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“How to Think Strategically”
April 17, 2014 Portland State University
This highly interactive talk for an MBA Marketing class will focus on why smart strategists choose strategies that fail and on insights from ACS’ Top Pricer Tournament™. It will include a real-time game that illustrates the value of strategic thinking in surprising, even stunning, ways. To discuss a similar program for your university or executive-education program, please contact ACS.
“Finding Strategic Thinkers”
April 17, 2014 Sponsored by the Portland Human Resource Management Association
How can companies recruit strategic thinkers? How can they look past the shiny optimism of track records to see if a person really does think strategically? This highly interactive presentation will show how, and it will identify the most-important characteristic of effective strategic thinkers.
“Billion-Dollar Surprises: How and Why Business War Games Pay Off” webinar
April 3, 2014 noon EDT
Business war games sound cool. That’s because they are. Business war games are not about war; they’re about learning. They put your knowledge of your business to better use and they lead to much better strategy decisions.
In this thought-provoking webinar you will encounter case studies from real-life companies that used business war games to make tough, important decisions. You will learn:
- What business war games do and why they work.
- Why humans like, and need, business war games.
- When to use business war games and what to expect from them.
“Why Strategies Fail” webinar
April 3, 2014, 7 pm EDT
Strategies fail when strategists choose bad strategies. That sounds obvious until we consider that strategists never choose bad strategies on purpose.
Strategists are smart, experienced, industry-savvy, data-rich, and highly motivated to succeed. They want to choose smart strategies. Yet smart strategists can and do choose bad strategies. We know that because we see the ultimate strategy failure — bankruptcy—even among the world’s largest companies. Not to mention less-newsworthy failures to meet goals.
Why do smart strategists choose bad strategies? The answer has nothing to do with short-term orientation, not paying attention to customers, neglecting innovation, complacency, and so on. Those mistakes are symptoms, not causes.
How can you choose a good strategy? That answer has nothing to do with being the first with the latest factoids, calculating your spreadsheets to another decimal place, inspiring your troops with gallant leadership, dashing nimbly as conditions change, or SWOTing your competitors like flies.
The reasons strategies fail and succeed are simple, deep, powerful, and actionable. We’ll do more than talk about them in this interactive webinar. We’ll demonstrate them.
Upcoming presentations (posted January 12, 2014)
All of these presentations will be delivered by Mark Chussil.
“Incorporating Business Games into Your Recruitment Approach“, at the ERE Recruiting Conference and Expo 2014, San Diego, California. April 23, 2014.
Strategic thinkers are critical to your business, but tough to identify before hiring. Business war gamer Mark Chussil is a practitioner, innovator, and teacher of competitive strategy who’s worked with thousands of executives and managers in Fortune 500 companies around the world. He has learned a lot about what makes a person able to recognize, develop, and select successful competitive strategies, and more importantly, how you can assess someone’s strategic thinking ability before you work with them.
In this session you’ll:
- Learn why track records don’t have a good track record.
- Discover how, why, and what business games reveal about candidates’ strategic thinking.
- Experience a business game in real time, and learn about your own strategic thinking.
“What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You’ve Ever Done?”, based on Nice Start: Questions Only You Can Answer to Create the Life Only You Can Live, at the SCIP 2014 conference in Orlando, Florida. May 7, 2014.
Why do you work? To earn a living; I know. But why do you do the work you do? You could do something else, you could make different tradeoffs.
These questions, and many others, are not about right or wrong. They are about making conscious decisions instead of living on autopilot.
In our session we’re not going to talk about making a living; we’re going to talk about living. Don’t worry, we won’t get terribly terribly serious. No silver bullets, mystical forces, psychobabble, too‐good‐to‐be‐true anecdotes, or be‐like‐me advice. Nothing embarrassing, no putting people on the spot. Just getting real.
Our session isn’t about a technique or a trend. It’s about you, your career, and your life.
In our session we’ll ask, and answer, questions. Essential, thought‐provoking questions such as selecting which tiger to feed, deciding to take a one‐way trip, and what you can do when it’s raining.
