Donald Sull

Senior Lecturer


Donald Sull 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

  • Simple Rules: A New Book by Strategy Expert Donald Sull

    How can people better manage the complexity inherent in the modern world?

  • Where Disruptive Innovation Came From

    Disruptive innovation is a parsimonious theory that explains many business failures. But not all.

  • Starting from Scratch

    After years of neglect, zero-based budgeting is back in vogue. What’s behind the resurgence?

  • Reframing Strategy Execution

    Sull points to how good execution driven from the top is a myth – in fact good execution, which is about an ongoing alignment and adaptation of business units and balancing initiatives in order to...

  • 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...

  • Why Strategy Execution Unravels—and What to Do About It

    Donald Sull explains why strategic objectives are poorly understood.

  • Management Guru Don Sull Talks About Improving Strategic Execution

    “Books and articles on strategy outnumber those on execution by an order of magnitude,” says Don Sull, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

  • Conquering Complexity with Simple Rules

    What do burglars, Stanford’s football team, and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen have in common? They all use simple rules to help them navigate complex challenges.

  • 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...

  • 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...


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