Meet a brilliant strategist who is skeptical of strategic planning, the stock market, and PowerPoint presentations.
Strategy and innovation have much in common, not all of it pretty. They are the questing beasts of mythology let loose in the world of business, which most of the time is concerned with process, maintenance, the status quo—what Richard Rumelt calls “doorknob polishing.” Rumelt is a professor of strategy at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Considered “the strategist’s strategist,” he was interviewed by the global management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Continue reading “View from the mountaintop”
Strategy and innovation, the highest functions of reason and creativity, combine careful planning with improvisation—and the ability to turn on a dime.
In my last column, I quoted the definition of strategy given by Richard Rumelt, a professor of business strategy at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. To paraphrase: the essence of strategic thinking is speculation. The key word is “speculation.” Success usually appears during periods of stability, when the systems we have designed are producing the outcomes we desire. During these prosperous times, we may forget the earlier stages when we planted the seeds of future opportunity. There was uncertainty, soul searching, and trial and error—a certain fumbling around. A mathematician friend of mine came up with the phrase “data momentum” to describe most of what happens in our lives: 90% is driven by what happened yesterday, by forces that have already been set in motion. Continue reading “Lessons from the Bell Curve”
The term problem-solving assumes you are adopting someone else’s view of the world.
Despite its popularity, the current obsession with problem solving is way off the mark. Ditto finding out what your customers want and giving it to them. This is fine for fine tuning and tweaking what already works, but it’s not what changes the world. Not even close.
As Henry Ford reportedly said, “If I’d listened to my customers, I would have invented a faster horse.” Continue reading “Creating new worlds vs. the myth of problem solving”
Don’t confuse strategy and execution.
Strategy and execution are at opposite poles of the spectrum. The former demands a broad view and some imagination – the ability to speculate and innovate. A light touch. Sometimes even a sense of humor.
Execution on the other hand demands a tight focus and the ability to follow the rules. An organization needs both. When it comes to productivity–something you can measure–we are usually talking about execution. This is good as far as it goes, but sometimes we take it too far. Continue reading “The productivity paradox: Lessons from the sugar camp”