Many books have been written about strategy in the last thirty years, but few about the ‘strategist’. In this book Harvard professor Cynthia Montgomery aims to equip and inspire her readers to be strategists - leaders who can have a profound effect on the fortunes of their business.
Because strategy is so crucial to every company all business leaders must answer the question ‘Are you a strategist?’ Executing strategy is not a function that can be outsourced to experts, rather it is a leadership job, and a big one. The aim of her new book is to help business leaders develop the skills and sensibilities that the role demands. Strategy and leadership have become separated in the business world Cynthia Montgomery reveals why and how they need to be re-integrated for ultimate business success.
Cynthia Montgomery is the Timken Professor of Business Administration and immediate past head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she has taught for twenty years. For the past six years, she has led the strategy track in the School’s globally-renowned EOP (Entrepreneur, Owner, President) Program, attended by leaders of mid-sized companies from around the globe and one of Harvard’s most oversubscribed executive courses.
The examples and stories in this book are based largely on her years’ teaching at the EOP program, and on her interaction with its participants - seasoned executives, owners, CEOs, or COOs of privately held companies. Her style is both engaging and stimulating. Detailed case studies highlight her points, such as the compelling stories behind Gucci, Ikea and Apple. She also addresses the frequently heard statement “I’m no Steve Jobs, and my company is not Apple”.
The strategists leading these companies discovered that success is earned by continuously guiding and developing their companies’ value and purpose over time, for there is no such thing as a fixed sustainable strategy. Strategy, we learn, is an evolving system that moves and changes. This book will stimulate readers to follow their example. She shows that strategy is not just a tool for outwitting the competition – it is the most powerful means a leader has for shaping a firm itself.
"What's been forgotten is that strategy is not a destination or a solution. Its not a problem to be solved and settled. It's a journey. It needs continuous, not intermittent, leadership... It needs a strategist."
Also included in the book is a useful Frequently Asked Questions section as well as an excellent Recommended Reading list where the author adds notes about why she has included the books. Cynthia Montgomery’s teaching style is very much evident in The Strategist – and it is always a pleasure to be inspired by a good teacher. You will learn much. Altogether a worthwhile and inspiring read.
The Stategist, Cynthia Montgomery - Published by Harper Collins, ISBN: 978-0-00-742667-6, 24 April 2012