How to Recognize a Strategic Priority When You See One

A company’s financial reports can provide critical insights into its strategy — if you know where to look.

As part of our research on strategy for execution, we analyzed how large, publicly traded companies described their strategy in public documents. Our sample consisted of 494 companies included in the 2014 Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) that were still publicly traded at the end of 2015. (See our first article in the series, “Turning Strategy Into Results.”)

To identify a company’s strategic priorities, we examined its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other formal communications to investors.

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