Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

This is a review of the book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy.

The first 20% of the book is still okay. But I could not read beyond that, as it is long winded, and used too many examples from US Military strategies.

Nonetheless, here’s what I learnt:

The Problem

Definition of Strategy – We don’t really understand it.

Confused, and “strategy” became a verbal tic. eg. IT Strategy, Low-price Strategy, …

A word that can mean anything has lost its bite.

We need a redefintion. A real understanding of Strategy.

Core of strategy work

= Discover critical factor in a situation + Design a way of coordinating and focusing actions = Recognise Challenges + Approach to overcome them

A leader’s most important responsibility is working on strategy.

Mastering the shift from others defining your goals, to being the architect of the organisation purposes and objectives.

A good strategy

  • Selects the path, identifying the how, why and where leadership and determination are to be applied

  • Say “NO” to wide variety of actions and interests

  • It’s as much as what an organisation does not do, as what it does

Why so much bad strategy?

Strategy involves focus, and choice; Most people have unwillness or inability to choose


A logical structure:

1) Diagnosis – Simplify and identify the critical

2) Guiding policy – Overall approach

3) Coherent actions – Steps that work together

Example (Apple by Steve Jobs in 1998):

Challenge: Product lineup was too complicated. Too many price points and too much markup.

Action: Cut all except 1 laptop, Cut distributors, Cut development

When PC is dominated by Microsoft, Apple Strategy is “to wait for the next big thing”

Apple eventually released the iPhone

What I didn’t read..

After finished Part I, I merely browsed Part II and III..

Part II – Sources of Power – I don’t read. Not necessary. Using leverage, advantage, dynamics, focus, growth, etc..

Part III – Not sure what’s the conclusion