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Utilises the experiences of the best companies and leaders in emerging and mature markets to highlight the necessary linkage of passion and discipline in an effective strategy process. Passion motivates and maintains a manager's focus, whilst discipline is necessary to make passion productive and effective.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. What Is Strategy Anyway?

Abstract
There is no single definition of strategy. There never has been nor will there ever be. Even if we allow ourselves to be more liberal methodologically and to think about ways of defining strategy other than through classical requirements using definiendum, we will always define strategy either too narrowly, too broadly or simply in a way that allows academics, practitioners and consultants to simultaneously agree. Does it mean that we don’t understand what strategy is? No.
Krzysztof Obloj

2. Passion and Strategic Choices

Abstract
Passion is a mysterious term with a long history. Great philosophers and scientists have deliberated on its nature because it is present in every great cultural myth, in every great story. While we may view passion as a positive feature of visionaries and innovators, historically, it has often taken a secondary role to cooler intellect. Thus, Plato saw reason as the chariot driver having to control good and bad passions. However, passion today is seen as largely unambiguously positive, especially by students of entrepreneurship. According to research it is related to pursuit of stretched goals, strong will, courage, perseverance, high level of initiative and willingness to work long hours.1 It results from engagement in something that is extremely meaningful and this sentiment is beautifully expressed by Sunil Kant Munjal, a manager of an Indian motorcycle producer, Hero: ‘If you are not passionate about a business, there is no use doing it. That’s almost a philosophy for us — we will only [get involved in] businesses that have certain attributes. One is that they need to allow us to get into a significant leadership position in a reasonable timeframe. Two, we only do businesses that have a positive social impact; that is an essential requirement for us as a group, as a family, as individuals. And three, we like to do businesses that we enjoy. If you like what you do, you do not have to work.’2
Krzysztof Obloj

3. Discipline of Strategy Execution: Sensemaking and Territory

Abstract
A very rich literature in the field of leadership focuses mainly on styles and methods of effective operations. Researchers have come a long way — from theories linking effective leadership with personality characteristics and charisma, through situational and evolutionary leadership theories and concepts of transformation leadership, to have recently returned to the conclusion that personality features indeed play an important role after all. The latest statement was born thanks to the concept of emotional intelligence.1 It is very difficult to define the essence of leadership and the features of good leaders, but it is possible to clearly define their role and the tasks, for which they are responsible. Regardless of personality or leadership style, company leaders constitute an indispensable and fundamental link in four interactive processes showed in Figure 3.1:
1)
interpretation and sensemaking of environmental context,
 
2)
defining goals and priorities,
 
3)
defining company boundaries,
 
4)
building a business model.
 
Krzysztof Obloj

4. Discipline of Strategy Execution: Goals and Business Model

Abstract
If we look carefully at the ways organizations define and try to achieve goals, many of them would be better suited as units of analysis in the theory of catastrophes rather than the theory of strategy. Managers frequently formulate unclear, nonmeasurable and conflicting goals, and then modify them during the implementation phase in order to match results. However, this practice doesn’t change the fact that when speaking about management in general, and in particular about strategic management, we are talking about a goal-oriented activity, which should, by nature, be on the opposite end of the spectrum from randomness and should preclude meandering away from once-set objectives. But where do organizational goals come from? Let’s start with a short theoretical background, which will allow us to better understand a good practice of formulating strategic goals, and then we’ll move on to practical directives, which are necessary in the discipline of the strategy’s implementation.
Krzysztof Obloj

5. The Effect of Passion and Discipline — Competitive Advantage

Abstract
To reiterate, strategy is the theory of organization effectiveness. In practice, it requires passion and discipline, because if we want to achieve extraordinary results, we cannot act in an ordinary way. This is the mantra of strategic management — from classical books by P. Drucker, through works of K. Ohmae, K. Andrews, M. Porter, G. Hamel, A. J. Slywotzky to the Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Ch. Kim and R. Mauborgne.1 Ordinary action produces ordinary results. In strategic categories, thinking and acting means that the company is looking for a way to act differently than others, but it is a particular way. We are interested here in repetitive actions, which set the company apart from the competition (distinction) and simultaneously ensure extraordinary results — or in other words, a competitive advantage. In this sense, every competitive advantage is a temporary and local quasi-monopoly, that is, a niche or a position, which, when used appropriately, ensures company advantages. Both words used in the above description of advantage, ‘temporary’ and ‘local’, are very important.
Krzysztof Obloj

6. What Makes a Good Strategy?

Abstract
There is always the temptation to build complex models, and that is why academics have a natural tendency to create long lists of strategy characteristics. However, following the wise principle of an English scientist living at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, philosopher and theologist William Ockham from the order of Minor Brothers, so-called Ockham razor, one can reduce the number of characteristics of a good strategy to three: simplicity, internal consistency and external coherence (see Figure 6.1). This doesn’t mean that every strategy with these factors guarantees an extraordinary company success, because anything can intervene — competitors, government, natural forces and bad luck. It is important, however, to notice that both theory and practice show that these are features that considerably increase the probability of success — both for creating an intellectual concept of strategy and its implementation in a concrete market reality. They are features of a good strategy and they simply mean that the company has developed and implemented a strategy, which maximizes its chances for success. They are also complementary, which means their importance and impact on the final success can be understood only through the interactions between them. Let’s start from looking at each of them separately.
Krzysztof Obloj

7. Company Adrift — Inertia, Organizational Games and Unsure Leaders

Abstract
Only leaders have the right to make key strategic choices. This is a result of their legitimization as representatives of the owners or founders of the organization, as well as from the right to take decisions given to management boards, accompanied by their accountability. Regardless of how much (and how correctly) we underline the creative and important role of an organization’s participants in the development of strategy, especially in modern companies based on knowledge, the fact is that management boards, not employees, are accountable for creating strategy and final choices. Leaders can carry out this task on their own, delegate it toward lower hierarchical levels or toward a dedicated strategy team or unit. They can and should commit participants to processes of gathering information, its interpretation and formulating alternative actions. They can also come to a conclusion that strategy is not needed at all and that it is enough to control costs, keep production and sales process flexible and periodically adjust to changes that are impossible to avoid or neglect. But then again, opting for a lack of strategy is also a key choice.
Krzysztof Obloj

Backmatter

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