Bettina Büchel

Professor of Strategy and Organization

Bettina Büchel is Professor of Strategy and Organization. She is an expert on strategy implementation, new business development, and change management. Her work is focused on leading strategic transformation programs and working closely with CEOs to build capabilities to deliver strategic priorities.

She says that many strategic initiatives fail to generate commitment and deliver value for businesses because leaders do not adequately address underlying barriers to change, such as gaps in the organization’s capacity to execute strategic changes. Her work is therefore devoted to helping companies increase the likelihood of successful implementation of strategic initiatives.

Strategic initiatives often fail because underlying barriers to strategic change are not addressed sufficiently. So, while leaders develop a perfect strategy, when it comes to implementation, they stumble into political maneuvering inside the company or insufficient capabilities to really execute strategic changes.

Büchel has published several books on smarter strategy execution and related topics. Her book Strategy Execution Playbook: A Trusted Companion for Leading Initiatives is aimed at helping leaders of strategic initiatives increase the likelihood of successful implementation.

She has led custom programs for fast-moving consumer goods groups (Nestlé, Orkla, Barilla), B2B firms (AGC, Tetra Pak, Metso Outotec, Hydro, Nilfisk, TDK, OCP), and specialty chemicals companies (Evonik, Hempel). The custom program she developed for Moroccan state-owned mining and fertilizer firm OCP in partnership with Africa Business School won an EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award in 2022.

She also directs IMD’s Strategy Execution and Change Management open programs, as well as teaching on the flagship Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) program.

A key pedagogical innovation in her portfolio of activities is the use of simulation games such as Strategic Feat, which she co-designed with technology company Ososim in 2009, as well as other board-based simulations on change and sustainability that have since been used in various MBA and executive education programs.

Her academic articles have appeared in leading journals such as the Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, and MIT Sloan Management Review, and she has written numerous case studies based on her work with companies all over the world such as Nestlé, Barclays, SGS, Tetra Pak, Ooredoo Mobile Money, and Best Buy.

In addition to her work with multinational companies, she is currently an angel investor, sits on the board of a small private equity investor, and works with venture capital firms to evaluate and invest in startups.

Büchel was the first director of IMD’s hub in Singapore and previously served as Dean of Programs and Innovation. Before joining IMD in 2000, she worked as an Assistant Professor at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, where she taught MBA and PhD students from across Asia.

