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#9—Ram Charan: Trends & Challenges for Strategists Today

#9—Ram Charan: Trends & Challenges for Strategists Today

Few people have a pulse on the world like Ram Charan does. Ram is an award-winning professor from Harvard and Wharton and a worldwide expert on business strategy, execution, corporate governance and building high-performance organizations.

He sits on seven corporate boards and has worked with the CEOs of some of the world's most successful companies, including GE, Bank of America, Verizon, Coca-Cola, 3M, Merck, Aditya Birla Group and Tata Group.

He is the author or coauthor of 32 books, four of them best sellers, including Execution and Confronting Reality. His latest book is Rethinking Competitive Advantage.

Ram is known for cutting through the complexity of running a business in today’s fast-changing environment to uncover the core business problem. His work takes him around the globe non-stop and gives him an unparalleled, up-to-date insider view of the challenges and trends from inside the boardrooms leading companies.

In this conversation he lays out what you, as a strategist, should be focusing on now, including: why you should focus on cash, not earnings, why the smartest companies have stopped doing strategic planning and what they are doing instead, and what it takes to change the mindset of your CEO, to get them to embrace the customer-centric, digital-first perspective your future will depend on.


"We used to say...strategy first, and then do the execution. That was the case. It's over. Strategy and execution now run simultaneously."

"Digitizing is not expensive. Not doing, is very expensive."

-Ram Charan


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Introducing Ram Charan + The topic of today’s episode

2:00—If you really knew me, you know that...

2:55—What is your definition of strategy?

4:40—Why focus on cash, not earnings per share

8:03—A bit on Execution, and what Ram learned about execution in writing this book

9:30—The importance of external audits

10:30—What to say to the excuse, "I don't have time."

11:15—How algorithms are changing business models

14:42—How organizational structures change because of algorithms

16:00—What are the implications of tech giving us the ability to access a global market?

17:00—How do you approach creating a mindset shift from the top in a company?

19:05—What are you working on now?


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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.