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Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard P. Rumelt
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“The kernel of a strategy contains three elements: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“It is hard to show your skill as a sailor when there is no wind.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A leader’s most important job is creating and constantly adjusting this strategic bridge between goals and objectives.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Good strategy works by focusing energy and resources on one, or a very few, pivotal objectives whose accomplishment will lead to a cascade of favorable outcomes.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A strategy coordinates action to address a specific challenge.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“The discipline of analysis is to not stop there, but to test that first insight against the evidence.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A strategy is like a lever that magnifies force.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Strategy is visible as coordinated action imposed on a system. When I say strategy is “imposed,” I mean just that. It is an exercise in centralized power, used to overcome the natural workings of a system. This coordination is unnatural in the sense that it would not occur”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Bad strategy is long on goals and short on policy or action. It assumes that goals are all you need. It puts forward strategic objectives that are incoherent and, sometimes, totally impracticable. It uses high-sounding words and phrases to hide these failings.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Given that background, I was interested in what Steve Jobs might say about the future of Apple. His survival strategy for Apple, for all its skill and drama, was not going to propel Apple into the future. At that moment in time, Apple had less than 4 percent of the personal computer market. The de facto standard was Windows-Intel and there seemed to be no way for Apple to do more than just hang on to a tiny niche. In the summer of 1998, I got an opportunity to talk with Jobs again. I said, “Steve, this turnaround at Apple has been impressive. But everything we know about the PC business says that Apple cannot really push beyond a small niche position. The network effects are just too strong to upset the Wintel standard. So what are you trying to do in the longer term? What is the strategy?” He did not attack my argument. He didn’t agree with it, either. He just smiled and said, “I am going to wait for the next big thing.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A hallmark of true expertise and insight is making a complex subject understandable. A hallmark of mediocrity and bad strategy is unnecessary complexity—a flurry of fluff masking an absence of substance.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“To obtain higher performance, leaders must identify the critical obstacles to forward progress and then develop a coherent approach to overcoming them.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“form of bad strategic objectives occurs when there is a scrambled mess of things to accomplish—a “dog’s dinner” of strategic objectives.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“the deeper meaning of focus—a concentration and coordination of action and resources that creates an advantage.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“The peril of a potent resource position is that success then arrives without careful ongoing strategy work. Own the original patent on the plain-paper photocopier, or own the Hershey’s brand name, or the Windows operating system franchise, or the patent on Lipitor, and there will be many years during which profits will roll in almost regardless of how you arrange your business logic. Yes, there was inventive genius in the creation of these strategic resources, but profits from those resources can be sustained, for a time, without genius.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A design-type strategy is an adroit configuration of resources and actions that yields an advantage in a challenging situation. Given a set bundle of resources, the greater the competitive challenge, the greater the need for the clever, tight integration of resources and actions. Given a set level of challenge, higher-quality resources lessen the need for the tight integration of resources and actions. These”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Unlike a stand-alone decision or a goal, a strategy is a coherent set of analyses, concepts, policies, arguments, and actions that respond to a high-stakes challenge.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“A good strategy includes a set of coherent actions. They are not “implementation” details; they are the punch in the strategy. A strategy that fails to define a variety of plausible and feasible immediate actions is missing a critical component.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Strategies focus resources, energy, and attention on some objectives rather than others. Unless collective ruin is imminent, a change in strategy will make some people worse off. Hence, there will be powerful forces opposed to almost any change in strategy. This is the fate of many strategy initiatives in large organizations.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“If you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy. Instead, you have either a stretch goal, a budget, or a list of things you wish would happen.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Design always involves a certain amount of trial and error, and hardware trials and errors are much more costly.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Without constant attention, the design decays. Without active maintenance, the lines demarking products become blurred, and coherence is lost.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Mistaking goals for strategy. Many bad strategies are just statements of desire rather than plans for overcoming obstacles.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Nevertheless, the doctrine that one can impose one’s visions and desires on the world by the force of thought alone retains a powerful appeal to many people. Its acceptance displaces critical thinking and good strategy.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“many effective strategies are more designs than decisions—are more constructed than chosen.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“When someone says “Managers are decision makers,” they are not talking about master strategists, for a master strategist is a designer.”
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“The first step of making strategy real is figuring out the big ‘aha’ to gain sustainable competitive advantage—in other words, a significant, meaningful insight about how to win.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“Thought is not only power; it is also the form of all things. The conditions that we attract will correspond exactly to our mental pictures. It is quite necessary, then, that the successful business man should keep his mind on thoughts of happiness, which should produce cheerfulness instead of depression; he should radiate joy, and should be filled with faith, hope and expectancy.… Put every negative thought out of your mind once and for all. Declare your freedom. Know no matter what others may say, think or do, you are a success, now, and nothing can hinder you from accomplishing your goal.11”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“The best answer to this puzzle is that the real surprise was that such a pure and focused strategy was actually implemented. Most complex organizations spread rather than concentrate resources, acting to placate and pay off internal and external interests. Thus, we are surprised when a complex organization, such as Apple or the U.S. Army, actually focuses its actions. Not because of secrecy, but because good strategy itself is unexpected.”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
“What is most important is that these individual’s visions became genuinely shared among people throughout all levels of their companies—focusing the energies of thousands and creating a common identity among enormously diverse people.”12”
Richard P. Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

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