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Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick: People, Probabilities, and Big Moves to Beat the Odds

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  649 ratings  ·  37 reviews

Beat the odds with a bold strategy

We’ve all seen hockey stick business plans before. A future where results sail confidently upward, but with a dip coinciding with next year’s budget.

CEOs usually rely on their experience and business smarts to figure out which of those hockey sticks are real, and which are fake. But all too often getting to a “yes,” competing for res

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published January 10th 2018 by Wiley
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 ·  649 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
The villain is the social side of strategy. (c)
A funny take on the fallacies of modern 'strategy' considerations. Very light.
The 'you are your numbers' is repeated throughout like a mantra. Thank God, they managed to do without MECE and 'not boiling the ocean', this time around.
As the strategy process starts, the team agrees that this year you will avoid huge documents with 150 slides and endless appendices. You commit to having real conversations about the future of the business and the tou
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I have slightly mixed feelings about this book. My main criticisms can be summed up as:

1. This could have easily been a McK Quarterly / HBR article. The book format feels like an overkill for the underlying idea. As the result, there is an abundance of somewhat repetitive examples that perform a filler role.

2. The book has a relatively niche target audience: folks that work in corporate strategy, corporate C-suite and strategy consultants. If you are not working for or consulting a large busines
Scott Wozniak
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book on strategy--if you're a multi-billion dollar corporation, that is. McKinsey consultants ran a study on what strategic moves actually made a difference for large companies. They flat out said that you need to be $7.5 billion in revenue before the study actually makes sense for you. (The giant consulting firms like McKinsey are so expensive they only work with the largest firms, so that's their data set.)

But there are some good insights under all the MBA/Fortune 500 jarg
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
I had stumbled upon this book at an airport store, and then again stumbled upon it on a McKinsey article with an excerpt. The anecdote that the book begins with seemed like such a reflection of what happens on a daily level in a corporate. Chris Bradley, the author, has a fresh take on how strategy should be formed and conducted in a corporate.
The book talks about the social side of strategy where managers are compelled to play games to ensure their agendas are met, and thus it is the job of the
Maciek Wilczyński
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
If Mckinsey & Company (or any other top-tier consulting) was a science institute, it would be nail all Impact Factor and The Philadelphia List of Journals type of scientific rankings. Only Firm like that has a scale to conduct such research. Contrary to "Good to Great" (which is mentioned in the book), they have analyzed: 3,925 largest revenue non-financial companies from 59 industries and 73 countries in a time frame of 15 years (sic!). They have performed statistical probability analyses, foun ...more
Steve Percoco
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, written by three leaders in McKinsey’s Strategy Practice, seeks to address the problems of poor strategy execution that McKinsey has seen in many large companies. Based upon decades of experience working with senior executives around the world, it describes a common dysfunctional sequence of events in annual strategy meetings that often lead to mediocre performance.

Participants at these strategy meetings sit through a typical detailed slide presentation in which only one course of act
Max Lapin
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The Really Sad about this book is that the gems are mostly in the last 1/4. It takes time to struggle through the repetitive watery and consulting lingo heavy first half and then another quarter.
I did it out of respect for the Firm and may well claim that the authors mostly expanded a great material for McKinsey Quarterly article into a book. There may be many reasons for that, but it feels like they wanted the world to know about a handful of amazing instruments in strategy. Especially after a
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a consultant and/or focusing on business strategy - it's definitely worth a read. Interesting results of a study conducted by McKinsey. Nice perspective on the social side of strategy and recommendations on how to change your strategy planning process. Authors highlight 10 factors that could make you win or lose with your strategy. Enjoyed the book a lot - it made me reflect on how I work for a while. ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I've been chipping away at this book for some time (4 months!). It's a refreshing strategy book which I really enjoyed. I spent a lot of time reflecting on each chapter.

Definitely worth a read.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be particularly bad. The authors had some good insights like “don’t allocate resources across many opportunities; rather, pick your best ones and allocate them there”. But most of the book focused on completely non-actionable information. For example, if you have the best endowment (i.e., you are much bigger than the competition, have low debt levels, and have historically spend a lot on R&D relative to your competitors) you are more likely to earn outsized returns for your ...more
Mike Sheketa
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For the last few years I was looking for something to help me to understand why companies win or fail. I've started with From Good to Gread (of course;), then In Search of Excellence, then Strategy& book Strategy That Works, How Companies win, etc. Those are great books written with excellent style. But at the end of the day, I was looking for a fact-based system I can start working with immeadiately. And so far Strategy Beyong the HS is my favorite one (together with strategy map systen and bal ...more
Đào Trung Thành
It is a must read for a strategist or a management consultant.

