15.361 | Fall 2017 | Graduate

Executing Strategy for Results


Pre-Class Surveys

For most classes, a brief pre-class survey will be distributed the day before class. Survey responses are required, and should demonstrate familiarity with readings and case materials. Each student is responsible for answering each survey question.

Class Preparation Memos

Twice during the course, students must submit a two-page memorandum of analysis and recommendations for a case study or assigned reading. These memos are a team assignment, and can be completed in teams of up to four members. Each memorandum should be typed and double-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins. The two-page limit is for text only. You may attach as many numerical calculations or diagrams as you wish. Class preparation memos can be written for the following case studies or sessions.

Strategic Priorities memo

See the Readingsfor Sessions 1-3.

  • Select an organization that you are interested in. Feel free to select any company you like, provided you have access to a description of their strategy and strategic priorities.
  • If you choose a public company listed on a US exchange, you are most likely to find a description of their strategy in the 10-K (description of the business and management’s discussion of operations), annual report, or presentations to investors.
  • Using the Rumelt and Sull et al. articles to structure your analysis, evaluate the quality of the organization’s publically reported strategy.

Simple Rules Memo

Chapters 1 and 5. In Sull, Donald and Kathleen Eisenhardt. Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World. Mariner Books, 2015. ISBN: 978-0544705203.

  • In the insight into action memo on simple rules you should select a bottleneck from your previous employer that would be a good candidate for simple rules. Describe why you selected the bottleneck you did, and how you would advise your colleagues to develop simple rules.
  • Please use the four step model (i.e., develop strategy for execution, identify bottleneck, formulate simple rules, measure impact) to structure your analysis. Please feel free to use the slides from class as well as the readings to inform your analysis.
  • Please focus on the practicalities of how you would advise your former colleagues to implement simple rules. What obstacles could they expect to encounter at each stage? How could they overcome these? Please be as concrete as possible.

Canadian Compression Corporation

Sull, Don and Stefano Turconi. “Canadian Compression Company: Coping with Complexity.” London Business School Case REF: CS-13-012, August 2013. (Revised August 2014.)

Preparation questions for Canadian Compression Company case:

  • How is CCC’s Middle East & Africa business doing when Victor Belmondo takes charge? What were the external challenges facing the business? What were the most difficult internal challenges?
  • What were the key drivers of complexity in CCC’s Middle East & Africa business? How well, in your assessment, did the simple rules do in managing complexity?
  • What is your assessment of how Belmondo developed simple rules? How well did he develop a strategy? Identify a bottleneck? Craft the simple rules? What did he do particularly well? What would you have done differently?
  • What advice would you give to Belmondo as he prepares to address the CCC quarterly leadership conference? Assuming he wants to apply simple rules more broadly, how should he go about that? Which part of the company is most likely to benefit from simple rules? Whose support should he seek? How could he win their support?

Please answer the question in bold type if you are writing a case preparation memo about this case.

Henkel: Building a Winning Culture

Simons, Robert and Natalie Kindred. “Henkel: Building a Winning Culture.” Harvard Business School Case 112-060, February 2012.

Preparation questions:

  • How would you define a company’s culture? How can you identify a company with a strong corporate culture?
  • How would you describe Henkel’s corporate culture when Kasper Rorsted becomes CEO? What wasn’t working with Henkel’s culture, from Rorsted’s point of view? Have you worked in an organization with a similar culture? If so, what was it like to work in such an organization?
  • Rorsted wants to instil what he calls a “winning culture” in Henkel. What would a winning culture look like? How would Rorsted know if Henkel had a winning culture? Have you worked in an organization with a winning culture? If so, what was it like to work in such a company?
  • In your assessment, has Rorsted succeeded in his objective to build a winning culture? Why or why not? Are the changes he has made sustainable? Would the new culture survive if Rorsted were to leave the company?
  • What is your assessment of the changes Rorsted has made? What has he done particularly well? What would you have done differently?

Please answer the question in bold type if you are writing a case preparation memo about this case.

Silvio Napoli at Schindler India

Bartlett, Christopher A., Michael Y. Yoshino, and Perry Fagan. “Silvio Napoli at Schindler India (A).” Harvard Business School Case 303-086, February 2003. (Revised November 2006.)

Preparation questions:

  • In your assessment, was Silvio the right choice for general manager of Schindler’s India operations? Why or why not?
  • As Luc Bonnard how would you evaluate Silvio’s first seven months as general manager of the Indian company? What advice would you offer Silvio? What action should Bonnard take? Should he leave Silvio alone? Coach Silvio to make specific changes? Is it time to remove Silvio?
  • What advice would you give to Silvio regarding the S001elevators with non-standard glass walls (page 10)? Should he stick to his strategy of making only standardized elevators and reject this order? Make a one time exception? Change the strategy?
  • How should Silvio deal with the challenges he is facing over transfer prices and limited technical cooperation from the European plants?

Please answer the question in bold type if you are writing a case preparation memo about this case.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Sull, Don, Stefano Turconi, and Barbara Muckermann. “Carnival Corporation: The P&O Princess Acquisition (A).” London Business School Case REF: CS-09-015, June 2009. (Revised June 2011.)

Preparation questions for Carnival Cruise Lines case study:

  • Has Carnival or Royal Caribbean done a better job of creating and capturing value? What have been the key drivers of value creation and capture in the cruise line industry? What has driven the relative performance of Carnival and Royal Caribbean on these drivers?
  • How do you explain Carnival’s rise to industry leadership? In your assessment, what were the key factors that contributed to Carnival’s gain in market share? Why did Royal Caribbean fail to maintain its early industry leadership?
  • If you were Micky Arison, would you continue to pursue Princess P&O? Why or why not? Why or why not? Is acquiring P&O Princess consistent with your strategy? What are the major strategic reasons for and against the deal? If Arison decides to purse P&O Princess, how should he proceed?

Please answer the question in bold type if you are writing a case preparation memo about this case.

Brahma versus Antarctica

Escobari, Martin and Donald Sull. “Brahma versus Antarctica: Reversal of Fortune in Brazil’s Beer Market.” London Business School Case REF: CS-04-015-001, 2005.

Preparation questions for Brahma versus Antarctica case study:

  • How would you assess Brahma’s performance? What measures are most important in measuring the effectiveness of Brahma’s strategy and execution? (Hint—cash is king!). How do Brahma’s operating cash flows compare to Antarctica’s?
  • Is the Antarctica merger a golden opportunity for Brahma? How much value could Brahma managers realize through the merger, assuming the integrated it successfully? What, in your assessment, would be the single most important source of value creation through the merger? Are you confident they could execute on this merger? How much would you be willing to pay for Antarctica if you were Marcel?
  • In 1990, Antarctica was better positioned than Brahma in terms of financial performance, brand equity and market share of their respective flagship beers. How did Telles and his management team overtake Antarctica in the following decade? How much of Brahma’s success would you attribute to strategy? How much would you attribute to superior execution?
  • What organizational changes enhanced Brahma’s ability to execute? How important were changes in organizational elements such as information systems, top leadership, middle management, processes, resource allocation, and culture?
  • What role did Marcel Telles play in leading Brahma’s transformation? How did his experience as a trader prepare him to lead Brahma? How would you describe him as a leader?

Please answer the question in bold type if you are writing a case preparation memo about this case.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2017
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments