My List0

We've now made it easier for you to research and save your favorite keynotes speakers. Click on the + sign to add a speaker to your Speaker List and email your favorites to colleagues and friends.

using System.Text.RegularExpressions;
Rita McGrath Speaker

Rita McGrath

    • Aurthor, Speaker, Consultant
Full Bio
In Person-Fee 🛈

$30,000 - $50,000

Virtual Fee:

Please Inquire

Travels From

New York

Excerpts from the End of the Competitive Advantage

Excerpts from the End of the Competitive Advantage

Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath Speaker Biography

Rita Gunther McGrath, a Professor at Columbia Business School, is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on strategy and innovation with particular emphasis on developing sound strategy in uncertain and volatile environments. Her ideas are widely used by leading organizations throughout the world, who describe her thinking as sometimes provocative, but unfailingly stimulating. She fosters a fresh approach to strategy amongst those with whom she works. Thinkers50 presented Rita with the #1 award for Strategy, the Distinguished Achievement Award, in 2013. Rita is in their top ten global list of management thinkers overall. She has also been inducted into the Strategic Management Society “Fellows” in recognition of her impact on the field.

Rita maintains an active social media presence, and has been rated one of the 25 smartest women to follow on Twitter by Fast Company Magazine. She consistently appears in rankings of the top business school professors to follow on that medium: Professors on Twitter. She authors a regular column, “The Entrepreneurial Strategist” for Inc Magazine and blogs regularly at HBR.org. Rita is also one of the Wall Street Journal’s Experts.

Rita’s new, best-selling book, is titled The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, which was recognized by Strategy+Business as the #1 business book of the year. Rita has co-authored three previous books: Discovery Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity (2009); MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves that Drive Exceptional Business Growth (2005); and The Entrepreneurial Mindset (2000), all published by Harvard Business Review Press. MarketBusters has been translated into ten languages and was named one of the best business books of 2005 by Strategy+Business.

Rita is one of the most widely published authors in the Harvard Business Review, including the best-selling “Discovery Driven Planning” (1995), which was recognized as an early articulation of today’s “lean” startup philosophy and has been praised by Clayton Christensen as one of the most important ideas in management - ever. She is a highly-respected academic researcher whose work has won awards from the most prestigious management journals.

Rita joined the faculty of Columbia Business School in 1993. Prior to life in academia, she was an IT director, worked in the political arena, and founded two startups. She received her Ph.D. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has degrees with honors from Barnard College and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She is married and is proud to be the mother of two delightful grownups.

End of Competitive Advantage

For years, the ultimate goal of the strategy was presumed to be a ‘sustainable’ competitive advantage. Strategy when advantages are not sustainable, however, can be just as powerful. It does require completely different approaches to budgeting, resources, and talent management, as well as an increased emphasis on creating a pipeline of innovations. This talk describes some of the counter-intuitive aspects of dynamic strategies, for example, that it may make sense to sub-optimize some processes in the interests of preserving flexibility.


Business Model Competition

Traditionally, people have thought of competition between firms within an industry. Increasingly, we are learning that the most significant competition can arise from companies from different industries or with different business models, as industries blur and competitive advantages shift. In this talk, the business model concept is described, the tell-tale signs of business model erosion are identified and ideas for discovering your next business model are discussed. This can be extremely hands-on, with a workshop component if that is desired, and include a diagnostic for the robustness of a business model. This talk was featured in a Harvard Business Review article published in January of 2011.


Discovery Driven Planning

Discovery Driven Planning is a planning and learning process that helps executives systematically convert assumptions to knowledge so that they can access significant opportunities while containing risk. The core premise of the method is that when there isn’t enough information to develop a conventional business plan, the thrust of planning must instead be on learning, while at the same time reducing cost and risk. Conventional planning tends to lock an organization in, too early, to a specific operational trajectory. Discovery driven planning comprises five interdependent practices: 1) define success and drive the plan from this definition; 2) benchmark against key external variables; 3) think through operational specifications; 4) document assumptions and 5) re-assess assumptions and goals at key checkpoints. It imposes strict discipline on new projects, but discipline that is appropriate to their uncertain nature. 


Opportunity Portfolio

While it should be obvious that companies need to use different practices for new ventures that are highly uncertain than they do for their established businesses, all too often this is not what happens in practice. Further, growth strategies often flounder because an organization lacks an effective process for creating a solid growth portfolio. What you want instead is the right mix of initiatives to support the core business, create opportunities in adjacent spaces and invest in options for the future. It’s essential to figure out how to best align your growth strategy with the projects and people necessary to make it happen. This session helps participants understand their existing portfolio of projects within a given portion of the company and discuss processes to bring portfolio elements into better alignment. The financial logic that makes sense for each component of the portfolio will also be addressed.


