So why should you care about something as rarefied as “strategy”? … because it has a very real impact on you, your family, and society. Headline-making disasters are bad enough, but these are merely the tip of a big, dark iceberg. What you never hear of are the majority of organisations who plod forward from year to year, failing frustratingly to make the progress that is possible, or making non-fatal errors that nevertheless destroy value, demoralise staff, and abuse customers.
You should care if you are an employee. The least you might expect at work, apart from not being injured, is that your organisation will be competently steered from year to year, and offer a stable working life.
You should care if you have a pension or insurance. The investment firms who look after your money put much of it into company stocks. They need it to grow so they can pay out what you hoped for when you paid in your premiums. If the companies they invest in mess up, it costs you!
You should care if you are a consumer. Bad strategy means you get offered products and services that don’t suit your needs by organisations that cannot provide or support them properly.
You should care if you are a manager—at any level. For every top executive, hundreds of senior, middle, and junior managers work hard to help their organisations do well. And it’s these regular Joes and Janes who pay the price when things go wrong, a price that can include the destruction of their careers and their families’ well-being.
… and everyone else should care. Strategy failures mess up the entire economy, destroying jobs and wealth on a vast scale.
When leaders mess up strategy, they mess up YOUR life!
This book explains why, as everyone knows, Strategy is a mess – the business schools, the consulting firms and management themselves. And the reasons are not complicated.
The methods used to ‘do’ strategy are mostly useless, and they are useless because – unlike, say, accounting, manufacturing, R&D or even marketing – the few principles on which it is based are weak or irrelevant. For 50 years, business school research has asked the wrong question about strategy, using methods that cannot work in any case, and looked in the wrong place for answers. This has left the door open for flimsy ideas and methods, often based on little more than journalistic speculation.
No other respected profession would find this situation acceptable, and neither should we. It can and should be fixed – for all our sakes!