Bettina Büchel

Professor of Strategy and Organization

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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
Book
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
Book
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
Article
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
Book
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
Insight for Executives
ABS, IMD and OCP: Beyond: An ambitious next level talent development program
Report
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
OCP africa: Building ecosystems for sustainability
Case Study
OCP africa: Building ecosystems for sustainability
The OCP Africa illustrates the challenges of entering a market challenged by unfavorable conditions for the target customer – be it infrastructure, access to market, access to finance, education, e...
Published 30 December 2020
Roche Diagnostics: Accelerating innovation
Case Study
Roche Diagnostics: Accelerating innovation
In 2018, Roche Diagnostics created an open innovation platform through a global Silicon Valley based eco-system venture fund, Plug & Play to have access to a screened portfolio of start-ups in the ...
Published 27 May 2020
Swisscom ventures digital transformation fund: CVC's pitch for the future
Case Study
Swisscom ventures digital transformation fund: CVC's pitch for the future
The case is designed to prompt considerations of the advantages and disadvantages of accepting external money from institutional investors into the corporate venture capital fund (CVC) for Swisscom...
Published 30 October 2019
Scaling agile at Swisscom (Video case)
Case Study
Scaling agile at Swisscom (Video case)
Swisscom started introducing agile work practices within the IT organization in 2016 – 2017 leading to a bi-modal organization. After realizing the benefits, the company started scaling these pract...
Published 5 June 2019
Strategic Agility
Book
Strategic Agility
In today’s increasingly volatile and uncertain environment, strategy execution is all about speed of learning and making the right resource allocation decisions across a portfolio of business effic...
Published 5 May 2019
Looking at digital technologies through the eyes of executives
Article
Looking at digital technologies through the eyes of executives
The business potential of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, intelligent robotics, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain are on executives’ minds in most o...
Published 3 May 2019
Article
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
AI’s bias challenge
Article
AI’s bias challenge
How stereotypes are shaping Artificial Intelligence and what to do about it
Published 18 April 2019
Achieving strategic agility: Why strategic planning needs to be revisited
Article
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 29 March 2019
Why quotas are not enough to improve boardroom diversity
Article
Why quotas are not enough to improve boardroom diversity
Companies must consider more than just how to appoint more women onto their boards. The focus must shift to how to integrate them.
Published 5 March 2019
Is agility the latest management fad? Or not?
Article
Is agility the latest management fad? Or not?
Agility is the hot topic in management, but should all companies introduce agile practices. IMD Professor of Strategy and Organization, Bettina Büchel, shares her thoughts on agility for companies.
Published 26 October 2018
Tesla’s problem: overestimating automation, underestimating humans
Article
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 23 May 2018
Apple HomePod is already losing the smart speaker battle
Article
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 11 February 2018
Transformation journeys: The reasons why and the art of how
Article
Transformation journeys: The reasons why and the art of how
What exactly is a transformation journey, and how could it benefit your organization and your people? Chief human resources officers found out for themselves at IMD’s first-ever roundtable for CHRO...
Published 1 February 2018
Moving from technology to business driven value generation
Article
Moving from technology to business driven value generation
Many executives we meet at IMD ask the following question: How can we use the latest technologies – be it the Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence and others – to transform our bus...
Published 13 October 2017
How to build an agile beast
Article
How to build an agile beast
The €10 billion food packaging business Tetra Pak once faced a dilemma familiar to most multinational corporations. The company was mired in a classic “strategic-agility conundrum” — it lacked the ...
Published 24 April 2017
Putting gender diversity on the board agenda
Article
Putting gender diversity on the board agenda
Today, there are still fewer women than men on company boards, even though in many countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), women have obtained hi...
Published 8 March 2017
Don’t just start a strategy process without thinking about the options
Article
Don’t just start a strategy process without thinking about the options
Once top teams recognize the need to fundamentally revisit their strategy, they need to be critically aware of the key decisions in formulating the strategy process in order to ensure that the stra...
Published 24 February 2017
Execution and Change Fieldbook
Book
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 25 June 2016
Execution and Change Fieldbook
Book
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 25 June 2016
When less is more at your organization
Article
When less is more at your organization
Every business wants to improve employee productivity: that’s certain. What is less clear is how often management practices are examined in order to achieve that improvement, and simultaneously red...
Published 15 February 2016
Article
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
Article
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
Report
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
Article
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
The Art of Piloting Initiatives
Strategic Agility
Programs
New Online
Change Management

Master the art and science of leading change

Successfully manage your organizational change initiatives – from envisioning the change to mobilizing the people and processes that will bring the change to life.

Location: Online Length: 5 weeks Fee: CHF 1,950 Next start: 22 May 2023
Online
Strategy Execution

Lead your strategic initiative to successful implementation

Overcome the key challenges inherent to strategic change, and learn practical frameworks to successfully implement your strategic projects and initiatives.

Location: Online Length: 8 weeks Fee: CHF 2,950 Next start: 10 October 2022