Strategy is probably the most confusing word in the business vocabulary, primarily because if you ask ten people what it means you will get ten different answers. I think of it as establishing a direction for an organization to move in. Also, we can’t determine if we are being effective in our execution unless we understand the direction we want to be heading in. Having said that, here are eleven excellent books on strategy and execution.
Understanding Michael Porter by Joan Magretta
Elevate and Deep Dive by Rich Horwath
Management by Peter Drucker
Good to Great and Beyond Entrepreneurship by Jim Collins
Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
Profit from the Core by Chris Zook
Top Management Strategy by Ben Tregoe and John Zimmerman
To establish your business strategy, answer this series of basic questions in a clear way with realistic answers:
1. What are the most important objectives we want to achieve this year and why are these the most important objectives both for this year’s success and for our future success?
2. How will we achieve these objectives successfully this year and set ourselves up for success in the future?
3. How will our approach reinforce our desired brand and why is this approach better than the alternatives?
4. Who will do what when we execute this approach and why are they the best people for these roles?
5. When will we execute each part of this approach and why is this the best schedule of activities?
6. Where will these activities take place?
7. How will we measure our progress and when will we step back to determine if any course corrections need to be made?
Take your time to answer those questions in a clear manner so that everyone in your organization understands the answers. Hone them to the point that another person could read the answers and be able to explain what will happen over the next year and why it is a good direction for the business.