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McKinsey Quarterly - Q2 2012 - Put your money where your strategy is

McKinsey Quarterly - Q2 2012 - Put your money where your strategy is

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The McKinsey Quarterly is the business journal of McKinsey & Company. Our goal is to offer new ways of thinking about management in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. We aim to help business people run their organizations more productively, more competitively, and more creatively. Quarterly articles, written by McKinsey consultants, offer practical ideas based on the firm's experience with the world's largest companies and on proprietary research and close ties to academic institutions. Put your money where your strategy is In today's volatile business environment, many companies appear to be surprisingly slow at rebalancing their corporate priorities and portfolios. New research from McKinsey's strategy practice reveals that there is essentially no change in the amount of capital that business units receive and deploy from one year to the next (the mean year-to-year correlation is 0.92). This isn't just an interesting analytic finding; it's powerful evidence that many corporate strategies are stagnant. "How to put your money where your strategy is," the lead article of this second McKinsey Quarterly issue of 2012, shows just how costly strategic inertia can be, explores some of the reasons for it, and identifies remedies. A related article proposes a few ways the corporate center can stimulate the reallocation of capital, talent, and other scarce resources. Finally, two practitioners leaders from Rio Tinto and Honeywell offer suggestions for overcoming inertia. One business function that couldn't be less static these days is marketing. The social-media revolution is forcing companies to rethink their approach to bread-and-butter issues such as advertising and customer engagement. "Demystifying social media" argues that it's time to move beyond experimentation, specifically by connecting social media with the evolving "consumer decision journey" that was introduced in the Quarterly three years ago. Also in this issue, we describe some intriguing ways that companies are starting to use social technologies such as wikis, prediction markets, and other crowdsourcing tools to catalyze more informed strategic dialogue and decision making, while boosting organizational alignment. Finally, "The executive's guide to better listening" provides some practical tips for senior leaders, while Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer offers his own reflections on the power of listening by recounting an epiphany that made him start to hear what he'd been missing.