Selected publications
Strategic Agility: The Art of Piloting Initiatives
Strategy execution is all about the speed of learning and making the right resource allocation decisions across a portfolio of business efficiency and growth initiatives. To learn quickly, piloting...
Published 7 May 2019
Smarter execution: Seven steps to getting results
Two strategic initiatives out of three fail. They are actually a huge challenge for more-of-the-same, better-and-better , companies. Indeed, their cross-organization scope violates all principles o...
Published 15 January 2008
Facilitating groups to drive change: Overcoming obstacles to moving forward
Perhaps you are in a situation where revenues are falling, profits are also on the red path and you have a team that is blaming each other for who is responsible for this. You have tried to really ...
Published 1 September 2008
International joint venture management: Learning to cooperate and cooperating to learn
Joint venture management is a demanding and continuous process of organizing, guiding and developing, not only within the joint venture itself but also within the partner companies. Relationships b...
Published 1 January 1998
Academic publications
Executive education in toil
This text is the editorial of the Academy of Management Learning and Education special issue on executive education. The authors' approach was to coordinate an international network of scholars and...
Published 1 September 2007
The art of piloting new initiatives
Multinational companies are under more pressure than ever to maintain their competitive edge. One way they try to meet the challenge is by implementing global headquarter-driven strategic initiativ...
Published 1 November 2011
A conceptual framework of the impact of NPD project team and leader empowerment on communication and performance: An alliance case context
New product development (NPD) in an alliance context crosses organizational boundaries and therefore makes team and leader empowerment and communication an ever more important topic for the success...
Published 1 November 2012
Joint venture development: Driving forces towards equilibrium
Based on a process perspective, this paper investigates the development of an R&D joint venture from initiation to termination. The findings propose a model of joint venture development highlightin...
Published 1 November 2002
The performance impact of intra-firm organizational design on an alliance's NPD projects
This research contributes to the intra-organization, inter-organization, and new product development (NPD) management literature by studying the impact of a firm's internal organizational design on...
Published 1 January 2009
Reflections on executive education: The user and provider's perspectives
An interview with insurance executive Julie Harrison of Allianz Group, Nick Shreiber, an executive at Tetra Pak, and Takako Kawashima of Hitachi Institute of Management Development is presented. Th...
Published 1 September 2007
The role of the network lead company in integrating the NPD process across strategic partners
In today's network world, advancement in new product development (NPD) is being driven by different types of networks, joint ventures, alliances, outsourcing and mergers. Managing the integration o...
Published 1 January 2005
Framework of joint venture development: Theory-building through qualitative research
Based on an inductive, longitudinal case study, this paper proposes a framework of joint venture development. The framework is comprised of 3 overlapping stages of development: formation, adjustmen...
Published 1 July 2000
Building Knowledge-creating value networks
This article shows that the most valuable activities in knowledge management focus on creating knowledge networks that extend beyond the traditional concept of communities of practice. 'Business op...
Published 1 December 2002
Managing new business ventures
Based on a study of new product development teams within a mature chemical company which explored the relationship between linkages between team members and their organizational stakeholders and te...
Published 1 June 2005
Managing stakeholders in team-based innovation: The dynamics of knowledge and trust networks
Team-based innovation requires a balance of creative and pragmatic processes both within teams and between teams and their organizational stakeholders. However, prior research has focused primarily...
Published 1 January 2013
Insight for Executives
How “nudges” can prompt changes in behavior 
How “nudges” can prompt changes in behavior 
Acknowledging the importance of “nudging” on the informal networks that make up an organization’s central nervous system is important, as it is this central nervous system that needs to learn and a...
Published 25 November 2022
Better together: Build effective coalitions for sustainable transitions
Better together: Build effective coalitions for sustainable transitions
Companies can’t change the world on their own. To accelerate sustainability transitions, organizations need to start collaborating with multiple system actors from policymakers to societal groups, ...
Published 13 September 2022
Moving beyond ceremonial adoption of change initiatives
Moving beyond ceremonial adoption of change initiatives
50% of initiatives fall into the category of ceremonial adoption, rather than the desired active adoption – successful implementation of the functional benefits and commitment to change.
Published 8 August 2022
Building change resilience to combat change fatigue
Building change resilience to combat change fatigue
How can you best lead a team through change? Alyson Meister and Bettina Büchel explain how to best communicate, plan and prioritize as you manage ambiguity and change in your organization.
Published 20 July 2022
ABS, IMD and OCP: Beyond: An ambitious next level talent development program
ABS, IMD and OCP: Beyond: An ambitious next level talent development program
In 2018, OCP Group – the Moroccan-based world leader in plant nutrition and phosphate industry, and one of the most important employers of the private sector in the country – was a decade into an a...
Published 18 May 2022
Developing your sustainability strategy: Choice of ambition and phasing the transition
Developing your sustainability strategy: Choice of ambition and phasing the transition
Bettina Büchel explores how both setting sustainability ambitions and managing their transition is key to future prosperity.
Published 28 April 2022
Biased boards? How framing affects decision-making 
How we frame decisions can have a substantial impact on the choices we make. Combining strategy and risk discussions through the process of scenario analysis can help avoid bias. he chair of the bo...
Published 14 February 2022
Are you ready for sustainable value creation?
How to move sustainable business solutions from the periphery to the core of your organization.
Published 7 February 2022
