora Escalante Strategy will try to address the variable “time” by connecting the dots to the three current main areas of corporate strategy decision making. At the end of the saga we will reframe the corporate strategy model into a new one.

As I wrote in our last publication, traditionally the three main areas of Corporate Strategy are:

Decisions about the growth positioning and the pace of progress of the entity.

Decisions about how to perform a portfolio analysis.

Decisions about corporate parenting.

And we will explore each of the last areas, using a metaphor: the race of our lifetime. The time elements of a race are basically three: Start, Racing, and reaching the Finish line or Goal. Our outline will cover each of these moments of time with extreme delicacy and detail, applying it to each corporate strategy group of decisions explained above. Please let´s recall the outline:

Our saga outline, updated today.

On my next publication, it is the turn of the “START”.

Before leaving you today, I would like to acknowledge that my critic to the quote of Mr. Klaus Schwab is nothing personal against him. Contrary to that, I am a big fan of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which has been of great impact at Davos, not just to create awareness about the global outstanding issues, but also because the WEF has demonstrated year over year, its strong capacity to open the eyes to the global decision makers at their corporate strategy level. I am immeasurably grateful with the WEF efforts, because every now and then I also use many of their audiovisual short glances that are related to some of my sagas´themes.

If my critic to the quote of Klaus was not well received, I profoundly apologize for it. It was not my heart desire to be acknowledged as such. All I wished was to make a statement, in which Eleonora Escalante Strategy is committed to display that our corporate strategy has to evolve and be improved, as much as the WEF is doing it, in our dynamic quest to create integral value.

The way we teach and perform corporate strategy requires an integral structural transformation. We have forgotten that it is not our role in this planet to compete to provoke harm to the small and slow fish (entities: private companies or public governments who are in clear disadvantage) but to help them to overcome their difficulties. As corporate strategists, including the specialists working at the WEF, our demanding role is to aid the decision-makers to define their scope with an integral view, it is about supporting them on how to deal with a long lasting “notion of time” to thrive not just to be profitable, but in fixing our most global outstanding issues and beyond (which are constantly changing). It is urgent to adopt a new sense of corporate strategy to make this beautiful earth a better one… And I confirm that the WEF is strongly committed to do it.

From my trench, Eleonora Escalante Strategy is also adding its own grain of sand.

To be continued… Thank you for reading to me.

Bibliography utilized to get some ideas when writing today.

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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