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Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School, UK

  • Internationally sought-after speaker on topics of strategy and innovation
  • Awarded various prestigious international prizes
  • A regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. The latter wrote about him: “The London Business School professor is a rising star and his pithy observations are both accessible and authoritative”. It also labelled him “a new management guru”
  • Author of several business books including “Breaking bad habits: Defy industry norms and reinvigorate your business”
  • Dr. Vermeulen worked with Bosch, BP, GE, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lufthansa, Maersk, Novartis, Roche, Sara Lee, Toshiba, Vodafone, and various others.

About The TALK


Why 9 out 10 Companies Do Not Have a Strategy

It is usually only after deciding on a strategy-often with the help of a team of strategy consultants-which is then documented in a PowerPoint presentation and a weighty report, that most firms realise they have to undertake a phase of implementation. Town-hall meetings are organised, during which employees are told to change their behavior, balanced scorecards are reformulated, displaying new objectives and perspectives, and budgets are set aside to support initiatives that fit the new strategy.

Then, nothing happens.

One major reason for that is because “new strategies” are often not strategies at all. A real strategy involves clear choices; a set of choices that defines what the firm is going to do and what it is not going to do. Many strategies fail to be implemented, despite the ample efforts of hard-working people, because they do not represent such a set of clear choices.

In this talk, Freek Vermeulen will share his insights on what it takes to have a genuine strategy, and not one that merely exists on a piece of paper. It requires making choices but, crucially, it also requires changing the behaviour of the people within your organisation. This requires more–a lot more– than just PowerPoints and rousing speeches. Most companies do not follow this path, but if you do, you will create a genuine and sustainable competitive advantage.

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