The ACS Blog

Innovative, powerful, proven approaches to business war games, strategy simulation, and strategic thinking

Did You Win or Did They Lose?

How do upstarts win? Why do incumbents lose? Upstarts can only win if incumbents let themselves lose.

The Track-Record Fallacy

How do we know when someone is skillful at competing? The thing is, it’s hard to tell the difference between luck and skill…

Rat Beats Human

No one — well, no human — says a rat is smarter than a human; yet, in an experiment, rat beats human. Why? How? The rat isn’t doing anything a human can’t. The rat is doing something a human won’t.

62% Raisin Bran

There’s a theory of competing behind the baloney on a company’s box of cereal. It seems not to fit the company’s number-one corporate value: “We do the right thing, all the time.”

Tripling Sales: A Conflict

The outcome was not only to resolve the classic conflict of top-management stretch goals versus product-management practicality. It was also to preclude the equally classic conflict that comes later, the one about underperforming versus overexpecting.

Secrets of Success

A tool, technique, datum, secret, or incantation may bring you momentary triumph. A momentary triumph isn’t chopped liver but it also isn’t success. Best practices are practices, in the sense of disciplines, expertise, and self-leadership, that you use to create the success you want.

Death by Shark

Your odds of dying as the result of an unprovoked shark attack are roughly 1 in 300,000,000 in the USA. The odds are more than 20 times higher in Australia. Therefore, if you don’t want to be killed by a shark, you should flee Australia immediately for the USA. It’s safer here, except maybe for the gun thing.

Penney Wise, Penney Foolish

J.C. Penney doesn’t have the performance it wants, Mr. Johnson has been tarred and “pundited” as a failure, employees and investors are dispirited, and customers are baffled. Help wanted: CEO.

The Art of War-Gaming

Many executives unconsciously assume competitors have MBAs and behave “rationally.” Those assumptions were never true, but today it matters that they’re not true. It will matter even more in a more-global tomorrow.

Paying for Bad News #1: Closed Minds

I’m not saying the Closed Minds, Distorted Markets, and Stormy World themes are wrong. I am saying I don’t think the evidence establishes they’re right. They might be right, but they’re not right yet. Until they are right I believe it’s worth considering other perspectives.