Table of contents
Introduction: The Monkey Story
Chapter 1: Management Happens
- Forced to be stupid
- Collective inertia – if you don’t join them, you can beat them!
- Pharma – the devil is in the detailing
- The Abilene Paradox
- Same same but different
- “Selection bias”
- Numbers and strategy – do they mix?
- Deciding stuff – that’s the easy bit
- How well do you know your company? (my guess is not very well at all…)
- How to make a compelling corporate strategy in six easy steps
- Wanna play Strategy? Get a board game
- “Framing contests”: What really happens in strategy-making meetings
- It looks like we don’t have a strategy…
Chapter 2: The Success Trap
- Why good companies go bad
- Tunnel vision – “in the end, there is only flux”
- The lcarus paradox
- Operation Market garden
- Mental models – let’s all think within the same box
- A Creosote bush: “exploitation” drives out “exploration”
- A bitter pill
- Framing something as a threat or an opportunity dramatically alters what we choose
- In a downturn, manage your revenues, not your costs
- In a crisis, innovate
- Is your company brave enough to survive?
Chapter 3: The Urge to Conquer
- How big is your yam? (not that it matters)
- Deal-eager executives – tribal instincts
- When acquisitions take over
- “Time compression diseconomies” – too much, too fast
- Seeds and fertilizer – how to build a firm
- “I’ve won… I’ve won!”
- Most acquisitions fail – really!
- CEOs, marriage, mergers, geriatric millionaires and blushing brides
- “Heerlijk, helder, Heineken”
- Toads and acquisitions – where does CEO “hubris” come from?
Chapter 4: Gods & Villains
- Narcissus versus Humble Bloke – and the winner is..?
- Are overconfident CEOs born or made?
- Successful managers – incompetent for sure
- Hang the hero
- Celebrity CEOs and the burden of expectations
- Managers and leaders: Are they different?
- Executives: super-human after all…
- “Over the hill and far away, top managers are here to stay”
- Chief Story Teller
- Women on top
Chapter 5: Liaisons & Intrigues
- Analysts, astrologers and lemmings – three of a kind?
- Conflicts of interest – do analysts rate their bank’s clients stock more favourably?
- Banks’ blurry categorisations – have your cake and eat it too
- Analysts rule the waves (whether we like it or not)
- How to tame an analyst
- Sirens and investment bankers – birds of a feather
- Advice or influence? Why firms ask government officials as directors
- Boards of directors: cliques and elites
- Board-cloning – a rewarding habit
- Boardroom friends
- CEOs and their stock options… (oh please…)
- Too hot to handle: Explaining excessive top management remuneration
- How to justify paying top managers too much
- Stock options, risk, and manipulations
- CEOs seek external advice – if you pay them for it…
- Dirty laundry: Who is hiding the bad stuff
Chapter 6: Myths in Management
- Say you will – that’ll do
- Right again! – managers and their self-fulfilling prophecies
- Your expectations manage you
- “Reverse causality” – sorry, but life’s not that simple
- Eating uncle Ed – don’t worry, it’s called downsizing
- Does downsizing work, ever?
- Who can downsize without detriment?
- What management bandwagons bring
- Remember this one: “Total Quality Management”?
- ISO9000 makes you reliable, myopic, efficient, and dull – and unable to invent post-it notes
- How bad practice prevails
- Can we please stop saying that the market is efficient
- Management consultants – happy slapping
- Management consultants – pin-striped pigeons
- Star knowledge workers – you really should not pay them that much, you know
- Patent sharks
- Information overload – and how to deal with it (if you’re the one loading)
- When knowledge hurts
- R&D – it’s a steal?
Chapter 7: Making Far-reaching Decisions (when you can’t see a fricking thing ahead of you)
- Binoculars in the mist
- The Red Queen
- “Today’s fast-changing business environment”? – same as it ever was
- Is innovation over-rated?
- Customers…? Ah, forget about them
- Means & ends; profits & innovation
- It is ok to get lucky – even for a top manager
- Getting lucky – fortune favors the prepared firm
- Sometimes it is about knowing when not to decide
- Retaining your ability to make money? Casual ambiguity’s the answer
- Company cloning – how to change a winning formula
- When to fire your M&A consultant
- Not all trouble is trouble
- Change for change’s sake
- Now change it again!
- “A serial changer”…
- “Innovation networks” and the size of the pie
- Spinning clients – the McKinsey effect
Chapter 8: A Rock or a Soft Place?
- The hidden cost of equity
- “Shareholder value orientation” – now, where did that come from?!
- Who should come first? Shareholders? Are you sure..?
- Human nature: Self-interested bastard or community-builder?
- Down-turn Calcutta firms
- Pay inequality – good or bad for team performance?
- What really caused the 2008 banking crisis?
- The third sin
- “Work-family initiatives”?! That’s rather soft and fluffy isn’t it…
- Corporate social responsibility – nice, but does it earn you any money?
- Taking care: companies make love and money (if their shareholders let them)
Epilogue: The Emperor’s New Clothes