Strategic Growth and Implementation: Thriving in a Disruptive Landscape



To create wealth in a changing and competitive landscape, managers need to identify and develop opportunities for new strategic growth. They also need to have excellent implementation capabilities to reap the benefits of their new growth initiatives. Yet, most managers and companies struggle or even fail to do so. To address this struggle, management practice and research about strategic growth and about implementation need integration. In this inaugural address, I propose three avenues, which may contribute to this. First, for organizations to become really good at developing new strategies for growth and also at implementing them, they need ambidextrous managers, i.e., managers with the capacity to do two very different things equally well, like being entrepreneurial and strategic, conducting exploratory and exploitative learning, and putting in place top-down and bottom-up strategic processes. The second avenue is about creating close connections and systematic interactions between new growth and implementation activities within the organization and among the actors involved. This pertains to managers across different hierarchical levels and to the involvement of operational managers and employees. The third avenue points to scale-ups as an exciting context for practice and research on growth and implementation. Interest in scale-ups may benefit from going beyond typical macro questions of job creation as scaling-up a company rapidly is full of unique managerial and organizational challenges, and scale-ups have the potential to be impactful forces for positive change.