Do You Really Understand Strategy? by Paul Michelman

Morning Advantage: View Original / HBR Blog Network

DeM Banter:  Sounds strangely familiar…

5:00 AM July 25, 2012

Most executives teams are surprisingly weak when it comes to strategy thinking, note Michael Birshan and Jayanti Kar in McKinsey Quarterly. Some leaders reach the C-suite because of functional expertise. Others are stronger on execution than on strategic thinking. Eager to help, the authors offer several pointers to help leaders bulk up their strategic muscles.

To start: learn what strategy really means in your industry. By the time most executives reach the upper echelons, they’ve been exposed to a set of core strategy frameworks, whether in business school, corporate training, or on the job. Part of the power of these frameworks is that they can be applied to any industry. But that’s also part of the problem, the authors say. General ideas can be misleading, and as strategy-making becomes a much more fluid process, the importance of industry context rises dramatically. Executives need to study, understand, and internalize the economics, psychology, and laws of their own industries, and to bring that knowledge to bear in formulating and managing strategy.We’ll add that this is particularly useful advice for executives who have switched industries.

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