Six reasons why businesses must foster a post-COVID global mindset
Even before the pandemic, cultivating a global mindset was challenging. With rising protectionism, remote working and decreased travel, the hurdles for executives have grown higher. But it is preci...
Published 22 December 2021
Three solutions to acute labor shortages post-COVID
In the early stages of the pandemic, carefully managing expenses and avoiding unemployment was a major concern for business leaders; more than 18 months after COVID struck, one key challenge for le...
Published 16 September 2021
How to create a structure to make your business thrive
In an era of fast-changing markets, now is the time to change your approach to strategy. The ISC framework will put your organization on the right track.
Published 11 August 2021
Be aware: Don’t destroy value
Strategic planning processes that do not match the pace of technological changes require a different approach. By moving from an annual to a continuous strategic decision-making process on resource...
Published 27 July 2021
Ceremonial adoption: How to avoid it and embrace change
Many companies struggle to transform because strategic initiatives are not properly adopted throughout their organizations. Here are five principles to help leaders drive sustainable adoption of st...
Published 1 July 2021
Digital automation: Reaping the benefit needs careful planning
Take time to do your research as mistakes can prove costly Shared services operations first evolved about three decades ago so the idea of centralizing processes and having strong IT infrastruct...
Published 27 May 2021
Digitalisation will leave an impact on the future of work
While the jury is still out on the global impact of digitalisation on employment at large, it looks like there is a need to re-evaluate three dimensions of work - the nature of tasks at work, the t...
Published 13 August 2019
What is strategic agility?
Like I mention in my new book, Strategic Agility: The Art of Piloting Initiatives, by strategic agility, we mean the capacity to learn and then shift resources – including cash, talent, and manager...
Published 29 May 2019
Strategy development: Are you making the right trade-offs in the process?
With organisations today facing numerous challenges, from digital disruption to consolidation and maintaining growth, leaders must take a serious look at their strategic options. During strategic r...
Published 1 May 2019
Achieving strategic agility: Why strategic planning needs to be revisited
Many senior executives are mired in a “strategic decision-making conundrum”. On the one hand, rigid strategic-planning processes are hampering the ability of companies to respond to uncertain trend...
Published 26 March 2019
Tesla’s problem: overestimating automation, underestimating humans
Tesla was hoping to produce 5,000 new Model 3 electric cars each week in 2018. So far, it has failed to manufacture even half that number. Questioned on the matter, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, cl...
Published 2 May 2018
Artificial intelligence could reinforce society's gender equality problems
Published 1 March 2018
Apple HomePod is already losing the smart speaker battle
The war for your digital home is waging. Apple has finally followed Amazon, Google and Microsoft by launching a smart speaker with a voice-controlled artificial intelligence assistant. Yet even tho...
Published 7 February 2018
Roll up your sleeves! your role matters
Should corporate executives be held responsible for their company’s strategic initiatives? One would think so. Yet, only 31 per cent of¦individuals questioned recently felt that their management wa...
Published 1 May 2011
Quão pioneiro você é?
Você se considera um profissional pioneiro? Se fizermos uma reunião em seu escritório e discutirmos feeds RSS, computaçâo em nuvem ou hashtags do Twitter, qual é a probabilidade de você nos olhar c...
Published 1 March 2011
Older executives must master new technology
Ask any executive over the age of 50 to define an RSS feed, cloud computing or a Twitter hashtag and there is a distinct possibility you will receive a blank stare. A technology gap exists between ...
Published 5 July 2010
Adoption of intended strategic inititiatives within MNCS: The role of the global team in managing performance feedback from pilots
Global teams are designed to facilitate the implementation of strategic initiatives within MNCs (Ghoshal and Bartlett, 1995). In performing this role, they coordinate strategic actions between head...
Published 1 January 2010
The power of the people: How they can transform countries and companies
The fall of the Berlin Wall began with the Peaceful Revolution in September 1989. As the size of the demonstrations grew, it proved that the majority of the population was against the regime. The m...
Published 8 November 2009
Is risk aversion hindering the impact of executive education?
Despite a continued corporate call for business schools to objectively prove the impact of their executive education programs, the use of activities to ensure and measure such impact remains limite...
Published 24 June 2009
Executive education that works: Business schools must deliver executive education programs that get tangible results
Money is tight everywhere, and executive education is certainly no exception. Pressure is mounting on business schools to show more direct and systematic evidence of a program's impact on either th...
Published 4 May 2009
Wandel durch Prozessbegleitung - ein Leitfaden für Führungskräfte
Unternehmen, die strategische Initiativen mit Hilfe von externen Moderatoren umsetzen, sind unter Umständen erfolgreicher.
Published 2 June 2008
Do's and don'ts beim Durchführen strategischer Initiativen
Um in Wettbewerb bestehen zu können, sind strategische Initiativen ein Muss. Die Umsetzung verlangt, dass vor und während der Implementierung alle am selben Strick ziehen.
Published 1 April 2008
Verstandene Zielsetzungen
Leistungsverbesserung im Unternehmen erfordern klare Ziele, entschlossene Teams, stete Kommunikation und die laufende Überprüfung von "Soll und Sein".
Published 1 August 2007
Le virage de Nestlé vers le business du bien-être
A la recherche de relais de croissance, le géant suisse de l'alimentation a entrepris de revoir toutes ses activités à l'aune de la nutrition et de la santé, deux secteurs en plein boom.
Published 1 June 2007
Managing partner relations in joint ventures
Although much has been written about how to manage joint ventures effectively, an estimated 50% to 60% of them fail. Examining joint ventures at General Mills and Nestlé, Ericsson and Hewlett-Packa...
Published 1 August 2003
Execution and Change Fieldbook
Execution and Change Fieldbook
The goal of this fieldbook is to provide you with support in executing and ensuring change around the initiative that you or your team is in charge of. Over the last couple of years of our work wit...
Published 1 January 2000
The Art of Piloting Initiatives