George Stalk: Doing Strategy and Managing in Environments of High Uncertainty
George Stalk is a Toronto-based BCG senior advisor. Since 2008, he has been a BCG Fellow, which allows him to spend significant time developing thought leadership that will create value for the firm’s clients.
Outside of BCG, he serves as an adjunct professor of strategic management for the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society and a Senior Fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
George's fellowship research topic is doing strategy and managing in environments of high uncertainty. Inertia is the enemy. Despite increasing strategic and financial uncertainty, most companies will drift along relying on their once-proven business models and global supply chains—with tweaks only to lower costs or improve operational effectiveness.
For many companies, this approach represents a lost opportunity; for some, it is suicidal. At the heart of this research topic is the concept that clients need new ideas about strategy and value chains in order to overcome inertia.
George is a former BCG senior partner and a long-time member of the firm’s Strategy, Consumer, Organization, and Operations practice areas. He has focused his consulting career on helping companies create sustainable competitive advantage and has advised the top management of a range of companies—mostly in manufacturing, technology, and consumer products—throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
George started with BCG in Boston in 1978. He subsequently spent more than a decade in Tokyo, where he studied the sources of Japanese competitive advantage in cost, quality, and, most important, time. That research led to BCG’s breakthrough thinking on the use of time as a competitive weapon and the creation of a practice called time-based competition.
From 1998 to 2003, George led BCG’s worldwide innovation efforts and made advances in almost all aspects of e-commerce strategy, pricing innovation, and exploiting strategic discontinuities. Today, he works with clients to integrate emerging threats and opportunities from rapidly developing economies into their strategies.
George is the co-author of three best-selling books on time-based competition, Competing Against Time, Kaisha: The Japanese Corporation, and Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win. His articles have been published by many leading publications, including Harvard Business Review, where one of his features won HBR’s McKinsey Award, an annual award recognizing the best articles published each year in the magazine. He writes a monthly column for the Globe and Mail in Toronto and speaks regularly to business and industry groups. BusinessWeek identified him as one among a new generation of leading management gurus. Consulting magazine named him one of the industry’s top 25 most influential consultants in 2000, 2001, and 2002.