ACS on Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review and HBR Ascend have posted essays by ACS Founder Mark Chussil. They are about competitive strategy, decision-making, careers, and life.

[Apologies: As of August 29, 2021, the HBR Ascend links are not working]

When to Switch Strategy in a Crisis

When a crisis hits, do not assume you should change your competitive strategy only because something has changed and the knee-jerk, do something alarm is roaring. Companies rightly seek agility and fear complacency. But consider the flip side: The more zealously you monitor the world, the more likely you will react to noise instead of signal. And this: The better your current strategy, the more likely a new strategy will be worse., February 3, 2021.

How the Lockdown Helped Us Reinvent our Work-Life

“We will exit our lockdowns. When we do, we should not return to normal but rather create a better normal. In other words, we should disrupt.”, July 20, 2020.

Three Unexpected Best Practices for Making Better Decisions

“We don’t get life-changing insight by solving small mysteries. We need to dig deeper.”, November 20, 2019.

How to Take Charge of Your Career Development

“Congratulations! You have promoted yourself. You are now your boss. Here are five ways to wield your newfound power throughout your career.”, September 30, 2019.

Becoming a Manager or a Maverick

“When we say ‘maverick,’ we do not mean a troublemaker, contrarian, loner, loser, or outsider. We mean someone who thinks differently, eyes a longer-term future, and focuses on outsmarting the company’s competition.” By Mark Chussil and Benjamin Gilad., February 7, 2019.

Don’t Spend Your Life Making Up Your Mind

“There will come a day when you would give everything you have left to have what you have right now.”, May 15, 2017. Also on

Why Being Unpredictable Is a Bad Strategy

“In business, the opposite of unpredictable isn’t predictable. The opposite of unpredictable is strategic.”, January 5, 2017.

‘Rally the Troops’ and Other Business Metaphors You Can Do Without

“The war metaphor makes an implicit statement about the nature of competing businesses. They’re not merely other firms; they’re opponents in a zero-sum game. They’re enemies who see us as enemies.”, November 25, 2016. Also on

How the Very Best Strategists Decide

“If you want to outperform the crowd, you’ve got to do something the crowd isn’t doing… To do something the crowd isn’t doing, you must think something the crowd isn’t thinking.”, October 24, 2016.

Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists

“There are many ways to split people into two groups. Young and old. Rich and poor. Us and them. The 98% who can do arithmetic and the 3% who cannot. Those who split people into two groups and those who don’t. Then there’s the people who make good competitive-strategy decisions, and those who don’t.”, July 8, 2016. Also on

Keep a List of Unethical Things You’ll Never Do

“I asked my students: who, among you, aspires to take such actions? They were appalled, of course. Then I mentioned that the real-life people who actually took those actions were once just like them. They were young; they were eager; they wanted to do fine things. And yet.”, May 30, 2016. Also on

Don’t Let Your Mistakes Go to Waste

“The experiment isn’t about the rule. The experiment is about how subjects look for the rule. Subjects typically design their series to confirm their ideas, not to challenge them, and then they almost always get it wrong. The obstacle to becoming right is looking for confirmation that you are already right.”, March 1, 2016. Also on

Two Words to Help You Gut Check Your Career

“I came face to face with my own transition from child to MBA when a teenager said two words to me…”, November 5, 2015. Also on

Question What You ‘Know’ About Strategy

“Fortunes are made by noticing such practices and challenging the assumptions behind them. Companies are lost by hardening common practices into shackles. Fortunately, breaking rules is free. All you need is curiosity, attentiveness, and the courage to challenge conventional wisdom…”, July 30, 2015. Also on

A Tournament Pits Strategists Against Each Other to See What Works

“It’s hard to study competitive strategy. As a result, we don’t know much about what actually works…”, June 8, 2015. Contains an invitation and a link for people to enter the Top Pricer Tournament™. Over 700 people have entered so far (as of 2015). Update, July 2020: 2,000 people have entered so far. You can too.

No One Can Think Outside the Box

“A box is a frame, a paradigm, a habit, a perspective, a silo, a self-imposed set of limits; a box is context and interpretation. We cannot think outside boxes. We can, though, choose our boxes. We can even switch from one box to another to another…”, June 5, 2015. Also on

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