Richard Rumelt is the author of “Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters”. An excellent book about strategy. Hence picking up “The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists”. Focussing on the crux, understanding what is truly important and which is secondary. It is about judging the difficulties of dealing with these issues and the ability to focus, about avoiding spreading resources too thinly by trying to do everything at once. Creating coherent action.
Strategy = Disappointment
For many businesses, strategic planning has been a disappointment. The fundamental problem for most companies is that their so-called strategic-planning exercises do not produce strategies. Instead, they are attempting to predict and control financial outcomes. Put simply, they are a form of budgeting. Important lessons from history are different in each organisation. But the common themes are a lack of support from the top, having too broad a collection of initiatives, having an impossible goal, opposition from some powerful internal interests, insufficient resources, and too little understanding of the on-the-ground mechanics of action.
Strategy = PR
For too many executives, “strategy” is all about the public face. It is about the shape and substance of a public statement of purpose and priorities. Employees and investors have come to expect a public statement of “strategy” that describes the organisation’s basic activities, values, and priorities.
Strategy = Diagnosis
The single most important element of the strategy is a focus on identifying and diagnosing the challenges facing the organisation and understanding the difficulties in overcoming them. Boiling it down to a few addressable strategic challenges, or ASCs.
Strategy = Finding the crux
Good strategy work produces policies, actions, and objectives. The art of strategy is in defining a crux that can be mastered and in seeing or designing a way through it. For the strategist, the focus is not just attention. It means bringing a source of power to bear on a selected target. If the power is weak, nothing happens. If it is strong but scattered and diffused across targets, nothing happens. If power is focused on the wrong target, nothing happens. But when…