Business Today

The Art of Strategising

The authors have devised a framework called 'the strategy palette' that lets leaders choose the right approach to execute a strategy.
D Rajappa        Print Edition: November 22, 2015

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanæs and Janmejaya Sinha

PAGES: 272

PRICE: Rs 745

Harvard Business

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy is a very well-researched book written by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha. It helps you analyse the business environment, opens your mind to perspectives on scenarios and showcases case studies from well-known brands that attempt to succeed in challenging environments. The journey of these brands imparts management lessons on how to deftly steer through situations that arise due to disruptions caused by technological change and evolving consumer preferences.

After a thorough research (including research within BCG) across different industries and inputs from business leaders, the authors have introduced a framework called 'the strategy palette'.

The complex business environment is shown to differ along three dimensions: predictability, malleability and harshness. Combining these dimensions into a matrix gives five distinct approaches to choose and execute a strategy. Classic, adaptive, visionary, shaping and renewal are the five basic colours in the strategy palette, aimed at helping leaders choose the right approach depending on the size, life cycle of business, geography and the speed of change in the industry. Identifying and implementing a combination of these strategies will help companies effectively leverage and excel.

The implementation of strategy in a challenging and turbulent environment is very well explained in the book

Each chapter deals with one approach that helps to explore and understand what, when and how to apply a strategy. The book makes an analogy between the classic approach and the process of creating a still-life painting. The adaptive approach is akin to painting subjects under changing light, while in the visionary approach painters imagine and strive to bring the imagined object to life on canvas. The shaping strategy is like creating a large mural with the help of many artists, while the renewal strategy is like a cubist painting. Objects are analysed, broken up, stripped to non-essential forms and shapes, and then reassembled to create a new perspective.

The implementation of strategy in a challenging and turbulent environment is very well explained in the book. For each approach, facets such as information management, the right culture that needs to be inculcated in the organisation, the type of organisation, the innovation and leadership required to execute the painting, i.e. strategy, are explained in great detail.

The book is interspersed with interesting metaphors and quotes such as this one by Andy Grove of Intel: "A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin...the sum total of those changes is transformation."

The book ends with a lesson for leaders for they play a vital role in executing multiple strategies across the organisation. A large organisation operates in different geographical locations and has multiple strategic environments which are rapidly changing. Hence, the emphasis is on leaders to be animators of this strategic collage. Leaders need to sell this strategic narrative to all stakeholders, giving rise to the need for them to excel in eight different roles - as diagnostician, segmenter, disruptor, team coach, salesperson, inquisitor, antenna and accelerator.

It is a must-read book that will help you formulate strategies; nevertheless, it is entirely up to the ingenuity of the reader to implement what he/she learns from it.

(The reviewer is an entrepreneur and former president of Rediffusion Y&R)

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