Your Strategy Needs a Strategy – A Book Review

A slew of new products in a domestic automobile market. Operating gas pipelines in the tundra. The launch of the latest semi-conductor design. A health startup trying to stay ahead of the pack. Four different industries, four different scenarios.

The business world is home to a multitude of markets – stable ones, which takes years to change in any significant manner, and volatile ones, which can change overnight with the introduction of an innovative product. Each comes with its own challenges and obstacles, so companies need to tailor their strategies to the specific needs of their respective markets.

As per the Boston Consulting Group’s survey of one hundred and twenty companies, executives are aware of the need to tailor their strategies to their company and their market, but are often unable to. This, Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, and Janmejaya Sinha felt, might be due to the lack of a systematic method, so they wrote ‘Your Strategy Needs a Strategy’.

One can design a tailored strategy only when one knows what the strategy must be tailored to. The authors of the book pose three questions – Can you forecast it? Can you shape it? Can you survive it? – whose answers allow business leaders to assess the market they are dealing with, and then place their company in one of the five environments of ‘The Strategy Palette’.

These five environments are the Classical (the market can be predicted, but not changed), the Adaptive (the market can neither be predicted nor changed), the Visionary (the market can be both predicted and changed), the Shaping (the market cannot be predicted, but can be changed) and the Renewal (the company’s resources are severely constrained, and the company simply needs to survive).

Each environment corresponds to a distinct strategic style (or colour in the Strategy Palette). Companies need to ‘be big’ in a Classical environment, ‘be fast’ in an Adaptive one, ‘be first’ in a Visionary one, ‘be the orchestrator in a Shaping environment, and need to ‘be viable’ in a Renewable environment.

All of these concepts are etched in the reader’s memory by defining the core idea, presenting real-world case studies and interweaving the text with snippets of executives’ interviews. The authors also present pointers on avoiding typical mistakes made while either choosing or executing a strategy.

The Strategy Palette can apply to one’s personal life too. If one is uncertain about where one is headed, the book contains valuable insights regarding whether one should be a diagnostician – studying the external environment and then mapping a strategic approach – or an inquisitor – setting and resetting the strategic approach by asking the right questions.

‘Your Strategy Needs a Strategy’ does exactly what it says on its cover: helps the reader choose and execute the right approach in order to steer one’s company onto a profitable course and make the most of leadership challenges.

The Indian Economist recommends ‘Your Strategy needs a Strategy’.

You can now buy the book on Amazon India.

Review written by Aditya Kumar Singh