The Secret Powers of Strategyman

October 18, 2011

Bad strategy beware: there’s a new superhero in town. Read the first three pages of the first ever business strategy comic book, “The Secret Powers of Strategyman.” To read the entire comic book and take the “Are You Strategic?” quiz, go to “Rich Horwath’s Files” and download “Strategyman Comic Book” at

Strategic Thinking and Business Strategy

August 25, 2011

In an attempt to piece together a fuller picture of strategic thinking, I’ve created the following infographic. It’s designed to highlight key research findings and examples related to strategic thinking, or in some cases, a lack thereof. The data sources outside of my research have been listed after the graphic for those interested in greater detail. (Click to enlarge) Embed…

Is your group strategic?

August 19, 2011

1. Does everyone in your company have the same definition of strategy? Yes | No 2. Do people understand the difference between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics? Yes | No 3. Have the different groups in the organization clearly defined their goals and shared them with others? Yes | No 4. Do you clearly communicate your product/service points of differentiation that customer’s…

Best Practice Isn’t Strategy

August 17, 2011

The term “best practice” is a misleading one. “Best” is too often perceived as a universal. The reality is that an organization’s success and/or failure is determined by a number of factors, including the current context, competitive landscape, customer value drivers, internal culture and so on. So when we use the concept of best practice to develop our strategy, we’re…

Those headwinds, they are a blow’in

July 29, 2011

Good people of the business world, take cover! No, it’s not a tsunami, or hurricane or even a tropical storm. It’s the new scapegoat: headwinds. In a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Sprint Loses More Customers,” Sprint Nextel CFO Joseph Euteneuer said, “We faced a number of competitive headwinds that became more pronounced in the second quarter.” Earlier in the…

Border’s Failure to Read Between the Lines

July 26, 2011

As Borders began shuttering their roughly 400 remaining stores, company president Mike Edwards said, “We are saddened by this development. We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time…have brought us to where we are now.” A heartfelt statement that craftily shifts the blame for their demise to external…

Strategy Pizza

July 13, 2011

When you’re trying to do too much at work, it’s like a Strategy Pizza with everything. Imagine eating a pizza with 25 toppings – sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, anchovies, peppers, spinach, bacon, ham, pineapple, onion rings, potato skins – wow, I’m getting hungry just thinking about that. BUT it’s too much – it’s messy, it tastes bad and it’s hard to…

“But” Disease

June 17, 2011

Recent research by Egon Zehnder and McKinsey and Co. showed that the ability to come up with insights was the most important trait for executives in top-performing companies. Where do you record your insights or learnings about your business? How often do you record these insights? In my work helping managers develop their strategic thinking skills, a great deal of focus…

Strategic Thinker or Strategyless?

April 27, 2011

Here’s a quick quiz you can share with folks in your group to see how strategic people are (answers follow the quiz): 1. At the heart of business strategy is: A. The intelligent allocation of limited resources. B. Distributing resources across all potential growth opportunities. C. Working to be better and faster than the competition. 2. Successful business strategy is about: A. Being…

What’s Your Competitor’s Strategic Approach?

April 8, 2011

As more large public companies such as Borders and Blockbuster file for bankruptcy, it’s apparent that Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu’s words nearly 3,000 years ago still haven’t sunk in: If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. According to research by Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui, the number one…