The authors examined publicly available information on dozens of variables for the world’s 2,393 largest corporations between 2010 and 2014, and found the levers that explain more than 80 percent of the up-drift and down-drift in corporate performance.

They propose "eight shifts to unlock strategy.":

From annual planning to strategy as a journey.
From getting to "yes" to debating real alternatives.
From peasant butter to picking your 1-
Jason Carter
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership, business
The boys at McKinsey are no slouches; this is book is for someone. It just wasn't the greatest book for me--a small business owner.

It was clearly aimed at CEOs, board rooms, and strategists at the world's largest companies ($7B in annual revenue was a lower threshold for some of their recommendations).

The book covered the problems with most strategic planning processes, outlined 10 levers in three categories (endowments, trends, and moves) to affect real change, and gave practical advice on how
Carl Sandberg
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Excellent analysis on why corporate strategy fails—mainly because of unaligned incentives between individual BU leaders and the corporation as a whole. A substantial part of the book, however, discusses what levers a corporation should use to beat the competition and increase its economic profit (operating profits less taxes less cost of capital). Some of these levers, like improving gross margins or decreasing SG&A, obviously help increase economic profit, but I am not sure how insightful those ...more
Ton Nguyen
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick is definitely not a popular business book intended for a general audience, but for strategy consultants or executives working in corporate strategy (at Fortune 500 fims).

McKinsey has collected a lot of data on corporate performance over the years. I liked that the authors gave examples of firms other than your standard Kodak, Apple, etc. Unfortunately I also felt a lot of it was used as filler for the book. That being said, there are some useful insights on why
Andrey Klochkov
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This 9s one of the most exciting strategy book I've ever read.

I absolutely enjoyed the pace and story of the book.
The structure is quite logical, that had all answers just on the next page for the questions that were popping out in my head while reading.
Overall quality of the material is solid and I at last we can see more examples and cases than Apple, Airbnb, Nokia, Kodak.
I definitely recommend this book for everyone related to the strategy.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for business leaders

This is a very well structured book. It is full of practical and actionable insights to bring life into strategy rooms. The suggestions are clear and to the point and are backed with lots of data and metrics. I could easily relate with problems mentioned in this book and could get a clear picture of what changes I can bring in my workplace in the coming days.
Vikash Thakur
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book focused on creating shareholders value and becoming companies which create high economic profit. What are your big moves to move up the power curve. Insights generated from large amount of data analyzed by McKinsey partner. Book also talked about how to handle social side of strategy. Must read.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Data-based examination of the ingredients of successful business strategy, along with a practical guide to their application. It’s as close to a recipe book for success as you’re likely to encounter.
One caveat, why weren’t financial companies in the data set, and do the lessons apply to them too?
Andrew C. Huang
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Still felt like a lot was on frameworks and not enough quantitative data.

Overall was still helpful to understand what are the key suggests factors to evaluate. Would recommend based on premise but finished the book a bit disappointed.
Carl Rannaberg
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good book about creating strategy based on data and facts and avoiding common traps like spreading resources too thin. Goes together nicely with “Thinking in Bets” as it also highlights the importance of probabilities.
Lucas Malambri
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Empirically driven insights point to practical advice for those looking to understand what drives profitable growth and how to navigate the murky social side of the strategy discussion and decision making.
Juan Avedillo
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting new approach for strategy setting.
Nothing specially new but perfectly packed and with strong analysis behind
I really enjoyed reading it
Gabriel Trevizo
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fresh look into business strategy

Backed up by data and true research insight, the authors manage to bring a renewed way of looking at business strategy.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really great thoughts - based on research. Still thinking how it applies to international aid sector.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management, economics
I may be part f a niche group that benefits from this book - with that it is a very interesting look into Corp strategy and how to be better
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Real world challenges tackled

Love the approach here. Makes a ton of sense and each scenario is relatable to any strategy room. Just excellent.
Christian Mahncke
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
tangible and actionable.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the no-BS appraoch to strategy.
tridiv ojha
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the good books on strategy with a a different view on measuring the success and odds of strategy. The mention of endowments & trends and moves coupled with parameter of measurement is a different take.
A different book amongst a lot of strategy books
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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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“Presenters in strategy meetings often seem to not seek a conversation at all. Instead, they appear to deflect as many questions as they can, saying they are “trying to get through the materials.” They want to move to the last page of the presentation as smoothly as possible and then get that all-important “yes” to the plan, that “yes” to the resource request, that “yes” to have a shot at the next promotion. A successful meeting is deemed to be one with little friction and maximum good feelings.” 1 likes
“It turns out that the more we know, the more dangerous we are. The inside view reigns. We convince ourselves that we have a winning plan this year even though we continue doing pretty much what we’ve always done.” 0 likes
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