The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Three critical leadership roles are needed in any company that seeks to develop an organic growth program. The first is the framing and establishing the commitment to growth at the most senior level – if this isn’t done correctly, the organization simply churns in trying to find its way. The second is the internal entrepreneurs who manage specific ventures. And most importantly, and almost invisibly, is the difficult job of the manager in the middle, who has to navigate the political and resource dilemmas of fitting together the growth mandate with individual business opportunities. For this session, real examples of companies who do this well (such as Procter and Gamble and United Parcel Service) are contrasted with companies who have struggled (such as Sony and Motorola).


Making the Most of Intelligent Failures

Most of us suffer from a pervasive anti-failure bias, in which things that go wrong instantly become undiscussable and the potential benefits of failure are lost. Here’s the problem: in fundamentally unpredictable environments, failure is unavoidable. Moreover, it is essential if your organization is to take the risks and engage in innovations crucial to effective competition. Failures are critical to competitive advantages because they facilitate trying more; attract resources and attention; help you learn what doesn’t work; create leadership variety, and help you build skill and intuition. To gain these benefits, follow six principles: 1) Plan to convert assumptions to knowledge; 2) be quick about it; 3) contain the downside risk; 4) uncertainty is genuine, but not overwhelming; 5) intelligent failures are celebrated, and 6) Learning is codified and transferred.


Anticipating Industry Shifts

Industries go through different types of changes that can, to some extent be anticipated. Step changes are sudden and irreversible. Cyclical changes are those that appear and then reverse themselves. Trends are slower but significant. Value chain shifts result in changing power relationships among buyers and suppliers in an industry. This workshop will ask participants to identify key shifts that they can foresee in their industries, and then to consider one of three possible responses: anticipating and preparing for the change; benefitting from second-order effects or even provoking a change themselves.


Change and Dealing with Resistance

If change is the only constant in business life, why do companies still struggle so hard to cope with it? One reason is that there are not many clear, agreed-upon ways to constructively motivate change, inspire those affected and break through the obstacles that stand in the way of moving forward. In this talk, McGrath walks through an approach to dealing with change that addresses these issues and takes on the substantive and symbolic challenges of dealing with resistance. The workshop can be accompanied by a diagnostic tool which change leaders can use to determine where they can usefully place their emphasis.



Related Speakers

Jared Della Valle

Jared Della Valle

CEO Alloy Development 

Dan Quiggle, Crisis Management Speaker

Dan Quiggle

President and CEO of America’s Choice Title Company

Dale Dauten, Organizational Skills Speaker

Dale Dauten

Founder of the Innovator's Lab

Josh Luke, Speaker

Josh Luke

Hospital CEO & Healthcare Futurist

Jack Uldrich Speaker

Jack Uldrich

Illustrates the exponential power of technology and demonstrates how new technology will impact specific industries

Heather Penney, speaker

Heather Penney

Senior Resident Fellow for the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies at the Air Force Association

Jerome Mayne keynote speaker

Jerome Mayne

Humorous Fraud and Ethics Expert

Rory Vaden, Peak Performance Speaker

Rory Vaden

Motivational Speaker & Self-Discipline Strategist

Mike Abrashoff, speaker

Mike Abrashoff

Former Commander of USS Benfold

Alonzo Kelly keynote speaker

Alonzo Kelly

President & Founder at Kelly Leadership Group

Barry Farber, Branding Speaker

Barry Farber

Sales Consultant

Aimee Mullins Speaker

Aimee Mullins

Groundbreaking Athlete



We work with a lot of speaking organizations... Let me tell you - ESB is the best! Matt Meyer is by far the best agent to work with!

Warrior Rising

Everyone on the ESB team (Matt, Sheryl, etc.) has been great to work with for our events. Looking forward to keep working with ESB!

Plexus Worldwide

We had a positive experience with ESB. Matt Meyer is a great communicator and easy to get a hold of. He helped us through the process to make..


ESB was patient, thorough, and responsive during the planning process. Thank you for making this such a great experience for us!


ESB supported our needs and the needs of our speaker throughout the entire process. I highly recommend working with ESB to find your next spe..


"It's always a pleasure to work with ESB. Very professional and personable staff. Thanks!"

Testimonial | Texas Society of Architects

"Excellent! Thank you for being a true partner to our organization and its development."

HCA Healthcare

"They are the only speakers bureau I will even consider using!"

Testimonial | Youth Villages

A wonderful bureau to work with! Big ups to everyone who helped make our event a success. Fingers crossed we get the chance to collaborate fo..

MDRT | Testimonial

"As always, you are the best most responsive speaker bureau I've ever worked with!"

Image Media
Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Call to discuss how we can you help find the right speaker(s) for your organization.

© 2024 Executive Speakers Bureau. All Rights Reserved.

Design and Developed by eBiz Solutions

Get Ideas in 1 hour or less

Executive Speakers Bureau consistently receives praises about our speed and efficiency. From the beginning of your event planning, our extensive online speaker database and resourceful staff allow us to quickly equip you with the best speaker for your event.

Need a last minute speaker? No worries. Our speed and efficiency help us give you ideas for speakers in one hour or less.