Strategic Management

Strategy: Top 10 Quotes

“The act of making a decision consists of selecting one course of action, or strategy, from among the set of admissible strategies.” (Richard A Epstein, “The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic”, 1977)

“In business as on the battlefield, the object of strategy is to bring about the conditions most favorable to one’s own side, judging precisely the right moment to attack or withdraw and always assessing the limits of compromise correctly. Besides the habit of analysis, what marks the mind of the strategist is an intellectual elasticity or flexibility that enables him to come up with realistic responses to changing situations, not simply to discriminate with great precision among different shades of gray.” (Kenichi Ohmae, “The Mind Of The Strategist”, 1982)

“The opportunities and threats existing in any situation always exceed the resources needed to exploit the opportunities or avoid the threats. Thus, strategy is essentially a problem of allocating resources. If strategy is to be successful, it must allocate superior resources against a decisive opportunity.” (William Cohen, “Winning on the Marketing Front: The corporate manager’s game plan”, 1986)

“[…] the most successful strategies are visions, not plans. Strategic planning isn’t strategic thinking. One is analysis, and the other is synthesis.” (Henry Mintzberg, “The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning”, Harvard Business Review, 1994)

“Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do. Indeed, setting limits is another function of leadership. Deciding which target group of customers, varieties, and needs the company should serve is fundamental to developing a strategy. But so is deciding not to serve other customers or needs and not to offer certain features or services. Thus strategy requires constant discipline and clear communication. Indeed, one of the most important functions of an explicit, communicated strategy is to guide employees in making choices that arise because of trade-offs in their individual activities and in day-to-day decisions.” (Michael E Porter, “What is Strategy?”, 1996)

“There’s a fundamental distinction between strategy and operational effectiveness. Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different. Operational effectiveness is about things that you really shouldn’t have to make choices on; it’s about what’s good for everybody and about what every business should be doing.” (Michael E Porter, “What is Strategy?”, Harvard Business Review, 1996)

“The real challenge in crafting strategy lies in detecting subtle discontinuities that may undermine a business in the future. And for that there is no technique, no program, just a sharp mind in touch with the situation.” (Henry Mintzberg, “Tracking Strategies: Toward a General Theory”, 2007)

“Despite the roar of voices wanting to equate strategy with ambition, leadership, “vision,” planning, or the economic logic of competition, strategy is none of these. The core of strategy work is always the same: discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors.” (Richard Rumelt, “Good Strategy Bad Strategy”, 2011)

“The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. The core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people.” (John Kotter, “The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations”, 2012)

“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that while strategy is undoubtedly a good thing to have, it is a hard thing to get right. […] So what turns something that is not quite strategy into strategy is a sense of actual or imminent instability, a changing context that induces a sense of conflict. Strategy therefore starts with an existing state of affairs and only gains meaning by an awareness of how, for better or worse, it could be different.” (Lawrence Freedman, “Strategy: A history”, 2013)

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