Cracked it!: How to Solve Big Problems and Sell Solutions Like Top Strategy Consultants (2018)

By Bernard Garrette, Corey Phelps, & Olivier Sibony (Palgrave Macmillan)

Just used this book for the first time in my undergraduate strategy capstone course with very positive student reactions…

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Solving complex problems and selling their solutions is critical for personal and organizational success. For most of us, however, it doesn’t come naturally and we haven’t been taught how to do it well. Research shows a host of pitfalls trips us up when we try: We’re quick to believe we understand a situation and jump to a flawed solution. We seek to confirm our hypotheses and ignore conflicting evidence. We view challenges incompletely through the frameworks we know instead of with a fresh pair of eyes. And when we communicate our recommendations, we forget our reasoning isn’t obvious to our audience.

How can we do it better?

In Cracked It!, seasoned strategy professors and consultants Bernard Garrette, Corey Phelps and Olivier Sibony present a rigorous and practical four-step approach to overcome these pitfalls. Building on tried-and-tested (but rarely revealed) methods of top strategy consultants, research in cognitive psychology, and the latest advances in design thinking, they provide a step-by-step process and toolkit that will help readers tackle any challenging business problem. Using compelling stories and detailed case examples, the authors guide readers through each step in the process: from how to state, structure and then solve problems to how to sell the solutions. 
Written in an engaging style by a trio of experts with decades of experience researching, teaching and consulting on complex business problems, this book will be an indispensable manual for anyone interested in creating value by helping their organizations crack the problems that matter most.

–Book cover description

Ave Tucker Fellowship

Happy to share that I have been awarded a one-year Ave Tucker Fellowship at George Washington University’s School of Business.

Named after George Washington University’s Board of Trustee member Avram S. Tucker, this fellowship recognizes faculty members who “displayed good teaching performance, as well as recent scholarly productivity, prospects for continued publications in top outlets, and records of research leadership and mentoring of junior scholars.”

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick: People, Probabilities, and Big Moves to Beat the Odds (2018)

By Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, & Sven Smit (Wiley)

Several times a year, top management teams enter the strategy room with lofty goals and the best of intentions: they hope to assess their situation and prospects honestly, and mount a decisive, coordinated response toward a common ambition. Then reality intrudes. By the time they get to the strategy room, they find it is already crowded with egos and competing agendas. Jobs—even careers—are on the line, so caution reigns. The budget process intervenes, too. You may be discussing a five-year strategy, but everyone knows that what really matters is the first-year budget. So, many managers try to secure resources for the coming year while deferring other tough choices as far as possible into the future.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick explores in depth the social dynamics that undermine strategic dialogue and breed incrementalism. It also underscores the real, and very challenging, odds of crafting strategies that will lead to dramatic performance improvement.

–From the Publisher

Promotion to Full Professor

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Another big milestone to celebrate after becoming U.S. citizen a few weeks ago: I was just promoted to Full Professor at the George Washington University School of Business. It has been quite a journey from getting my PhD in 2005, becoming an Assistant Professor in 2006, moving from the West Coast back to the East Coast in 2010, and getting tenure in 2014.

Looking forward to the freedom but also the responsibilities that this new chapter in my career will bring with it…