This week we’ve looked at business strategies. One problem with the words ‘business strategy’ are the number of strategies floating around. Everyone conjures up their own meaning and everyone has their own opinion. The same is true for books; so many to choose from! The volume of strategy books published is overwhelmingly, but every year a few offer new and useful content. Which is best? When I started looking through my bookshelf for my favorite book I realized there are a lot, and I think each of them serve their own purpose. I decided to give you three of my favorites.
Here are a few indispensable contributions to the world of business strategy:
1. The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World, by Walter Kiechel. I selected this book because I like the historical look at business strategy. It’s truly an interesting read!
Today any company worth the name has a strategy. How else to decide what the organization wants to be, and where to compete? But this hasn’t always been so. In fact corporate strategy is a fairly recent invention. Only in the 1960s did a new breed of “business intellectuals”—though they never would have called themselves that—begin to invent the frameworks for pulling together what a company needed to know about its costs, customers, and competitors.
The Lords of Strategy tells the story of these quirky, rebellious men and women, of the key ideas they pioneered, and the organizations they served.
2. The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy: Classic Concepts and New Perspectives, by Carl W. Stern. I selected this book because The Boston Consulting Group has been shaping strategic thinking in business for many years.
This book is a collection of “Perspectives” on business strategy written by The Boston Consulting Group over the past 30 years. Also includes articles published in Harvard Business Review. The collection from one of the most innovative management consulting firms in the world is a go to for anyone needing help with strategy. The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy offers a broad selection of the firm’s best ideas on strategy with fresh ideas, insights, and practical lessons for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs in every industry.
3. The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton. What I love about this book is the performance management tool called the Balanced Scorecard. I think many businesses would benefit from understanding and implementing this tool, an approach that makes strategy a continuous process owned not just by top management, but by everyone.
In The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton share the results of ten years of research into companies that have implemented the Balanced Scorecard. Drawing on more than 20 in-depth case studies, they illustrate how major organizations have used the Scorecard to create an entirely new performance management framework that puts strategy at the center of a company’s key management processes and systems.
Whether you are starting fresh on a new business plan or performing an audit on your current plan, any of these books should provide you with a nugget of wisdom or a fresh approach. Do you have a favorite business strategy book?