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Paul Leinwand


One of the architects of Capabilities-Driven Strategy; co-author of The Essential Advantage; expert on strategy-based transformation; Adjunct Professor of Strategy at Kellogg.

Paul Leinwand is a thought leader on strategy, growth, and capability building for Strategy&, PwC's strategy consulting group. Based in Chicago, he is a principal with PwC U.S.

Focus areas:

  • Advises clients on the topic of strategy, growth, and capability building, with a focus on the consumer product and retail sectors.

Recent publications:

  • Co-Author of three books, Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap(Harvard Business Review Press, 2016), The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010) and Cut Costs and Grow Stronger (Harvard Business Review Press, 2009), as well as several articles in the Harvard Business Review and strategy+business.
  • "Pay Attention to Revenue Growth. But How?", which appeared in strategy+business.
  • "The power of operational POS – From managing at the mean to managing the meaningful", a Strategy& study.
  • "The end of trade 'spending'? Two new approaches can recoup this investment", a Strategy& study.


Mr. Leinwand earned an MBA with Distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington University. He currently teaches at Kellogg as an Adjunct Professor of Strategy.

February, 2016 Harvard Business Review Press

Strategy That Works

Winning companies don’t follow conventional wisdom. They apply five acts of unconventional leadership that allow them to close the strategy-to-execution gap. In Strategy That Works, authors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi reveal the five practices used by today’s winning companies.

December, 2010 Harvard Business Review Press

The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy

In Essential Advantage, Strategy&'s Cesare Mainardi and Paul Leinwand maintain that success in any market accrues to firms with coherence.

July, 2009 Harvard Business Press

Cut Costs and Grow Stronger: A Strategic Approach to What to Cut and What to Keep

For most companies, cost cutting in a down economy means across-the-board slashing that "spreads the pain" of budget reductions across many departments.

February, 2016 strategy+business

Creating a Strategy That Works

August, 2014 strategy+business

The New Supercompetitors

February, 2013 strategy+business

Beyond Functions

June, 2011 strategy+business

M&A in the New CPG Strategy

June, 2010 Harvard Business Review

The Coherence Premium

September, 2009 strategy+business

Cut Costs, Grow Stronger

November, 2008 strategy+business

How to Win by Changing the Game

August, 2008 Strategy& whitepaper

Winning in retail with a targeted store service model

December, 2015 Harvard Business Review blog post

Only 8% of Leaders Are Good at Both Strategy and Execution

December, 2015 Harvard Business Review blog post

5 Ways to Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap

March, 2015 strategy+business blog post

Getting Off the “Bad Growth” Treadmill

December, 2014 Harvard Business Review blog post

The 3 Elements of a Strong Corporate Identity

June, 2013 Harvard Business Review blog post

Focus Your Strategy By Assessing Others'

February, 2013 Harvard Business Review blog post

Rethinking the Function of Business Functions

June, 2012 Harvard Business Review blog post

The Coherent Conglomerate

October, 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post

The Cure for the Not-for-Profit Crisis

June, 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post

Making Your Strategy More Relevant

April, 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post

Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities

March, 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post

Create Your Legacy as a Leader

January, 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post

Resolution 2011: Make Your Strategy Coherent

December, 2010 Harvard Business Review blog post

Why Can't Kmart Be Successful While Target and Walmart Thrive?

December, 2010 Harvard Business Review blog post

Stop Operating with a Guild Mindset

December, 2010 Forbes

The Kind Of M&A To Do Right Now

  • Strategy
  • Growth
  • Capabilities-Driven Strategy
  • Bridging the strategy-execution gap
  • Strategy-based transformation
  • Capability building
  • Cut costs and grow stronger

Main industry focus

  • Consumer products
  • Retail


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