Something we’ll discuss will help you save time or avoid anguish. Something will make you smile or feel less alone. Something will trigger an idea or a change.
“Why Strategies Fail,” an intensive workshop for the Association for Strategic Planning‘s 2014 conference in Long Beach, California. May 12, 2014.
Strategies fail when strategists choose bad strategies. That sounds obvious until we consider that strategists never choose bad strategies. At least not on purpose.
Strategists are smart, experienced, industry-savvy, data-rich, and highly motivated to succeed. They want to choose smart strategies. Yet smart strategists can and do choose bad strategies. We know that because we see the ultimate strategy failure — bankruptcy — even among the world’s largest companies.
This is an intensive, highly interactive, thought-provoking workshop designed to challenge conventional wisdom on strategic thinking. We’ll draw on real-life companies such as J.C. Penney, Netflix, Safeway, and more. We’ll demonstrate techniques such as business war-gaming and strategy simulation. You’ll see that what’s remarkable about those techniques is not only that they work but also why they work. You’ll even participate in a strategy “tournament” where you’ll test your strategy prowess.
In this workshop you will learn:
- How the tools we use to help our strategies succeed can make them fail.
- How to avoid the perils of making decisions while being human.
- How to anticipate more and judge less. By the time we judge, it’s too late.
- How to build the most-important source of competitive advantage
“Lucky or Smart”: a webinar for Harvard Business School on March 19, 2014 (posted December 19, 2013)
Mark Chussil will deliver “Lucky or Smart: Did Your Strategy Win or Did Their Strategy Lose?” in the Harvard Business School alumni webinar series, March 19, 2014. For more information about this webinar, please click here.
Strategic Thinking: downloadable document (posted November 14, 2013)
View or download this compilation of highlights from ACS workshops on thinking strategically. Also contains links to dozens of articles on strategic thinking, business war games, and strategy simulation.
Webinar October 24 (posted October 2, 2013)
Mark Chussil will deliver a webinar for SCIP on October 24, on “Why Strategies Fail,” hosted by Cambridge Healthtech in Massachusetts, Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania and ING Direct in Toronto. For registration information, click here for Massachusetts, click here for Pennsylvania, and click here for Toronto. People in other cities may register through any of those links.
Keynote speech November 1 (posted September 27, 2013)
Mark Chussil will deliver the keynote speech for SCIP and SLA‘s “Discovering the Aha Moment” conference on November 1 in Austin, Texas. His speech will be ”You’ve Got the Data. Now What?” Click here for a conference agenda and registration information.
Twitter chat with Harvard Business School Alumni (posted September 3, 2013)
Mark Chussil (HBS 1979, @BusinessWarGame and @NiceStart) twitter-chatted today with @HBSAlumni. You can read the riveting (well…) Storify thread, with comments and links covering business war games, strategy simulation, Competing.com, the nature and skill of competing, and free advice for HBS students.
Essays on Competing.com (posted September 3, 2013)
Mark Chussil recently published these essays on Competing.com:
- Betting on Halos. It’s easy to tell if a business was profitable after the fact. Unfortunately, we have to place our investment bets before the fact…
- Between You and Glory. (Originally published as a guest column on Startup Beat.) Good news! There are only two obstacles between you and glory for your startup…
- Triple Sales! Go upscale! (With Ben Gilad.) We are going to tell you two true stories of conflict between top management and product management…
- Rat Beats Human. No one — well, no human — says a rat is smarter than a human; yet, competitively, rat beats human…
- 62% Raisin Bran. The company didn’t set out to deceive; it set out to compete…
- What Competing Means. People often take it to mean fighting, conquering, leading, or managing…
- The Denial Tree. (With Ben Gilad.) Denial trees are decision trees from which inconvenient truths have been pruned, and they are dangerously popular in real-life business decisions…
Competing.com (posted July 11, 2013)
The competing.com URL used to bring you to ACS, as did (and does) whatifyourstrategy.com. Now the former brings you to the joint venture’s website; the latter is the way to get to ACS’ website. There is no effect on ACS or its website.
