Donald Sull

Senior Lecturer


Donald Sull is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Sull is a global authority on managing in turbulent markets, and directs a week long course on effectively executing strategy in volatile markets. He has been identified as a leading management thinker by The Economist, the Financial Times, and Fortune which named him among the ten new management gurus to know. The Economist listed his theory of active inertia among the ideas that shaped business management over the past century.

He has published five books, including The Upside of Turbulence (2009). His book Made in China was named one of the top eight business books of 2005 by the Financial Times and his book Why Good Companies Go Bad was a finalist for the Academy of Management’s Outstanding Management Book Award. Sull has also written over 100 book chapters, case studies, and articles, including several bestselling Harvard Business Review articles.

As a consultant and management educator, Sull has worked with companies including Mars, Oracle, PIMCO, Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Chartered Bank, Emirates Airline, Baker & McKenzie, Burberry, and Schneider Electric. He speaks regularly at leading management conferences, such as Microsoft’s CEO Summit and the McKinsey Strategy Summit.

Prior to academia, he worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and a management-investor with the leveraged buyout firm Clayton & Dubilier on the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company deal. He remains active in private equity as an investor and advisor to start-up companies. He lives in London and Cape Cod.

Sull received his AB, MBA, and doctorate from Harvard University, where he taught entrepreneurship at the Harvard Business School before rejoining the London Business School faculty as a professor of management practice in strategy and entrepreneurship. Sull has won teaching awards at both London Business School and Harvard University.

Faculty Media

  • Three Steps that Janet Yellen and Stanford Football Use to Simplify Hard Problems

    Many burglars follow just one rule that significantly lowers their risk of getting caught—they pass on houses where there are cars in the driveway, says the book, which Eisenhardt co-authored with...

  • How Companies Can Avoid a Midlife Crisis

    The common perception is that companies, like people, pass through a series of life stages. But executives can avert the seemingly inevitable decline of many mature corporations by viewing their...

  • Closing the Gap Between Strategy and Execution

    In fast-paced industries, companies should think of strategy as an iterative loop with four steps: making sense of a situation, making choices, making things happen and making revisions.

  • How Companies Can Avoid a Midlife Crisis

    Executives can avert the seemingly inevitable decline of many mature corporations by viewing their organization as a portfolio of business opportunities at various life cycle stages.

  • Using Commitments to Manage Across Units

    Executives must often manage nonroutine projects, such as integrating company mergers, filling market gaps that fall between current business units, rolling out large-scale IT systems and...

  • ‘Simple Rules’ for Running a Business

    From the 20-page cellphone contract to the five-pound employee handbook, even the simple things seem to be getting more complicated.

  • ‘Simple Rules’: How to Simplify Your Everyday Tasks

    MIT Sloan School of Management Lecturer Donal Sull discusses his book, co-authored with Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, “Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World.” He speaks on “Bloomberg...


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