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The Best Book for Competitive Strategy

The 33 Strategies of War Robert Greene Rating: 10/10 Best Line #1: Velocity creates a sense of vitality. Best Line #2: The essence of strategy is not to carry out a brilliant plan that proceeds in steps; it is to put yourself in situations where you have more options than the enemy does. I made […]

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The Best Book for Introducing Business Strategy

Playing To Win By A.G. Lagley and Roger L. Martin Rating 10/10 Best Line #1: What matters is winning. Great organizations choose to win rather than simply play. Best Line #2: Ideally, companies should see strategy as a process rather than a result—adapting existing choices before business and financial results start to turn down. Business […]

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Competitive Dynamics In The Business Ecosystem

In the world of business strategy, Michael Porter’s work on the Five Forces looms large. It’s a framework that helps determine the competitiveness of a given business. The idea is that a business becomes less and less attractive as competition rises in these five arenas. Competition, in other words, is terrible for business! It lowers […]

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Maybe Winning Really Is All That Matters

My work here is wrapped around the idea of “Striving Strategically”. Put simply, this title is a two-word reduction of the broader axiom “Work smarter not harder”. But deeper still, the origins stem from a quote by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, by way of Graham Duncan: “In life the challenge is not so much […]

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A Bad System Beats A Good Person Every Time

As a manager, I’ve seen it far too often. It happens at every level with bosses, colleagues, and staff. Someone occupies a new role in an organization, tries to contribute, runs into the bureaucracy, gets frustrated, battles the status quo for a period, loses, and then leaves. Or, worse still, gives up and stays as […]

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Your Behavior Only. Nothing Else Matters.

One of the great benefits of systems thinking is that it allows us to understand the true nature of behavior. When you analyze a system, you find so much interconnectedness between seemingly unrelated things that, when combined, produce the results you see. It helps me realize there is never a single root cause to most […]

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Systems Thinking – The Best Lens We Have

I still remember the time I discovered Systems Thinking. Nassim Taleb referred to it in his book The Black Swan and I immediately searched for the authoritative book on the topic. That book is our feature this week: Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. In my experience, the framework of systems thinking distinguishes the wisest […]

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A Fine Book for Playing The Game Better

Game Theory and Management By Michael Hatfield Rating: 7/10 Best Line:  The very best manager with 20% of the information needed to reach the best decision will be bettered by the poorest of managers who have access to 80% of the information needed. Funniest Line: It didn’t take me long to realize that the accountants […]

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In Defense of “That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It”

Imagine playing checkers with a friend. You’re red; he’s black. You’ve played against one another for years—winning some, losing some—and you know each other’s strategies pretty well. It’s a simple game, after all. Midway through the game, something very wrong happens. Your friend moves one of his pieces sideways. “Hey!” you say. “That’s not allowed! […]

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