Michael Treacy

Author of The New York Times Best-Seller, The Discipline of Market Leaders

Great companies sustain growth through disciplined execution, not just good planning. Michael Treacy shows how to harness innovation and customer loyalty principles by linking strategy to organizational design.

Treacy is the author of the Business Week best seller Double-Digit Growth: How Companies Achieve It - No Matter What, which presents a commonsense approach for achieving superior, profitable growth. He also co-authored the previous New York Times best seller The Discipline of Market Leaders. Treacy has published numerous articles over the past two decades in many popular magazines and journals and is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.

Over the course of two decades as an entrepreneur, management consultant, and former MIT professor, Treacy built four firms that applied his ideas and brought new sources of customer value to his clients. His current ventures include, GEN3 Partners which employs several hundred people in St. Petersburg, Russia, and invents new products for American firms, First Help Financial which provides financing for new immigrants, and Doctor Card which is turning a visit to the doctor into a consumer product that the working uninsured can buy right off the shelf. Treacy applies his singular vision to his own ventures.

The best companies grow on purpose by building their talent, innovation capacity, and management routines in parallel with their plans and strategies. As a consultant, Treacy uses principles from his latest best seller, Double-Digit Growth, to challenge some of the world's best-known companies - in financial services, telecommunications, industrial products, health care, and consumer goods - to diversify and grow profits.

A former professor of management at MIT Sloan School of Management, Mr. Treacy received his PhD from MIT and his engineering degree from the University of Toronto. Treacy maintains an active research staff and is currently engaged in a major research study to understand the discipline that allows certain companies to routinely achieve high performance - in growth, cost control, safety, or other important areas - while other firms struggle and achieve only uncertain results. Many companies have adopted the principles that Treacy has derived from his research and business experiences to drive their own business strategies and build competitive advantage.

Speech Topics

Market Leadership in a Globalizing Economy

Globalization is a relentless march that affects every industry, every job function, every market segment and every company. Globalization of competition is both a threat to established leadership in developed markets and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for dramatic growth in developing economies. This is an overview of this new environment:

  • Understand how upstart competition from developing markets look at the world differently and what it takes to blunt their inherent advantages.
  • Recognize the signs when your market is about to globalize and what actions your firm must immediately take to get on an offensive footing.
  • Explore the hidden costs of opportunistic dabbling in a developing economies and what it really takes to commit to market leadership in these markets.
  • Discuss how local markets are shifting toward common standards of value and how that trend is shifting the optimal balance of locally customized vs. globally standardized offers.
  • Understand how low cost upstart competition will reshape the customer value equation in domestic markets and make it more difficult to obtain traditional price premiums for superior products and services.
  • See the potential to create a globe-spanning operating model, where the best capabilities from around the world can be lashed together to create advances in product innovation, demand generation, and product supply.
  • Recognize the challenge of leaning into the future, all the while balancing the opportunities for greater short term profits in developed markets with the imperative of long term market leadership in an evolving world.
  • Learn to avoid the five common mistakes companies make:
    o Placing short term profit opportunity ahead of BRIC market leadership
    o Targeting value propositions for where the market is today rather than where it is going
    o Organizing for where the business has been rather than where the market is going
    o Delegating international responsibility to foreign nationals
    o Not learning and progressing at the speed of the market

Strategy, Innovation & Growth in a Globalizing Economy

Globalization of markets will bring broadly different companies into direct competition with each other all around the world. To win against this competition, a company will need to harness its knowhow and reach to rebuild globe-spanning capabilities for product innovation, demand generation, and product supply.  This presentation provides a framework for moving forward:

  • Explore how rising transportation efficiencies and coordination capabilities are tearing down market boundaries. 
  • Recognize the four stages of market globalization and how to avoid getting caught flat footed when your market transitions to the next stage.
  • Gain the experiences and learnings of companies in naturally globalized markets, including travel, payments, and freight.
  • Discuss the four capabilities along which markets globalize - product supply, demand generation, product innovation, and customer demand and what will be the next driver of globalization in your market.
  • Evaluate the rise of common customer demands for value worldwide and whether it is occurring in your market.  The biggest variation from market to market is in the mix of customer segments, not the customers themselves.  While some important local customs and traditions will endure, we are all more alike than we care to believe.
  • Explore how to disable the Rise from the Bottom strategy employed by Hyundai, Sany, Ranbaxy and other upstart companies challenging for global market leadership; they build a base of demand through low prices, expand market reach with rising product quality, and then use product innovation to go head-to-head with established market leaders.
  • Learn how other upstarts Globally Exploit a Local Advantage to achieve hyper-growth - including Wipro, Foxconn, and ICICI Bank ? but are in a race against time before their advantages run out.
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Global Standards of Innovation strategy, deployed by companies such as Caterpillar, BMW and LVMH worldwide, in which the companies offer a common standard of product features and price premium worldwide under the assumption that markets will evolve to their standards.  It's a bet they aren't likely to win.
  • Learn how YUM! Brands and AO Smith have Localized their Global Expertise to gain a rapid advantage in developing markets and what advantages and disadvantages this globalization strategy holds.

Leadership in a Globalizing Economy
Achieving market leadership in a globalizing economy is the leadership challenge of a generation.  When the dust settles, everything will be different - the composition of the management team, the design of core capabilities, the locus of operations - except the need for a single culture and a single standard of performance worldwide.  Global market leadership will demand change on a scale that most organizations have rarely seen.  Leaders at every level will benefit from this:

  • Explore the need to construct a compelling case for action for moving from a multi-national to a global operating model and the important role of vision in creating and communicating an exciting picture of the organization's future.
  • Discuss alternative organizational structures and whether your structure reflects where the business has been or where your market is going.
  • Understand how the globalization of operating models will dramatically change the locus of work and hiring needs around the world.
  • Discuss the challenges and solutions to building a unified, high performance culture in an increasingly diverse workforce spread all over the world.
  • Explore how to in-country leadership teams can be built that combine local knowledge with global knowhow - two-in-a-box leadership that partners local nationals with rising star expats.
  • Understand how people recruiting and development must change as a business evolves from a multi-national structure to a global operating model.

National Policy for a Globalizing Economy

Market leadership in a global economy is the fight of a lifetime in which nothing less than the national interest is at stake.  What must policy makers and shapers do to create national policies that ensure competitiveness, job gains, economic growth, and international prestige and security?  There are new rules for the future:

  • Understand how the United States lost market leadership in the textiles industry and with it, almost one million domestic jobs.  Explore how national policies contributed to U.S. companies being unprepared to fight for global market leadership.
  • Explore the role that wage rates, labor productivity, and fiscal policies play in a nation's global competitiveness and how labor arbitrage from one country to the next is changing how companies think about where jobs should be located.
  • Discuss the importance of innovation in driving labor productivity and how both the business environment and education system dramatically affect a nation's ability to sustain innovation. 
  • Explore how four factors determine whether a business environment drives higher levels of innovation - competitiveness of domestic markets, ease of access to capital, labor flexibility, and levels of regulation ? and how national policy shapes those factors.
  • Discuss the important role that immigration policy and education capabilities serve in producing talent of superior skill and motivation and winning the global battle for jobs.
  • Evaluate how corporate and individual tax policy affects where corporate headquarters, operations, and jobs are located.
  • Explore the special advantage that the U.S. post-secondary education system provides to our national competitiveness and what we must do to improve that system in a globalizing economy. 
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