The Strategy For Strategy

Meghna Pant reviews a book on strategy that reveals how businesses can drop the door-knob polishing management style and surge ahead.

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference And Why It Matters

By Richard Rumelt – 4.5/5

In a world clogged by strategy books telling you everything from how to rule the world to how to tie your shoelaces, I wondered how good Richard Rumelt’s new book ‘Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference And Why It Matters’ would be.

Fortunately, Rumelt – the man also known as the “strategist’s strategist” – doesn’t disappoint. In fact he addresses the very misgivings I had, which isn’t really a surprise considering that he’s always been a step ahead, whether uncovering an overlooked statistical link between corporate strategy and profitability, or forcing management rethink for over four decades.

The best part of ‘Good Strategy/Bad Strategy’ is that it gives real-life examples and a clear definition to ‘strategy’ – a word that’s lost its meaning in the incessant attempts to redefine it. It provides useful tips to business leaders and executives on how to forge ahead through differentiation.

Rumelt encourages executives to ditch the look-busy doorknob polishing management style, and focus on the barriers to success in their particular industry. This is pertinent to today’s corporate environment where companies and even countries seem to be awaiting some magical rescue from their problems.

The core of this book is captured in a story the author narrates. In 1998, immediately after he’d turned apple around, steve Jobs was asked by Rumelt, “What is your long-term strategy?” Jobs replied, “I am going to wait for the next big thing.” According to rumelt, this very thing, of waiting for that predatory leap (in Job’s case it was Pixar and then the iPod), is what distinguishes a real entrepreneurial strategy.

If your job depends on getting it right, then you must read this book.

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