Competing.com focuses on competing as a skill. To learn more, have a look at the July 10 press release about Competing.com. On Twitter, follow @CompetingCom.
How and Why Business War Games Work (posted July 11, 2013)
Mark Chussil will present an interactive workshop at the Enterprise Gamification Forum 2013 in New York City on September 23, 2013.
From the session description:
“I’ve run a couple hundred business war games on six continents, most often with custom computer-based simulations. I’ve seen them help Fortune 500 companies make or save billions of dollars. What’s remarkable is not that they work so well. What’s remarkable is WHY they work so well. After all, Fortune 500 companies have smart people, big data, and incentives for success. What can business war games add?”
Click here for registration information.
If you cannot attend the conference and are interested in this program, please contact ACS about conducting it for your organization.
“Why Strategies Fail” webinar (posted June 23, 2013)
Strategies fail when strategists choose bad strategies. That sounds obvious until we consider that smart strategists never choose bad strategies on purpose. On the other hand, smart strategists also don’t choose bad strategies by accident.
Mark Chussil will present “Why Strategies Fail” in SCIP‘s webinar series on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. In fact, he’ll present it twice on that day.
- From 11 am – noon (east-coast USA), 8 am – 9 am (west-coast USA), 5 pm – 6 pm (South Africa). This session is hosted by SCIP South Africa and the University of Pretoria.
- From 7 pm to 8 pm (east-coast USA), 4 pm - 5 pm (west-coast USA), 8 pm – 9 pm (São Paulo). This session is hosted by SCIP Brazil and the Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas (FIPE).
People can attend from any location and do not have to be SCIP members. Those in the Pretoria and São Paulo areas can attend online or with their local SCIP chapters.
“Why Strategies Fail” webinar (posted April 2, 2013)
Mark Chussil will present “Why Strategies Fail” (see description above) in SCIP‘s webinar series on Thursday, April 18, 2013. People can attend from any location and do not have to be SCIP members. Those in the Minneapolis area can attend online or in-person with the SCIP Minnesota Chapter. Click here for more information and to register.
SCIP’s Fellows award (posted March 13, 2013)
ACS Founder Mark Chussil will receive SCIP‘s prestigious Fellows award for outstanding contributions to the strategic and competitive intelligence professions. The award will be presented in May at the SCIP International Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Sync Strategy video (posted March 8, 2013)
Interview, article, and video (posted February 4, 2013)
An interview with Mark Chussil (and others) appears in the January 2013 issue of Aalto University Executive Education Profile (Finland). The interview begins on page 13 in the article “Living Risks” by Joanna Sinclair, and focuses on risk management, business war gaming, simulation, and early warning. “People don’t make bad decisions on purpose — and they don’t make bad decisions by accident.”
Mark Chussil’s 30-minute video “Why Strategies Fail” has been viewed over 6,000 times. (Update, January 2013: it has been viewed over 16,000 times.)
Video and speech (posted December 5, 2012)
Mark Chussil’s 30-minute video “Why Strategies Fail” has been viewed over 4,200 times. It’s from his speech of the same name for two conferences of Chief Strategy Officers (New York, December 2011, and San Francisco, May 2012). You can see the video on YouTube or on “How to Think Better,” which describes ACS’ workshops on great strategic thinking.
Nice Start: webinar for Harvard Business School (posted August 21, 2012)
When he’s not solving gnarly strategy problems ACS CEO Mark Chussil tackles intriguing life challenges as the author of Nice Start: Questions Only You Can Answer to Create the Life Only You Can Live. The Harvard Business School Career Management Webinar Series begins its Fall 2012 program on September 6 with “Nice Start: Now What?”, presented by Mark (HBS MBA ’79). Open to all HBS alumni.
“Suffering Strategy!” Silicon Valley workshop (posted August 17, 2012)
“Suffering Strategy! What We Don’t Know Hurts Us, and What We Do Know Hurts Us Too.” Mark Chussil will present a workshop for SCIP Silicon Valley on September 12, 6 pm – 8 pm, venue hosted by Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, CA. Click here for more information and to register. Why didn’t Blockbuster become Netflix? Why did GM go bankrupt after being the biggest company in the world? Safeway and Supervalu took opposite pricing strategies during the recession; who was right?
