Bal­anc­ing com­pet­ing ten­sions: War­wick’s Prof. Her­a­cleous on am­bidex­trous com­pa­nies

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

War­wick Busi­ness School Pro­fes­sor of Busi­ness Strat­egy Loizos Her­a­cleous shared with over 200 in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing Fi­nance Min­is­ter Har­ris Ge­or­giades, a lecture on the essence of busi­ness strat­egy and how com­pa­nies can achieve am­bidex­ter­ity.

Or­gan­ised by the Euro­pean In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment and Fi­nance (EIMF) and Plus500, the Is­rael-based global trad­ing plat­form with of­fices in Cyprus, Prof. Her­a­cleous’s hour-long dis­cus­sion fo­cused on the essence of busi­ness strat­egy and what it takes for a com­pany to be­come am­bidex­trous.

For Mar­ios Siathas, Gen­eral Man­ager of EIMF, it was the right eco­nomic cli­mate to or­gan­ise this lecture, con­sid­er­ing that “the worst is re­ally be­hind us and a bright fu­ture lies ahead.”

Mar­ios cred­ited the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity for this fi­nan­cial up­surge, re­mark­ing on how “their per­se­ver­ance and hard work man­aged to main­tain the level of ser­vices and pro­vi­sion of sup­port at the high­est stan­dard.”

Ofir Chudin, CEO of Plus500CY Ltd., shared this sen­ti­ment, adding that the is­land “has demon­strated time and time again that, even af­ter cat­a­clysmic events such as the eco­nomic and bank­ing crises of 2013, it has the strong de­ter­mi­na­tion and the abil­ity to bounce back, big­ger and stronger.”

Tak­ing as points of ref­er­ence case stud­ies in­volv­ing com­pa­nies such as Ap­ple, Toy­ota, Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, Uber, airbnb, Narayana Hru­day­alaya Hospi­tals and NASA, Prof. Her­a­cleous chal­lenged the au­di­ence to think in terms of bal­anc­ing the com­pet­ing ten­sions of ex­plo­ration — prowl­ing for new op­por­tu­ni­ties—and ex­ploita­tion — us­ing avail­able re­sources to their fullest.

Her­a­cleous stressed the fact that bal­ance is im­per­a­tive and that com­pa­nies have “a lim­ited life­span if you only ex­ploit or only ex­plore.”

He cited the case of Xerox in the 1970s and 80s and its in­abil­ity to in­te­grate the work be­ing done by its Palo Alto Re­search Cen­tre (PARC).

More specif­i­cally, Her­a­cleous touched upon the rea­sons for Xerox’s slow­down, men­tion­ing the favour­ing of the dom­i­nant logic, dis­jointed in­ven­tions that were cast aside, and pol­i­tick­ing “more vi­cious than that in [for­mer US Pres­i­dent Richard] Nixon’s govern­ment” as the main cul­prits be­hind the com­pany’s fail­ure.

He then fo­cused ex­clu­sively on Ap­ple and “the level of ef­fi­ciency with which in­no­va­tion, de­sign, ex­cep­tional fi­nan­cial per­for­mance and pre­mium of­fer­ings are ac­com­plished.”

Bank­ing on Ap­ple as his pri­mary ex­am­ple, Prof. Her­a­cleous ex­plained that the key to am­bidex­ter­ity is to ap­ply a five-tiered frame­work that bal­ances com­pet­ing ten­sions.

Most im­por­tantly, he said, this model al­lows a com­pany to “make strate­gic use of tech­nol­ogy,” “con­fig­ure [com­pany] cul­ture and pro­cesses,” make “in­vest­ment de­ci­sions be­yond fi­nan­cials to­wards am­bidex­ter­ity,” and “har­ness the power of busi­ness sys­tems and net­works,” all linked by “an am­bidex­trous leader” who’s will­ing to em­pha­sise both ex­ploita­tion and ex­plo­ration.

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