history of the company

  1. Provide a brief history of the company.
  2. List the top management of the firm and note what experience and leadership skills the executives bring to the firm. If it is a larger conglomerate, list both the corporate and business managers.
  3. What is the principal business model of the firm? (How does the firm make most of its profits?
  4. Search for a vision, mission statement, and statement of values for your chosen firm. Note that not all organizations publish these statements, so you may need to make inferences from the available information. Relevant information is often available at the firm’s website (though it may take some searching) or is contained in its annual reports. You may also interview a manager of the firm or contact investor relations. You may also be able to compare the official statement with the business press coverage of the firm.
  5. Identify the major goals of the company. What are its short-term versus long-term goals? What resources must the firm acquire to achieve its long-term goals?
  6. What is the organizational structure of your focal firm? Would you describe it as following a traditional organizational structure or a holacracy? What key characteristics can you point to as evidence? In what way has this structure had an impact on the firm’s competitive advantage?
  7. Consider your firm’s competitive position and how it has responded to shifts in the external or internal environments. What major strategic change should the firm seriously consider implementing to avoid inertia? Or if the firm is already facing inertia, what can it do to break it?
  8. Trace any changes in strategy that you can identify over time. Try to determine whether the strategic changes of your selected firm are a result of intended strategies, emergent strategies, or some combination of both.
  9. Identify the core competencies that are at the heart of the firm’s competitive advantage. (Remember, a firm will have only one, or at most a few, core competencies, by definition.)
  10. Perform a SWOT analysis for your firm. Remember that strengths and weaknesses (S, W) are internal to the firm, and opportunities and threats (O, T) are external. Prioritize the strategic actions that you would recommend to your firm. Refer to the Implications for Strategic Leaders section on how to conduct a SWOT analysis and provide recommendations building from strategic alternatives.
  11. Where does your firm position itself on the industry life cycle? What are the strategic implications?
  12. What is the firm’s innovation strategy? Does it rely on incremental or radical innovations? Disruptive or architectural? What are the competitive implications of the firm’s innovation strategies?
  13. Are intellectual property rights important for your firm? Can you find what strategies the firm is implementing to protect its proprietary position?
  14. Identify a recent innovation by your firm. What is your firm’s strategy to cross the chasm(s) to achieve mass market adoption of its innovation?
  15. What attributes describe the current major customer segment for your firm? Are these changing? If so, is your firm prepared to meet these new customer demands?
  16. How does your firm organize for innovation? Does it use a closed or an open innovation approach? Is its current approach working, or does it need changing? If it does need changing, in what way?
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