I don’t often review business books here, but “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and why it matters”, by Richard Rumelt is an exception.
For my audience, the best feature is that Rumelt is an engineer by training. He explains strategy from an engineering and scientific perspective. He begins his discussion by going over examples where a mission, or a set of buzz-word heavy press releases substitutes for strategy. From that moment on, you know this is not the normal business book. He picks apart such empty direction with the precision of an engineer, or a dilbert cartoon.
That first part of the book is a quick read, and quite humorous. Its value is in preparing you for the second and third parts of the book. That’s where the real value is.
The second section “Sources of Power”, describes where you can find leverage, or power, that enables a well-thought out strategy to succeed. You’ll learn to recognize drivers that can be part of a great strategy. Most of all, you’ll learn the elements of any successful strategy. On almost every page, I found something that I could apply immediately, and I’ve already found myself thinking through his examples and applying them to our current environment.
The final section “Thinking like a Strategist” provides insight into how to use your brain to evaluate strategies, and to create your own good strategies. In addition to learning to recognize a good strategy, you’ll learn how to create and execute good strategy. You’ll finally learn how to benchmark results of executing a strategy. Most importantly, you’ll gain insight into when and how to consider modifying, or even replacing a strategy that is not giving the results you hoped for.
It’s not often that I read a business book, and walk away thinking “I can use this immediately”. This book gave me that feeling several times. I was constantly finding new ideas, new techniques and tools to help me running our business. It’s well worth the read.
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