Unfortunately, it is also one of the least understood — with many conflicting takes among professionals and scholars on what strategy actually means. The casualty of all this confusion is the quality of strategy that is actioned — and the results that follow.
Those who have mastered strategic thinking repeatedly see disproportionately good outcomes from the resources at their disposal; the rest leave themselves vulnerable to serious errors of judgement which can lead them to addressing the wrong problem, or doing things in such a way that the costs far outweigh the benefits.
How to Think Strategically: your roadmap to innovation and results — a new Financial Times series book released this month by Pearson, the world's leading educational publisher — promises to do away with this “boardroom babble” once and for all by equipping professionals with a clear framework of “the strategy roundabout”, methods such as “lean testing” and tools that will enable the reader to develop a strategic mind-set and devise a winning business strategy time and again.
The 280-page handbook tackles both theory and practical applications, providing an easy-to-follow roadmap that takes readers through the whole process of strategic thinking and provides a powerful framework of theories, tools and tips illustrated with a wealth of real-world case studies.
By the close of the book, professionals of all levels will be able to formulate a robust, compelling strategic plan capable of handling any situation or objective — efficiently AND effectively.
Co-authors Davide Sola and Jerome Couturier, professors of strategy and management at ESCP Europe Business School, have assisted businesses large and small in sharpening their strategies in their capacity as strategy consultants for McKinsey, A. T. Kearney and 3H Partners, a company that advises multinationals and governments about entrepreneurial solutions.
They say that although everyone has an innate ability to strategise, and do so quickly, most fail to take strategic thinking beyond intuition and vague notions of 'goals', 'situation analyses' or to-do lists. While helpful, none of these alone constitutes a strategy.
Professor Sola said: “Many people in business, even at management level, are very confused about what strategy really means. They do not have a clear theory to follow. This leads to hit-and-miss results with as many bad, and costly, business decisions as good ones. “Strategy embraces goals, objectives, planning, resources and more, but it cannot be reduced to any one of them.
“How to Think Strategically is a step-by-step practical guide to getting to grips with, and embracing, strategy as an invaluable tool to achieving individual or company business goals.”
The book is divided into two sections:
Part one explores what strategy is, highlights the factors that lead to success and explains how to turn strategic thinking into strategy
Part two focuses on putting strategic thinking into practice with a step-by-step walkthrough on devising and implementing a business strategy, and how to identify and deal with any challenges that arise.
To accompany the title, and help bridge the gap between theory and implementation, a handy Strategic Plan Generator App is also available which allows the user to apply their new-found skills by crafting a strategic plan.
How To Think Strategically is, in all senses of the word, the defining guidebook to strategy and strategic thinking, clearing away confusion and in its place instilling a mental blueprint for success.
How To Think Strategically – Your Roadmap To Innovation and Results, by Davide Sola & Jerome Couturier (Pearson) is out now, priced £14.99, from Amazon and all good book shops
ESCP Europe Business School contact: Shireen Fraser: Email / +44 20 7431 3600
Pearson contact: Anthony Harviso: Email / + 44 20 7138 3067
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Davide Sola is a professor of strategy and management at ESCP Europe and a visiting faculty at Business School in Finland, India and Italy. He is also a partner and co-founder of 3H Partners, the leading Entrepreneurial Solution Provider developing innovative solutions for multinational organisations and governments in Europe, the US and Africa.
Jerome Couturier is an associate professor of strategy and management at ESCP Europe. He is the author of several articles, policy papers, book chapters, case studies and papers presented at international management conferences. He is also co-founder and president of 3H Partners.