Good Strategy Bad Strategy

good strategy bad strategyWhat’s the best strategy book I’ve read? Not specifically business strategy, but strategy in general.

A friend asked to borrow one of my books on my Kindle yesterday. While I was scrolling through my books I stumbled on Richard Rumelt’s masterpiece Good Strategy Bad Strategy; this is the best book I’ve read on strategy.

Think about the following: what’s your strategy?

Ask people or organizations what their strategy is and they’ll usually come back with some version of a goal; strategy is not goal-setting. This is the premise of the book, and the reason Mr. Rumelt decided to write a book about strategy.

Think about it, how many strategic planning sessions end with goals as a deliverable? I’ve seen and experienced this many times. It’s why most strategy work is bad strategy work. Strategy is hard. It has to make your head hurt.

I decided to revisit Good Strategy Bad Strategy a little bit, started reading the introduction and found the following paragraph:

Strategy cannot be a useful concept if it is a synonym for success. Nor can it be a useful tool if it is confused with ambition, determination, inspirational leadership, and innovation. Ambition is drive and zeal to excel. Determination is commitment and grit. Innovation is the discovery and engineering of new ways to do things. Inspirational leadership motivates people to sacrifice for their own and common good. And strategy, responsive to innovation and ambition, selects the path, identifying how, why, and where leadership and determination are to be applied.

What is strategy? It’s a coherent guide to overcoming a specific challenge; a guide to behavior. Vision is where you want to go, strategy identifies the obstacles to get there and lays out the way to overcome them.

Check out Farnam Street’s primer for a summary of the book. And check out Good Strategy Bad Strategy if you want to cut through the noise and truly develop a strategy!

Also published on Medium.