The Boston Consulting Group

How Robust Is Your Company?

Online interactive accompanying “The Biology of Corporate Survival”

Companies become robust by achieving the right balance amongst competing priorities. Different risk environments call for different approaches to robustness. Use the diagnostic tool below to see if your robustness strategy matches your risk environment.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Please choose the item that best characterizes your company.

Primary geography
Annual revenues (US$)

Let's start by understanding which risk factors
are most prominent in your environment.

For each of the following risks, please select the perceived level of risk that best describes your company's environment.

None Limited Moderate Significant Existential
Collapse risk

 (risk of business model failure)

risk of business model failure

Our industry faces significant collapse risk; changes in our industry are fast and unpredictable; we are vulnerable to being rendered obsolete by disruptors both within and outside the industry.

Fat tail risk

 (risk of rare but large shocks)

risk of rare but large shocks

Our industry faces significant fat tail risk; we are vulnerable to rare but large shocks, such as natural disasters and political turmoil.

Contagion risk

 (risk of domino-like spread of catastrophe)

risk of domino-like spread of catastrophe

Our industry faces significant contagion risk; weakness in one area of our industry could spread easily to other areas and cause a domino effect of contagious adverse shocks.

Obsolescence risk

 (risk of becoming irrelevant because of changing needs)

risk of becoming irrelevant because of changing needs

Our company faces an obsolescence risk; the market is dynamic and quickly evolving; our products and services could become rapidly obsolete if we fail to keep up with the changes in customer needs.

Rejection risk

 (risk of exclusion by key partners)

risk of exclusion by key partners

Our company faces a rejection risk; our ecosystem of partners and other stakeholders is integral to the success of our company. We may become excluded if we fail to remain a productive member of this ecosystem.

Discontinuity risk

 (risk of unforeseen jumps in the business environment)

risk of unforeseen jumps in the business environment

Our company faces a discontinuity risk; there are multiple plausible futures in our competitive landscape. Our environment is unpredictable and may evolve in a way we are unprepared to deal with.

Now let’s review your company’s current strategic orientation.

Please select where your company lies in terms of various trade-offs described below.

  • Emphasis on speed of decision making
  • Unity and common shared values
  • Emphasis on variety of opinions
  • Diversity and productive disagreements
  • Emphasis on efficiency
  • Minimal duplication of functions
  • Emphasis on robustness
  • Duplication of functions
  • BU performance highly correlated
  • High interdependency across BUs
  • BU performance uncorrelated
  • Low interdependency across BUs
Fixed design
  • Loose or weak feedback mechanism
  • Rigid organizational structure
  • Stable business portfolio
  • Tight feedback mechanism
  • Flexible organizational structure
  • Frequent updates in business portfolio
  • Value creation for shareholders
  • Profit maximization
  • Emphasis on competitive advantage
  • Value creation for stakeholders
  • Commitment to mission and values
  • Emphasis on social responsibility
(single future)
  • Strategic planning
  • Long-term horizon
  • Emphasis on prediction of the future
(multiple futures)
  • Frequent updates to strategy
  • Short-term horizon
  • Emphasis on modulation of behavior