I’m in the midst of reading an excellent book at strategy. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, by Richard Rumelt, should be consumed by any senior executive or advisor who is serious about business growth (h/t to David Cancel, Drift’s CEO for the recommendation). While some people may think a book published in 2011 is “old,” don’t let that scare you away. If anything it demonstrates that the fundamentals of good strategy are timeless.
I have a friend who likes to say that the problem with most strategists is that they don’t know what strategy is. And there is probably no word used more frequently and improperly than strategy. If you bring more than a couple of business executives together to talk about their business, it’s virtually guaranteed that the term will be used more than any other word and that it will mean something different nearly every time it’s used.
In its essence, strategy is all about making choices, and choices are all about making decisions. The word “decide” and the word “homicide” both have the same Latin root and mean the same thing - to kill. When you decide, you “kill” the alternatives.
Strategy, therefore, is all about killing options. It’s about reducing chaos and confusion to increase the focus on fewer, critical elements. And, this is why strategy is so damn hard and so rarely used correctly or effectively. Killing options is hard and scary.