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Erik

Business owner and strategy consultant. Father of 2 young kids. Interested in history, SF&F and understanding the world and people around me

The Hague, Netherlands | Member Since 2007

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  • Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Richard P. Rumelt
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (127)

    Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader, whether the CEO at a Fortune 100 company, an entrepreneur, a church pastor, the head of a school, or a government official. Richard Rumelt argues that the heart of a good strategy is insight - into the true nature of the situation, into the hidden power in a situation, and into an appropriate response. He shows you how insight can be cultivated with a wide variety of tools for guiding your own thinking.

    E. Smakman says: "Fantastic framework for strategy + how to fail"
    "Fantastic framework for strategy + how to fail"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A book that sounds a bit 'dorky' like this one I normally leave alone for fear of empty words. But I am very happy to have picked this one up!

    Rummelt is a very senior strategist to big and smaller firms, and have seen where they can go wrong: confusing objectives with strategy ("our strategy is to grow revenue"), strategy with excel sheets or (worst of all, and very hot right now) confusing leadership ("a will to succeed") with strategy.

    Instead, he outlines a simple yet powerful method of building a strategy:
    1. diagnose the situation and determine the key challenge for the organisation/firm
    2. develop/create a guiding policy (Porter would say, competitive strategy) to overcome the challenge or reap the opportunity
    3. develop and execute a coherent action plan.

    He goes on the enrich each of these parts, which to a certain extent have been discussed elsewhere (Porter, Ansoff, Hamel, Kaplan) but not in such a concise and easy to follow way.

    The strength of the book is not only in how strategies should be build and executed, but also how many companies go wrong: e.g. that your strategy needs commitment from the organization is ruthlessly attacked: if the entire organisation agrees with the strategy, there is no 'hard' choice involved. A strategy that pleases all in the end does not deliver. Though provoking and pragmatic at the same time.

    What I personally found most pleasing is that Rummelt does not say that planning is better than execution, or leadership is superior or not, but that all are parts in a chain that need to fit together. You need strategy AND execution AND leaderhip AND creativity/innovation AND ...while simultaneously focusing your energy.

    If you are in a leadership or management position in any organisation, private or public, I highly recommend this book for its framework, coherence and ease of understanding, combined with its focus on the essential elements and pitfalls.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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