Summary of Strategy

Create and Implement the Best Strategy for Your Business

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

Strategy book summary
Planning is nothing without implementation. Learn to put your good ideas into practice.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

5 Innovation

7 Style


This lucid, pragmatic Harvard Business Essentials volume on Strategy notes that even the best business model can fail if it lacks an effective strategic plan. Any savvy businessperson could have theorized years ago, for example, that large-scale volume and low prices could drive a wildly successful retail venture. But only Samuel Walton’s singular strategic execution created Walmart’s dominance. And, this teaching-oriented manual warns, just having a strategy won’t do; you have to reassess it continually. Even large, successful corporations must react to the constantly evolving marketplace. For example, when Xerox’s leaders realized that the company needed to upgrade its customer service, it sent a team to observe mail order giant L.L. Bean’s method of processing requests. The observers absorbed some crucial lessons. Xerox didn’t alter its business model, but it changed how it delivered its products. This guide offers a wide variety of advice, including pinpoint insights about the need for a continually evolving strategic vision, as well as a breakdown of the very familiar SWOT analysis that managers use to assess a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It explains that implementing a new strategy sometimes entails difficult changes at all levels. Employees who are sensitive to change can make or break new strategic implementations, so the guide offers sound advice on giving staffers an ownership stake through creative input. Additional training also will help leaders assuage doubts among staff and boost their commitment to strategic objectives. A sound strategic plan will align to the company’s culture and adapt in case it initially fails to meet stated objectives. The book carefully explains alternative strategic models, like product differentiation, emphasizing customer service or capitalizing – as eBay did – on the benefits of a large customer network. Illustrative charts and sidebars, as well as sample templates for those who must draft a plan of action, enhance the book’s clear guidance. getAbstract believes any manager can relate to this clarion call for sound strategy and will find practical steps here for translating it into reality.

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