Good Strategy/Bad Strategy is divided into three parts. Part I opens with some examples of good strategy which, Rumelt explains, typically demonstrate:
- a fundamental insight to the strategic situation (what I term "a blinding flash" of what can seem obvious - in retrospect - and usually simple rather than complex);
- a guiding principle or policy of what to do and how (I ask people to define their “offer to the world and how to make and fulfill it”); and
- a coherent plan of action, with the resources and commitment to make it happen (exactly what I always say).
- fluff: blue-sky goals without a convincing strategic rationale, and few, if any, decisive actions to achieve them;
- self-delusion: ignoring the real issues;
- avoiding hard choices and trying to please all constituencies; (my oft repeated mantra is that good strategy is about making hard choices and meaning them);
- wishful New Age thinking.
The book's final chapter looks at the Global Financial Crisis. Although insightful, it seems like a last minute add-on and would probably have been better placed in Part I. However, that is a minor quibble. Rumelt's book is well worth the purchase price (and a very reasonable price too, now the paperback is out).
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