“Paying for Bad News” (posted July 12, 2012)
SCIP published “Paying for Bad News” in the April-June 2012 issue of Competitive Intelligence Magazine. You can read and download it. The article also appears as a four-part series of posts on this website.
“Pricing and Pricing War Games” for PDMA (posted July 9, 2012)
Mark Chussil will present a workshop on “Pricing and Pricing War Games” on July 26, 2012, for the PDMA (Product Development and Management Association). Membership in the PDMA is not required. The workshop will be in Beaverton, Oregon (just outside Portland), from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. Click here to register for the workshop. (Registration is being handled by email, as PDMA’s online registration is temporarily disabled.) Click here for more information about the workshop.
Sync Strategy (posted April 27, 2012)
ACS has launched a joint venture with Dr. Ben Gilad, founder of the Academy of Competitive Intelligence and author of Business War Games. The joint venture, called Sync Strategy, focuses on intense, highly experiential programs on strategic thinking for rising-star managers. Suitable for corporate universities, executive-development programs, and more. Please contact ACS or contact Sync for more information.
Powernoodle (posted March 20, 2012)
ACS’ Mark Chussil has contributed three “Powernoodles” as a Powernoodle Expert. The three focus on Predicting Competitors’ Actions, Competitive-Strategy Action, and Scenario Planning, which help you get basic insight into key questions. From Powernoodle’s website: With Powernoodle’s technology you “participate in anonymous, online group brainstorming where everyone has a voice. The best ideas from brainstorming rise to the top through an interactive process of voting, rating and prioritizing.” (Notes: ACS recommends Powernoodle, and has no financial interest in the company.)
And now for something completely different. Mark Chussil is author of Nice Start: Questions Only You Can Answer to Create the Life Only You Can Lead (Inkwater Press, 2010). You can watch a 55-minute video of a mini-workshop based on Nice Start, with Rémy Chaussé, bestselling author of Living Life As An Exclamation Point!. (The video, recorded on March 16, 2012, is also available on vimeo.)
“Why Strategies Fail” for Chief Strategy Officers (posted February 22, 2012)
Mark Chussil will deliver a free one-hour webinar on “Lucky or Smart: How to Judge Your Business’ Performance,” March 2, 2012, sponsored by EMA-I. 5 pm Zurich time, 4 pm London, 11 am New York, 10 am Chicago, 8 am San Francisco. Click here to register and for more information. Update: click to hear and view the webinar, as it was delivered, on EMA-I’s website. Free, non-commercial, no registration required to view the webinar.
ACS is twenty years old (posted February 15, 2012)
ACS is twenty years old this month! Twenty years of business war games, strategy simulators, and workshops on strategic thinking. See also 20 Years of ACS: Plus, Four Great Trivialities about Strategy.
“Lucky or Smart” webinar (posted January 11, 2012)
Mark Chussil will present “Lucky or Smart: How to Judge Your Business’ Performance” in the EMA-I 2012 Webinar Series. It is free. It will take place Friday March 2, 2012, at 11 am – noon east-coast USA, 8 – 9 am west-coast USA. Update: see above for a link to view the webinar as it was delivered.
“Why Strategies Fail” video (posted January 10, 2012)
Mark Chussil was again named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.
Strategy decision test technology (posted January 2, 2012)
ACS has completed major improvements in its analytic capabilities in its strategy decision test technology.
Posted November 22, 2011. Mark Chussil will present “Did Our Strategy Work? A Great Question We Answer Badly” as a workshop at the 2012 SCIP International Conference and Exhibition, May 14-17, in Philadelphia. SCIP is Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals.
Posted November 7, 2011. Mark Chussil will speak on “Why Strategies Fail: Human People, Biased Tools,” on December 9 in New York City. He’ll speak at the Strategic Planning Innovation / Chief Strategy Officer Summit, by invitation only, sponsored by The IE Group.
