My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The value of this book lay in its ability to distill important, insightful points in a digestible format.
In The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs, Montgomery helps you to think about applying and understanding the market forces in your industry. Montgomery also discusses the importance of creating value and defining purpose with her Strategy Wheel. Here is an example Strategy Wheel:
The heart of all this is the purpose; why does your company exist? The book is about taking ownership of the process, and ensuring that your system of value creation is critically linked to your purpose. If organizations want to be more effective, efficient, and have more impactful, then the strategist needs to line things up in that direction. If it isn’t working in favour of your purpose and value, then cut it. The book is about identifying that strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the organization exists, and ensuring that your organization is squared up to meet it, and push it forward.
From time to time, I see people not owning their behaviour. I also see them not owning their industry and understanding everything about it. The book had good case studies, where you could see people straying outside their red lines. Case Studies are all very well since we can look at them with cold objectivity. With our own business, it becomes less clear and it starts to engage our lizard brain, which is harder to master.
I re-read the Strategy Wheel chapter a few times. The danger with canvasses such as the Business Canvas (or rebadged attempts at it) is that people really don’t always ask themselves about value creation. It is supposed to be a core component of the Business Canvas model but I don’t always see it applied. Perhaps because it is the hardest part? It is easy to tick boxes in a dilettante fashion, and not think more deeply from there. Thinking about strategy and value is hard, and Montgomery argues that you have to move deeper than ticking boxes, and I think that she is right. I prefer the Strategy Wheel since it means you have to focus on your purpose, and I will be using a version for it for my AI for the Executives Masterclass in London in May. Register Here
The book is heavily Porterian, which is not surprising since Montgomery is also at Harvard. It means that people without a business knowledge backgound could understand the impacts in a Porterian fashion, but not necessarily know his theory. I think that makes it applicable and relevant to a wider audience, and that’s a good thing.