Off The Shelf

Build-It-Yourself Strategy

Strategic Renaissance: New Thinking and Innovative Tools to Create Great Corporate Strategies Using Insights from History and Science By Evan M Dudik Amacom, 2000, $60.34What's wrong with business strategy? It's too tied to fads such as total quality management and business process re-engineering, according to consultant Evan Dudik.

Instead of looking for advice in business books (unless, of course, you're reading Strategic Renaissance), which generally reverse engineer the success of one company to find its underlying strategy and then claim that the strategy applies to all companies, Dudik says corporate executives must accept the challenge of creating their own opportunity-based strategies given their particular markets, customers and competitors.

Citing examples from science, history and business, Dudik suggests that companies articulate their business strategy as a series of if/then statements. The strategy must specify both where a company plays offence vis-à-vis its competitors and where it plays defence. The elements of the strategy can't conflict with each other, and - most important but often overlooked - the strategy must be based on something that is mission-critical to the company. Following these four guidelines will enable a company to develop an effective and successful business strategy.

Peak Performance:

Aligning the Hearts and

Minds of Your Employees

By Jon R Katzenbach

Harvard Business School Press, 2000, $65.83 We all know it's cheaper to retain a good staff than to go out and recruit a new one. In Peak Performance, Jon Katzenbach discusses how successful companies maximise their personnel investment and achieve top results. By examining several high-profile organisations, including Home Depot, KFC and the US Marine Corps, the author identifies five motivational techniques they have in common. He concludes with steps that readers can take to inspire their own employees.

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