Posted November 7, 2011. Mark Chussil will conduct a three-day program on strategic thinking and business war-gaming for the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India, November 17-19.
Posted November 7, 2011. Mark Chussil spoke on “Putting Your Strategy to the Test” at The Performance Conference in Orlando on October 20. The interactive presentation focused on the difference between judging strategies after the fact and testing them in advance. It covered “The Five ‘Gets’ to Better Strategic Thinking” and included running about 70,000,000 simulations of ACS’ Top Pricer Tournament™ with the conference participants.
Posted September 10, 2011. Mark Chussil will present a free webinar, “Did Our Strategy Work? Why We Give Wrong Answers to the Right Question,” on September 21 at 12:30 pm EST, 11:30 am Central, 9:30 am Pacific. It’s sponsored by the Strategic Planning Xchange (SPX) LinkedIn group and Method Frameworks. From the webinar description: “Carol Bartz was hired as CEO almost three years ago to turn around Yahoo. The Board of Directors fired her, by telephone, a few days ago because Yahoo has not turned around. In other words, her strategy failed. Or did it?”
Posted August 23, 2011. Mark Chussil will speak at the Strategic Planning Innovation conference (December 8-9, 2011, New York City), sponsored by The IE Group. His topic is “Why Strategies Fail: Human People, Biased Tools.”
Posted July 8, 2011. Mark Chussil will deliver a two-day open-enrollment workshop on Business War Games: High-Impact Strategy Development, for The Performance Institute of the American Strategic Management Institute. The workshop will be held September 26-27, 2011, in Washington, DC. Discounts for groups of 3 or more are available; contact Andrea DiRaddo.
Posted July 3, 2011. View and download a brochure about ACS How to Think Better workshops.
Posted May 23, 2011. View a bibliography of articles and essays by ACS on the subject of why strategies fail, plus recommended thought-provoking books by non-ACS authors. The bibliography is downloadable and contains links to full text online (for articles and essays). The ACS Why Strategies Fail Bibliography.
Posted April 26, 2011. New media! See one-minute videos about “Why Do Our Companies Fail?” and “Lucky or Smart” on YouTube. They’re also on ACS’ site, on the business war games and strategy decision test pages.
View a bibliography of 25 articles and essays by ACS about business war games. It contains a brief description of each article and essay, plus links to the full text online. The ACS Business War-Gaming Bibliography.
Posted March 21, 2011 Mark Chussil will deliver a free webinar on Strategy for the Boston Graduate School of Business. The webinar is on Thursday, March 24, at 1:00-1:30 pm EST. Advance registration required; click here to register.
February 7, 2011 Audio and slides from the How to Become a Superstar Strategist webinar are available. The webinar was recorded on February 1, 2011, and is just over one hour in duration.
January 24, 2011 Mark Chussil will deliver a workshop on “Why Strategies Fail (P.S. We expected them to succeed)” at the 2011 SCIP Conference, May 10, 2011, in Orlando, Florida. SCIP is Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals.
January 7, 2011 Mark Chussil was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.
January 3, 2011
Happy New Year!
Mark Chussil will present a free webinar on February 1, 2011, at 11:00 am USA east-coast time, 8:00 am west-coast time, on behalf of the Enterprise Management Association. The webinar is on “Build Your Skill: How To Become A Superstar Strategist.” Conventional thinking produces conventional decisions that lead to conventional results. Great thinking inspires great decisions that create great results. Learn about picking proper paradigms, learning to learn, resisting the lure of precision, and accepting the inevitability of uncertainty, all illustrated with stories from real life.
You can find a registration link on this page. No membership is required.
Mark Chussil will present a free webinar on January 19, 2011, at 12:30 pm USA east-coast time, 9:30 am USA west-coast time, on behalf of the LinkedIn group “Strategic Planning Xchange.” The webinar is on “Business War Games: Stress-Testing Your Strategy Before You Commit Your Career.” Learn why business war game work and what they are good for; the essential elements of successful business war games; and what you can learn and apply from business war games.
