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Strategic IQ: Creating Smarter Corporations

ISBN: 978-0-470-97828-3
318 pages
June 2012, Jossey-Bass
Strategic IQ: Creating Smarter Corporations (0470978287) cover image


In today's world, only the smartest survive. The competitive landscape is littered with graves of well-known firms whose revenues, profits and stock prices rose for decades until they suddenly imploded.
In fast-changing business environments, firms must adapt their strategies and innovate to remain at the top. But many successful firms fail to do so. Instead, they succumb to inertia, hesitate, or stick blindly to their old strategies, until it is too late.

The ability to adapt to change is a measure of intelligence; so why do firms demonstrate such low Strategic IQ? What causes inertia and why is it so deadly? How can leaders help their firms to act more intelligently?

This book identifies the key sources of inertia - strategic, structural and huma - and provides practical advice on how they can be overcome to create smarter corporations.  It is both a wake-up call for successful firms and a lifeline for firms struggling to succeed. 

To successful firms - beware!  You may already be dead!  

To struggling firms - have hope!  It is possible to pass powerful competitors by raising your strategic, structural and human IQ. 

Praise for Strategic IQ

"Hard-hitting and stimulating, Wells' thesis carries a robust message that should make business leaders the world over sit up and think." Archie Norman, Chairman of ITV, UK  

 "Wells makes a compelling case for dramatic change." Ron Sargent, CEO of Staples, USA

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1.1 The Need for Smart Strategy

Chapter 1.2 Low Strategic Intelligence

Chapter 1.3 What is Strategy?

Chapter 1.4 Moderate Strategic Intelligence

Chapter 1.5 High Strategic Intelligence


Chapter 2.1 The Need for Smart Structure

Chapter 2.2 Smart Asset Management

Chapter 2.3 Formal Architecture – Navigating the Architecture Labyrinth

Chapter 2.4 Informal Architecture – Leveraging Social Mechanics

Chapter 2.5 Towards Smarter Structure


Chapter 3.1 The Need for Smart Minds

Chapter 3.2 What is a Mind?

Chapter 3.3 Hiring Smart Minds

Chapter 3.4 Addressing Basic Human Needs

Chapter 3.5 Harnessing Insatiable Human Needs



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Author Information

John Wells is Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. He teaches many courses on strategy innovation and change in the MBA and Executive Development programs, including his own courses on Strategic IQ.
Dr Wells graduated with a double first in physics from Oxford University, specializing in nuclear and solid state.  He received his MBA and DBA from the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F Baker Scholar, graduating first his class, and a Dean's Doctoral Fellow.
Dr Wells has combined a career in academia with extensive business experience. He has been  a senior executive, a director, a business school president, and a CEO. He has also been an advisor, a coach and a facilitator to senior executives and firms, large and small, in numerous sectors of the economy.  He has also advised governments on competitiveness.
Dr Wells has written over 50 cases on strategy and innovation and speaks regularly on the subject around the world. His wide-ranging research interests include business model innovation, social strategy, responsible leadership, relevant learning and family capitalism.

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‘I felt inspired…It presents to HR unbelievers what the leaders in the HR field have been professing for some time. This is no bad thing.’(HR, June 2012)

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