The History of Strategy

5 Essential Books for Strategic Thinkers

5 Essential Books for Strategic Thinkers

Good Strategy Bad Strategy This fresh approach to strategic thinking, just published in 2011, begins with tales of battles at sea in the days of Napoleon and continues to explain what kinds of strategies have made the difference for modern companies like Apple, Wal-Mart, Cisco, Starbucks and Wells Fargo.  Author Richard Rumelt shows that many [...]

The Little Shop on the Corner submitted to a Borders-like megastore like Borders

The Borders Tale: What Goes Around Comes Around

If you are interested in the theories of business strategy covered in the blog post below, you may want to read Henry Mintzberg’s excellent book, Strategy Safari:  A Guided Tour through the Wilds of Strategic Management.  For example, Mintzberg and his co-authors provide a more lucent (and compact!) description of Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model [...]

Google's Ngram Viewer shows that planning is falling from favor as strategy rises

The Rise and Fall of Strategy and Planning

Imagine that you could dump all the words of a million books from the past 500 years into a giant database, and look to see how various words have waxed and waned in usage over the centuries.  You could look and see when archaic words like thou and yon disappeared from popular usage.  You could [...]

Abraham Lincoln used the language of empathy and metaphor to communicate strategy to the Amercian people.

Choosing the Words of Strategy

The strategist is one who is concerned about the future of his or her personal, family or organizational life, and spends time and thought considering the best possible direction upon which to set forth. Yes, this makes us all strategists.   Strategy is, simply, chosen direction.  Smaller, perhaps, than the mission or purpose of an individual, [...]

Alfred Chandler -- Author of The Visible Hand:  The Managerial Revolution in American Business

Strategy First… Then Structure

The historian Alfred Chandler of Harvard Business School wrote a seminal book published in 1977 on the history of strategic decision making at the highest levels of Corporate America , including DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil and Sears Roebuck.  The book was called The Visible Hand:  The Managerial Revolution in American Business.  In this work [...]

Metaphors Be With You: The Strategist as Poet

Metaphors Be With You: The Strategist as Poet

Strategy-making begins with an idea.  Without a guiding idea there can be no sense of direction.  Yet many articles and books about strategy do not address a most important matter:  how to generate ideas.  To conceive the essential set of ideas that we call strategy, the strategist must understand and master the art of the [...]

What is a Strategic Decision?

What is a Strategic Decision?

What is a strategic decision, and how is it different from an operational or tactical decision? Strategic decisions determine the grand direction upon which an entity will embark.  Always, strategy precedes action. The object of strategy is to bring about advantageous conditions within which action will occur.  In the military context, this means positioning forces for best advantage [...]

The Strategic Advantage of the Upstart Competitor

The Strategic Advantage of the Upstart Competitor

From the days of ancient warfare, large armies have struggled with an inherent disadvantage: Sheer size presents an easy target for a quick and nimble attack force. The red-coated, regimented British struggled to fend off undisciplined American revolutionaries. The Vietnam era Americans could not defend themselves adequately from the pesky, unpredictable Viet Cong. In the [...]