Strategy drives business. But for the last 25 years, the role of Strategist has been relegated to outsourced specialists and analytic number crunchers. Once considered the central duty of a President, strategy has become less about vision and implementation by leadership, more about theory and formulas devised by MBAs and consultants.
With The Strategist, author Cynthia Montgomery boldly redefines strategy and issues a call to arms for leaders to take back their rightful claim to be Strategists of their own organizations. Inspired by her highly acclaimed Harvard Business School executive course, and driven by the voices and experience of managers she has taught from around the world, Montgomery convinces leaders to embrace their role as Strategists, uniquely positioned to answer the most essential question facing every business: Does This Company Truly Matter?
Montgomery argues her points convincingly, revealing how leaders of the era’s most successful companies have embraced their strategic roles to unprecedented success. In the process they have created some of the most iconic companies in history, including:
- Ingvar Kamprad’s IKEA and the compelling purpose that is enabling the company to reap huge profits in a crowded, traditionally low margin marketplace
- Dominico DeSole’s spectacular turnaround of Gucci Group and the finely-tuned system he created to reposition the company
- Steve Job’s rocky evolution as a strategist at Apple and Pixar, and what can be learned from the times he got it wrong and the times he got it right
The Strategist is an outgrowth of a curriculum Montgomery developed for Harvard Business School’s flagship executive program for owner-managers, attended by business leaders from around the world. Highly readable, strongly compelling, it uses case discussions and participants’ own strategy dilemmas to illuminate what strategy is, why it matters, and what it takes to lead the effort. Enroute, the reader sees the strategy process transformed from a mechanical, analytical activity to something deeper, more meaningful, and far more rewarding for the strategist.
In addition to helping readers think deeply about the strategy of their own firms, The Strategist guides them to other questions every leader must consider: “Am I the strategist my company needs?” “Am I playing this vital role well?” In the process, readers will come to understand what they didn’t before: If they don’t embrace the role of the strategist, the one who asks and keeps asking certain basic questions, something vital in their businesses will be missing.
Challenging, intriguing, and ultimately inspiring, Cynthia Montgomery’s The Strategist casts aside what other books claim as “what they don’t teach you at the Harvard Business School,” and gives her readers a powerful glimpse into what they do.