One of our favourite books at the moment is Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy Bad Strategy. It’s full of interesting stories on strategy but his story about wrestling the gorilla is one of the most memorable.
We’ve worked with people who hired us to develop strategies, improve systems, and make things happen. Interestingly it didn’t work. It didn’t work because there’s no point in creating a strategy, writing papers, or trying to make things happen if an organisation and its employees or board are not willing to change. They may say they are but it turns out that they are not. And this is their achilles heel.
I was recommended this book Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt by a friend. She said it is a must read. I recently bought a copy and I can’t put it down!
Strategy is a word used all too often when actually people are talking about goals or innovation or ambition. Rumelt argues that core to strategy is discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a set of coherent actions to overcoming them.
A good strategy contains three elements: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action explains Rumelt. This is the key message of the book. And now it’s easy to spot good and bad strategy. So has your workplace got a strategy? Does it have these three elements? I’ve taken a look at few strategies since reading the book and I’ve been surprised how they are missing at least one of these elements. I can also now see how the strategy would be much improved if it contained all three. So at an organisational level - this has been a very insightful book. However, it is also really useful in career development.
Do you want to move forward in your career? Are you facing specific challenges? And have you clearly articulated these challenges and understand them? (i.e. the diagnosis element of good strategy). Then have you a guiding policy? And finally have you got key actions for addressing your challenges and moving your career forward?
For example, you might be frustrated in your job. So firstly, seek to clearly understand and articulate where your frustrations are coming from. Then clarify where you want to be? What role are you aspiring to? Or what work/life balance, etc.? Then what actions can you put in place to address the challenges and get you to where you want to be?
It seems so simple but surprising how many strategies don’t have all three elements.
We’ll blog more on strategy but in the meanwhile we highly recommend buying this book yourself - your career and personal life will be improved by applying some of his recommendations.
We Are All Wonder Women is an international movement for female conservation professionals to be inspired, connected, and empowered to create an authentic, fulfilling and happy career.