Contents

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy — The
Difference and Why It Matters

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION:         OVERWHELMING OBSTACLES

PART 1 — GOOD AND BAD STRATEGY

1    Good Strategy Is Unexpected          

How Steve Jobs saved Apple . . . Business 101 is surprising . . . General Schwarzkopf’s strategy in Desert Storm . . . Why Plan A remains a surprise

2    Discovering Power

David and Goliath is a basic strategy story . . . Discovering Wal-Mart’s secret . . . Marshall and Roche’s strategy for competing with the Soviet Union

3    Bad Strategy

Is U.S. national security strategy just slogans? . . . How to recognize fluff . . . Why not facing the problem creates bad strategy . . . Chad Logan’s 20/20 plan mistakes goals for strategy . . . What’s wrong with a dog’s dinner of objectives? . . . How blue-sky objectives miss the mark

4    Why So Much Bad Strategy?

Strategy involves choice, and DEC’s managers can’t choose . . . The path from charisma to transformational leadership to fill-in-the-blanks template-style strategy
. . . New Thought from Emerson to today and how it makes strategy seem superfluous

5    The Kernel of Good Strategy

The mixture of argument and action lying behind any good strategy . . . Diagnosing Starbucks, K–12 schools, the Soviet challenge, and IBM . . . Guiding policies at Wells Fargo, IBM, and Stephanie’s market . . . The president of the European Business Group hesitates to act . . . Incoherent action at Ford . . . Centralization, decentralization, and Roosevelt’s strategy in WWII

PART 2 —  SOURCES OF POWER     

6 Using Leverage

Anticipation by Toyota and insurgents in Iraq . . . How Pierre Wack anticipated the oil crisis and oil prices . . . Pivot points at 7-Eleven and the Brandenburg Gate . . . Harold Williams uses concentration to make the Getty a world presence in art

7 Proximate Objectives  

Why Kennedy’s goal of landing on the moon was a proximate and strategic objective . . . Phyllis Buwalda resolves the ambiguity about the surface of the moon . . . A regional business school generates proximate objectives . . . A helicopter pilot explains hierarchies of skills . . . Why what is proximate for one organization is distant for another

8 Chain-Link Systems

Challenger’s O-ring and chain-link systems . . . Stuck systems at GM and underdeveloped countries . . . Marco Tinelli explains how to get a chain-link system unstuck . . . IKEA shows how excellence is the flip side of being stuck

9 Using Design

Hannibal defeats the Roman army in 216 B.C. using anticipation and a coordinated design of action in time and space . . . How a design-type strategy is like a BMW . . . Designing the Voyager spacecraft at JPL . . . The trade-off between resources and tight configuration . . . How success leads to potent resources that, in turn, induce laxity and decline . . . Design shows itself as order imposed on chaos—the example of Paccar’s heavy-truck business

10 Focus

A class struggles to identify Crown Cork & Seal’s strategy . . . Working back from policies to strategy . . . The particular pattern of policy and segmentation called “focus” . . . Why the strategy worked

11 Growth

The all-out pursuit of size almost sinks Crown . . . A noxious adviser at Telecom Italia . . . Healthy growth

12 Using Advantage

Advantage in Afghanistan and in business . . . Stuart and Lynda Resnick’s serial entrepreneurship . . . What makes a business “interesting” . . . The puzzle of the silver machine . . . Why you cannot get richer by simply owning a competitive advantage . . . What bricklaying teaches us about deepening advantage . . . Broadening the Disney brand . . . The red tide of pomegranate juice . . . Oil fields, and isolating mechanisms

13 Using Dynamics

Capturing the high ground by riding a wave of change . . . Jean-Bernard Lévy opens my eyes to tectonic shifts . . . The microprocessor changes everything . . . Why software is king and the rise of Cisco Systems . . . How Cisco rode three interlinked waves of change . . . Guideposts to strategy in transitions . . . Attractor states and the future of the New York Times

14 Inertia and Entropy

The smothering effect of obsolete routine at Continental Airlines . . . Inertia at AT&T and the process of renewal . . . Inertia by proxy at PSFS and the DSL business . . . Applying hump charts to reveal entropy at Denton’s . . . Entropy at GM

15 Putting It Together

Nvidia jumps from nowhere to dominance by riding a wave of change using a design-type strategy . . . How a game called Quake derailed the expected march of 3-D graphics . . . Nvidia’s first product fails, and it devises a new strategy . . . How a faster release cycle made a difference . . . Why a powerful buyer like Dell can sometimes be an advantage . . . Intel fails twice in 3-D graphics and SGI goes bankrupt

PART 3 — THINKING LIKE A STRATEGIST          

15 The Science of Strategy

Hughes engineers start to guess at strategies . . . You can only use deduction if you already know everything worth knowing . . . Galileo heresy trial triggers the Enlightenment . . . Hypotheses, anomalies, and Italian espresso bars . . . Why Americans drank weak coffee . . . Howard Schultz as a scientist . . . Learning and vertical integration

17 Using Your Head

A baffling comment is resolved fifteen years later . . . Frederick Taylor tells Andrew Carnegie to make a list . . . Being “strategic” largely means being less myopic than your undeliberative self . . . TiVo and quick closure . . . Thinking about thinking . . . Using mind tools: the kernel, problem-solution, create-destroy, and the panel of experts

17 Keeping Your Head

Can one be independent without being eccentric, doubting without being a curmudgeon? . . . Global Crossing builds a transatlantic cable . . . Build it for $1.5 and sell it for $8 . . . The worst industry structure imaginable . . . Kurt Gödel and stock prices . . . Why the 2008 financial crisis was almost certain to occur . . . The parallels between 2008, the Johnstown Flood, the Hindenburg, the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, and the Gulf
oil spill . . . How the inside view and social herding blinded people to the coming financial storm . . . The common cause of the panics and depressions of 1819, 1837, 1873, 1893, and 2008.

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