Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Strategy: A History

"Strategies too often fail because more is expected of them than they can deliver."

I just ordered Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman.  The current issue of the Economist has a review.  Several interesting comments:

"Strategy, it turns out, is really about trying to work out in a sensible way how to get from one stage to the next.  With each stage a new set of problems has to be negotiated before you move beyond it.  There is no end point: strategy is not simply a grander name for plan, something that moves you forwards in predetermined steps."

"A strategy that starts with objectives and works backwards is one that is likely to fail."

"A lot of strategy these days, especially in fashionable business books, depends on using narrative both to explain a proposed course of action and recruit support for it.  But stories takes out of context and conveniently edited can be an unreliable guide."

". . .  it may be better to look at strategy as a form of script, albeit one which incorporates the possibility of chance events, which attempts to anticipate the interactions of many players over a long time and which is open-ended."

". . . although it is usually better to have some kind of strategy than not, unless you are prepared to adapt it as circumstances change it is unlikely to do much good."

Love this line - -

"The climax that concludes a normal drama is denied the strategies, who is more like the writer of a long-running soap opera, with its myraid twists and turns."

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