Speaking

Professor Gulati speaks to corporations large and small around the globe. Some of his speaking engagements include: GE, SAP, Bank of China, Sanofi Aventis, Novartis, Caterpillar, Allergan, Metlife, Target, Honda, Qualcomm, Aetna, Future Brands, Ford, Seyfarth Shaw, SAP, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, LaFarge, McGraw-Hill, Guidant Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Motorola, Lafarge, AIG, Merck, Peninsula Group, General Mills, Abbott Laboratories, Baxter, Sun Microsystems, Credit Suisse, and Microsoft. He has served on the advisory boards of several startup companies and has appeared as an expert witness in business litigations.

Professor Gulati teaches courses in Harvard Business School’s MBA and Executive Education programs. He has directed several executive programs on such topics as Building and Leading Customer Centric Organizations, Managing Customer Relationships, Managing Strategic Alliances, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Sustaining Competitive Advantage in a Network Economy.  He is also active in custom executive education. He has received a number of awards for his teaching including the Best Professor Award for his teaching in the MBA and executive MBA programs at the Kellogg School where he was on the faculty prior to coming to Harvard. Some of the topics that Ranjay regularly lectures on include:


Strategic Thinking for Turbulent Markets: Building a Breakaway Strategy

To achieve success in today’s volatile economy is viewed by many as simply looking for avenues for survival. In the present context, firms are witnessing dramatic shifts in the competitive landscape with intensified competition and increasing commoditization of offerings. Spurred by visions of a dismal future and haunted by intense competition, companies are rushing to cut costs across the board. At the same time there are others who view this time as opportune to break away from the pack. While others are hunkering down, these few are running forward. How do such organizations deal with the seemingly competing sets of demands of cutting back and investing in the future? What do they do to expand while others contract? What tangible and intangible assets to they leverage to create advantage? We will analyze companies in the present context, discuss case studies, and identify how and where you should make changes to the way you lead and make resource decisions. The topics discussed will include:

  • Identify and explore the essential foundations for building competitive advantage in turbulent markets
  • Investigate how firms in a range of industries use creative strategies to build and sustain profitable market positions with top and bottom line growth in difficult markets
  • Cultivate an understanding of how these firms actually implement some of these changes to ensure success
  • The road to building a market driven organization

 

Building Market Driven Organizations

Spurred by visions of the future and haunted by intense competition, companies are rushing to realize the goal of creating a customer-focused organization.  Despite the increasing need for a customer-focused strategy in a competitive business environment there are few paradigms of how companies can change their strategy and organization to become customer focused.  This session presents a roadmap of the stages through which companies evolve as they embark on this journey towards greater market focus. Through a series of cases about firms in a range of industries that have successfully embarked on some of these changes, we will develop a comprehensive blueprint for the market driven organization. Topics will include:

  • What is a market driven strategy?
  • Is a market driven strategy right for you?
  • Obstacles to formulating and implementing a market driven strategy
  • The road to building a market driven organization

 

From Products to Solutions: When, Why, and How?

A new mantra for many organizations today is to become a solution-centered organization. For some firms it is about enhancing the service content associated with their products and for others it is about extending their reach from selling products to selling experiences. While there is much talk of moving away from the old product-centric form to a new solution-centric organization, there is limited understanding of what this precisely means and how to go about it. In this session we will discuss the multiple facets of effective solutions. Using several recent case studies, we will examine some of the key enablers that allow firms to architect, sell, and implement solutions. Topics will include:

  • What is a solution?
  • Key facets of an effective solution
  • Pricing and selling solutions
  • Building solution driven organizations

 

Relational Capital: Managing Relationships as Resources

Firms are now operating in an ever more interconnected world of business in which they have to connect with other organizations up and down the value chain. However, most firms have yet to measure and manage these key strategic relationships.  This session will present the concept of “relational capital” – the idea that firms need to think of their relationships as key assets that must be managed effectively.  The session will discuss how to manage relationships with customers, suppliers, alliance partners and across internal business units for competitive advantage.  Topics will include:

  • The imperatives of relationships
  • Redefining external relationships: alliances, suppliers, and customers
  • Transforming internal relationships: cross business unit, mergers and acquisitions
  • Building interpersonal connections: enhancing trust and creating win-win partnerships

 

Increasing the odds: Building Strategic Alliances that Work!

Strategic partnerships have become central to success in the present economy, and yet there is evidence that more than half of them fail. By reviewing some of the best and worst practices, you will identify and discuss critical factors for the formation and management of successful alliances. Topics will include:

  • The imperatives of forming alliances
  • A classification of different types of alliances and the challenges with each form
  • Why alliances fail?
  • How to build alliances that work
  • How to partner with competitors and win
  • Creating trust in win-win alliances
  • Managing a network of partnerships

 

Designing Next Generation Organizations

In the present context, firms are witnessing dramatic shifts in the competitive landscape with intensified competition and increasing commoditization of offerings. Consequently, firms are struggling with finding ways to organize themselves to be both product leaders while also getting closer to their customers. They must simultaneously be cost leaders while also being on the cutting edge of innovation. How do organizations deal with these seemingly competing sets of demands? In this session we consider some of the latest organizational strategies that industry leaders are pursuing. The topics discussed will include:

  • The architecture of the new organization
  • Linking your strategy with your organization
  • Core business processes in the new organization
  • The role of new leaders in these organizations

 

Leading and Managing Organizational Change

The vast majority of both major and minor change initiatives in enterprises fail. In this session we examine some of the typical pitfalls that firms face when they embark on change initiatives. We look at new models of successful change and consider both the role of leaders and also of followers in initiating and managing the successful transformation inside organizations. The topics discussed will include:

