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Are Strategies Real Things?

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This chapter, actually a collection of essays on Strategy, introduces the idea of advanced strategy, and questions whether strategies are necessary, real, and functional in general.

"Strategy is when you are out of ammunition, but keep on firing so that the enemy won't know."
(Anonymous)

"When in doubt, use a bigger hammer."
(Dobin's law)

"This is the course in advanced physics. That means the instructor finds the subject confusing. If he didn't, the course would be called elementary physics."
(Louis Alvarez, Nobel Laureate)

Introduction to Chapter 1

What’s in the word "strategy"? According to what follows, a lot more, and a lot less, than you might have imagined. Here, to start, we waste no time with politeness and get right to it. The opening bite reminds us about how empty the buzzwords of management can be. The author, a prominent columnist, does not mention strategy but you will get the idea. Next is a byte from The Economist that reviews strategy across several decades in several pages; a quick summary of the field as it is. Then another bite, by another prominent columnist and economist, about what strategy is—tongue-in-cheek. After this we get serious again—five straight definitions of strategy all starting with P—before we end with three views about why organizations should not have strategies.

If you think all of this is meant to confuse, then you are right; it is called unfreezing, softening you up for what follows. Welcome to the course in Advanced Strategy!

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