Book Recommendations: Strategy Renewal

Some of my favourite Strategy Renewal books include:


Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

Lafley/Martin, Harvard Business Review Press

This bestseller outlines the strategic approach Lafley, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, used so successfully at P&G. They’ve created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors – What is our winning aspiration? Where will we play? How will we win? What capabilities must we have in place to win? and What management systems are required to support our choices? The story clearly illustrates how deciding on a strategic approach—and then making the right choices to support it—makes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning.

Strategy and the Fat Smoker

Maister, Spangle Press

In this classic, Maister points out that we often (or even usually) know what we should be doing in both personal and professional life. We also know why we should be doing it and (often) how to do it. Figuring all that out is not too difficult. However, just because something is obvious does not make it easy. Real strategy lies not in figuring out what to do, but in devising ways to ensure that, compared to others, we actually do more of what everybody knows they should do. This simple insight, if accepted, has profound implications for how organizations should think about strategy; how they should think about clients, marketing and selling; and how they should think about management.

Strategy Bites Back

Mintzberg/Ahlstrand/Lampel, Prentice Hall

Strategy doesn’t only have to position; it also has to inspire. So an uninspiring strategy is really no strategy at all. The most interesting and most successful companies are not boring. They have novel, creative, inspiring, sometimes even playful strategies. By taking the whole strategy business less seriously, they end up with more serious results–and have some fun in the bargain. The authors of Strategy Bites Back invite you to encounter a diverse and unlikely set of voices with something sharp to say about strategy – from Michael Porter and Peter Drucker to Coco Channel’s “little black dress”.

About The Author

Scott Borland, Founder & President of CYGNUS Management Consultants Inc, , is a recognized expert in helping executives host strategic conversations and obtain high impact feedback. He brings insightful perspective and proven strategies to strengthen the alignment between strategy and leadership behaviour. Scott has presented frequently at regional/national conferences and is a regular contributor to online journals/blogs. Follow Scott on Twitter or add him as a connection on LinkedIn.

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