To participate in this webinar you must be a member of the Strategic Planning Xchange group on LinkedIn. To join, go to the Strategic Planning Xchange group. You can review the group’s profile to assess its fit with your interests before you press the yellow “Join Group” button. As a member, you can find the webinar announcement partway down the main page for the group.
November 29, 2010. Now available: a bibliography of 24 articles and essays by ACS about business war games. It contains a brief description of each article and essay, plus links to the full text online. Please write to ACS for your copy.
November 12, 2010. Mark Chussil will teach executive-MBA classes on pricing strategy, “Everyday Woe Prices,” at Willamette University on November 16 and 17. The classes will use, among other things, ACS’ Strategy Decision Test™ technology.
The reaction from those classes: “Mark has a rare skill of being able to communicate complex topics clearly and simply. His talk to my MBA class for professionals on pricing strategy was the highlight of the term. These bright and demanding students learned more in one evening from Mark than they could have learned from reading a whole text book on the topic. Mark’s intelligence, experience and wit combined to produce a fun and effective learning experience.” — Ed Warnock, award-winning MBA professor, the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University
November 3, 2010. An audio recording of Trust Across America‘s live interview with Mark Chussil is now available. Click this link and move to 32:30 on the timer for the 25-minute conversation. Another interview is available, in print, at In Strategy We Trust.
October 8, 2010. On November 30, 2010, Mark Chussil will present a free webinar: “Business War Games: Stress-Testing Strategies Before You Commit.” The webinar is sponsored by EMA-I, the Enterprise Management Association – International. The one-hour webinar begins at 11 am New York time, 10 am Chicago, 9 am Denver, 8 am San Francisco.
October 5, 2010. Trust Across America published a two-part interview with Mark Chussil, Thoughts on Trustworthy Public Companies. You can also see the full interview on ACS’ site, called In Strategy We Trust.
Pricing and Pricing War Games
PRICING AND PRICING WAR GAMES
PDMA Learning and Networking Event
July 26, 2012 — 6:00- 8:30 PM
This workshop has already taken place. It received the highest ratings ever recorded in the 2 1/2 years the PDMA chapter has collected its ratings. Click here to contact ACS to learn more about the workshop and to arrange it for your company or organization.
Professionals in any industry work with tools as they set prices for their products or services: operating costs, ramp-up, S-curves, break-evens, ROI goals, and customer value. We understand the concepts and apply them carefully. How, then, do we end up fighting price wars, disappointing customers, and performing below goals?
For a start, consider what’s missing in that list of tools: anything that takes competitive dynamics into account. That’s where war games and simulations come in, and that’s what we’ll see in action on July 26th.
The Oregon Chapter of the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) invites you to its July Learning and Networking Event. In this highly interactive and thought-provoking program, our experienced speaker will discuss and lead us through pricing decisions, pricing mistakes, and pricing war games. We will participate in simulations that shock, amuse, and enlighten as we ponder how to price effectively.
A special thanks to the Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC) for hosting this event.
Mark Chussil, Founder and CEO of Advanced Competitive Strategies.
Mark has conducted hundreds of war games and worked with thousands of strategists in Fortune 500 companies on six continents, and helped them make or save billions of dollars. He’s a highly rated speaker who’s written three books, chapters for five others, and numerous articles, and who’s earned a patent (another is pending) for simulation technology. A 35-year veteran in competitive strategy, Mark earned his MBA at Harvard and his BA at Yale.
Date, Time, and Cost
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) is the premier global advocate for product development and management professionals. The Oregon chapter’s mission is to help local professionals and organizations to identify, develop, and launch more innovative and profitable products and services through cross-industry collaboration, thought leadership, and the sharing of best practices and practical knowledge. For more information about the Oregon Chapter of the PDMA, please contact: Miki Tokola, Chapter President, at email@example.com.
We encourage everyone in Oregon who is interested in the Product Development and Management Association to become a member of the National PDMA. For a great explanation on the benefits of membership in the PDMA, click here.