Summary of Strategic Learning

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Strategy guru Willie Pietersen’s latest book lays out a path to a compelling goal: Use learning to create an adaptable organization that can continually adjust to today’s VUCA – “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” – business world. He outlines four steps for conducting your learning efforts strategically: “Learn” what you need to know, “focus” on priorities, “align” learning with your corporate goals, and “execute” with experimentation and flexibility. getAbstract recommends Pietersen’s manual as an essential guide to two critical organizational topics: learning and strategy.

About the Author

Columbia University business management professor Willie Pietersen studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. He is former CEO of Lever Foods, Seagram USA and Tropicana.



Strategy in a VUCA World

The US Army War College – “the school for generals” – coined the term “VUCA.” An abbreviation for “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous,” VUCA describes today’s confusing and ever-changing – some would say “cataclysmic” – business environment.

In this landscape of radical flux, organizations must adapt. Loss of flexibility means forfeiting competitive advantage. As predictability and stability become more elusive, the need for smart strategy increases. Without a solid strategic approach, adaptability becomes nearly impossible. With adaptability, you can sense what change portends and evolve as necessary. Adapting well hinges on strategizing effectively, and that requires constant learning.

What Is Strategy?

Strategy consists of your firm’s “choices about where it will compete” and how it will “create value” and provide “returns to its investors.” Strategy ties directly to leadership.

Your organization’s success depends on five factors: 1) clear focus; 2) notable, positive differentiation from your competitors; 3) enthusiastic employees; 4) disciplined “operational effectiveness”; and 5) the ability to adapt and...

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    K. P. 2 years ago
    Mr Pietersen and Mr Rumlet should getogether and write a masterclass on strategy. Then make it available to MBA students as a text book. One thing interesting though, in an VUCA market where public perception (which includes buying behaviours) gets constantly influenced by external perception, is there a place for business "models"? Hence my suggestion to write a master class and keep updating with evolutionary (more agile) business models. Regards Kutila Pinto