Publisher: The Economist, 2009, 250 pages
Strategy is about understanding where you are now, where you are heading and — crucially — how you will get there. In the area of strategy there is little room for timidity or confusion. A sound business strategy provides the impetus for great success, while a poor or misunderstood strategy can be equally significant — and drive a company out of business. Developing a distinctive, successful strategy means making difficult choices; for example, who to target as customers, what products to offer and how to run the business efficiently.
These decisions, which can be surprisingly difficult, are complicated further by the dynamic, shifting circumstances faced by every business. There are two things we can say for certain about the future: it will be different, and it will surprise. This simple truth has caught out many leading businesses while propelling others to fame and fortune. As if that were not enough there is one other major complication: the fact that many people throughout the organisation will be involved in deciding the strategy and implementing it, making decisions that are strategic in nature. On these decisions hangs the future of the business.
This book looks at the whole process of business strategy: the forces influencing decison-makers, the traps they fall into, and the most effective ways to develop and implement a strategy. It includes examples from a wide range of international businesses and provides classic, perennial thinking alongside more recent ideas about strategy.
A disappointing book. I expected something like the standard The Economists uplifting quality. Instead, it is a run-of-the-mill introduction to strategy, but without a lot of details.
You can miss this one without remorse, even though it isn't bad.