Is your company spending too much time on strategy development-with too little to show for it?
If you read nothing else on strategy, read these 10 articles. We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you catalyze your organization's strategy development and execution.
This book will inspire you to:
Distinguish your company from rivals
Clarify what your company will-and won't-do
Craft a vision for an uncertain future
Create blue oceans of uncontested market space
Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy
Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase
Make priorities explicit
Allocate resources early
Clarify decision rights for faster decision making
“I am hard pressed to think of another book that can match the combination of practical insights and reading enjoyment.”—Steven Levitt
Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It’s the art of anticipating your opponent’s next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies—from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history—the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life, and this lively book is the key to that mastery.
Clears out the mumbo jumbo and muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world
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 shows that there has been a growing and unfortunate tendency to equate Mom-and-apple-pie values, fluffy packages of buzzwords, motivational slogans, and financial goals with “strategy.” He debunks these elements of “bad strategy” and awakens an understanding of the power of a “good strategy.”
A good strategy is a specific and coherent response to—and approach for overcoming—the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it will have the greatest effect in challenges as varied as putting a man on the moon, fighting a war, launching a new product, responding to changing market dynamics, starting a charter school, or setting up a government program. Rumelt’s nine sources of power—ranging from using leverage to effectively focusing on growth—are eye-opening yet pragmatic tools that can be put to work on Monday morning.
Surprisingly, a good strategy is often unexpected because most organizations don’t have one. Instead, they have “visions,” mistake financial goals for strategy,
and pursue a “dog’s dinner” of conflicting policies and actions.
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.
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy uses fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and pragmatic ideas to life. The detailed examples range from Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from Nvidia to Silicon Graphics, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Cisco Systems to Paccar, and from Global Crossing to the 2007–08 financial crisis.
Reflecting an astonishing grasp and integration of economics, finance, technology, history, and the brilliance and foibles of the human character, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy stems from Rumelt’s decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity.
Brilliant distillations of the strategies of war—and the subtle social game of everyday life—by the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery Robert Greene’s groundbreaking guides, The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and his latest book, Mastery, espouse profound, timeless lessons from the events of history to help readers vanquish an enemy, ensnare an unsuspecting victim, or become the greatest in your field. In The 33 Strategies of War, Greene has crafted an important addition to this ruthless and unique series. Spanning world civilizations, synthesizing dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts and thousands of years of violent conflict, The 33 Strategies of War is a comprehensive guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the most ingenious and effective military principles in war. Structured in Greene’s trademark style, The 33 Strategies of War is the I-Ching of conflict, the contemporary companion to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Abundantly illustrated with examples from history, including the folly and genius of everyone from Napoleon to Margaret Thatcher, Shaka the Zulu to Lord Nelson, Hannibal to Ulysses S. Grant, as well as movie moguls, Samurai swordsmen, and diplomats, each of the thirty-three chapters outlines a strategy that will help you win life’s wars. Learn the offensive strategies that require you to maintain the initiative and negotiate from a position of strength, or the defensive strategies designed to help you respond to dangerous situations and avoid unwinnable wars. The great warriors of battlefields and drawing rooms alike demonstrate prudence, agility, balance, and calm, and a keen understanding that the rational, resourceful, and intuitive always defeat the panicked, the uncreative, and the stupid. An indispensable book, The 33 Strategies of War provides all the psychological ammunition you need to overcome patterns of failure and forever gain the upper hand.
"The most important book by one of the outstanding military authorities of our time." ? Library Journal
This is the classic book on war as we know it. During his long life, Basil H. Liddell Hart was considered one of the world's foremost military thinkers—a man generally regarded as the "Clausewitz of the 20th century." Strategy is a seminal work of military history and theory, a perfect companion to Sun-tzu’s The Art of War and Carl von Clauswitz’s On War.
Liddell Hart stressed movement, flexibility, and surprise. He saw that in most military campaigns dislocation of the enemy's psychological and physical balance is prelude to victory. This dislocation results from a strategic indirect approach. Reflect for a moment on the results of direct confrontation (trench war in WW I) versus indirect dislocation (Blitzkreig in WW II). Liddell Hart is also tonic for business and political planning: just change the vocabulary and his concepts fit.
If you know Porter's name but haven't yet engaged with his work, you'll find this book an easy and substantive point of entry. But even if you have encountered his ideas (perhaps in a course or an article) and you think you already "know Porter," you are likely in for a surprise.
From his classic frameworks—like the five forces, the value chain, and competitive advantage—to his newer thinking about the five tests of a good strategy, Porter's work is foundational reading for anyone in business—yet many managers remain intimidated. No longer.
Concise and refreshing, Understanding Michael Porter is the essential guide to Porter's thinking on competition and strategy. Written by Joan Magretta, longtime Porter editor and colleague, this book is clearly aimed not at scholars but at doers.
Understanding Michael Porter also features a new Q&A with Porter himself. Learn Porter's current thinking on questions faced in every workplace—from the most common strategy mistakes he sees, to challenges such as finding profitable growth, dealing with market disruption, creating new business models, and competing globally.
Porter's work has never been as timely for so many people as it is today. Master the essential Porter and you'll understand how companies sustain competitive advantages for decades—and why strategy is even more important in turbulent and uncertain times.