  • How to define a change strategy inside your organization
  • A roadmap for executing a change strategy that works
  • Balancing top-down with bottom-up initiatives
  • Key pitfalls in leading change efforts inside your organization

 

Strategic Thinking for Turbulent Markets

To achieve success in today’s volatile economy requires leveraging more than just traditional assets. Intangible assets in the form of customer relationship management, branding, organizational design and property rights have become important off balance sheet pillars of competitive advantage. In this session, we learn to think more creatively about leveraging your tangible and intangible assets as you develop strategies for building a sustainable competitive advantage. We will analyze companies in the present context, discuss case studies, and identify how and where you should make changes to the way you think about strategy and resource decisions.  The topics discussed will include:

  • Identify and explore the essential foundations for building competitive advantage
  • Examine some of the newest organizational structures and strategies to continually modify those that work best in a dynamic environment
  • Investigate how leading firms in a range of industries use creative strategies to build and sustain profitable market positions
  • Cultivate an understanding of how to build competitive advantage through case studies

 

Transformational Leadership

What are some successful pathways to driving deep change within your organizations? This lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to develop and guide change within organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the attributes of successful leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. The focus is not just on senior leadership but also on those in the middle. It will provide a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves. The topics discussed will include:

  • Leadership as dynamic relationship between leading and following
  • How to operate as a leader without much formal power
  • Mobilizing and driving change from the middle
  • Attributes and skill set of a real change leader

 

Executing on the Promise of Customer Focus

Companies looking to grow in commoditizing markets like to say that they offer customer solutions—products and services bundled into packages that are hard to copy and can command a premium price. But few companies can actually deliver on that promise. Most companies are organized into product-focused business units that allow them to develop deep knowledge and expertise, but that obscure a holistic picture of customers and their needs. Building on my recent research into the challenges of top- and bottom-line growth, I have found that creating customer solutions can be a powerful way to stimulate growth—but only if companies are able to transcend their organizational silos to marshal all of their resources, including new technologies, toward delivering customer-focused solutions. For marketers, making this shift will involve a rethinking of their roles, the development of new skills, and in some cases, and creative agreements with external partners to both keep costs in line and enhance the appeal of solutions.

Using case examples of b-2-b and b-2-c companies, this lecture vividly demonstrates how marketers can creatively develop higher value customer solutions. Topics discussed will include:

  • Strategic dilemmas in commodity markets
  • Rationale for the rise of customer solutions
  • Market impediments to solutions as a key differentiator
  • Internal siloes as roadblocks to customer centric solutions

 

Silo-busting: Transcending Barriers to Build High Growth Organizations

Those firms seeking to make customer centric solutions into something more than just a catchy corporate slogan, have to confront their internal siloes that are typically anchored around products or geography. They face the dilemma of whether to swap out their old siloes with new customer oriented ones or retain the old siloes but then seek out ways to transcend those existing siloes so that they operate in a more synchronous way. This lecture will not only elaborate on when firms should bust old siloes and when they should transcend them, but it will provide a detailed discussion of the tactics to manage such efforts. Managers will learn about to build internal bridges across siloes and gain insights into how to become those effective bridge builders. Some of the topics covered will include:

  • When to bust and when to bridge existing siloes
  • Strategies for connecting internal siloes to ensure synchronicity
  • Individual strategies for managerial survival on the intersection of siloes
  • How to become a bridge builder across siloes

 

Partnerships in Turbulent Markets

To achieve success in today’s volatile economy is viewed by many as simply looking for avenues for survival. In the present context, firms are witnessing dramatic shifts in the competitive landscape with intensified competition and increasing commoditization of offerings. Spurred by visions of a dismal future and haunted by intense competition, companies are rushing to cut costs across the board. At the same time there are others who view this time as opportune to break away from the pack. While others are hunkering down, these few are running forward. How do such organizations deal with the seemingly competing sets of demands of cutting back and investing in the future? What do they do to expand while others contract? What tangible and intangible assets do they leverage to create advantage?  We will discuss how some companies succeed by “shrinking their core and expanding their periphery” whereby they leverage partners for activities close to their core that may be key inputs while at the same time also connecting with others who offer complementary products and services and in turn arllow them to expand their periphery of offerings to their customers. We will thus focus in particular on the role of strategic partnerships in driving advantage for firms in these difficult times.

We will start by discussing how firms are now operating in an ever more interconnected world of business in which they have to connect with other organizations up and down the value chain. However, most firms have yet to measure and manage these key strategic relationships.  This session will present the concept of “relational capital” – the idea that firms need to think of their relationships as key assets that must be managed effectively.

We will also discuss how at the same time that strategic partnerships have become central to success in the present economy, there is evidence that more than half of them fail. By reviewing some of the best and worst practices, you will identify and discuss critical factors for the formation and management of successful partnerships. The session will discuss how to manage relationships with customers, suppliers, alliance partners for competitive advantage.  Topics will include:

  • The imperatives of relationships
  • A classification of different types of alliances and the challenges with each form
  • Redefining external relationships: alliances, suppliers, and customers
  • Building interpersonal connections: enhancing trust and creating win-win partnerships
  • Why alliances fail?
  • How to build alliances that work
  • How to partner with competitors and win
  • Creating trust in win-win alliances
  • Managing a network of partnerships

 

 

Instructional Methodology: Ranjay uses instructional methodologies that include proven and effective adult learning tools including, but not limited to: lectures, cases, case discussions, simulations, interactive exercises, small group exercises and events, small group analysis and discussions, team presentation and “action learning.” The learning style tends to be very interactive, both in the full classroom setting as well as when participants have the opportunity to work in smaller groups.