Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: Good Strategy - Bad Strategy

I rather enjoyed Good Strategy Bad Strategy. It's a very back-to-basics approach to business strategy that I found a nice reminder that strategy doesn't need to be that complicated. It's very much a one-idea business book but that's OK in this case.

The author starts by outlining what he calls the kernel of any strategy:
- A diagnosis of the situation/problem/opportunity
- A guiding policy that will guide how the organization will react to obstacles/challenges
- A set of clearly defined actions to achieve the goal

While this seems simple enough, it's very useful in cutting through the BS that normally passes as 'strategy'. Additionally, I like they way he frames strategy as hypothesis that is undergoing continual testing and refinement, not something that is authored once and then cast in stone.

Several other things I liked about the book:
- Lots of good case examples. Some well known ones (Apple, Microsoft, GM...) but also some that to me were less well known (International Harvester, many others).
- One case example, Nvidia, is one I have intimate history with, having competed with them in two of my past roles. He didn't nail it all 100%, but it's pretty well summed.

Stuff I didn't like:
- There's a few places in the book where he plays monday morning quarterback, pointing out failed strategies from the recent past, saying he knew better. Would be good if he'd provided proof that he'd called it when he did, vs after the fact. (He may have, but it didn't leap out at me).

In any case, definitely recommended if you are involved with setting strategy for your organization.

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters


Jurie said...

Glad you liked it! It's one of the best business books I know.

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