Strategic book cover
USA Today National Best Seller and Top 4 Book of 2024 - Inc. Magazine badges

“A top 4 must-read business book for 2024”
—Inc. Magazine


In Strategic, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Rich Horwath delivers an incisive roadmap to help leaders at all levels think, plan, and act strategically to navigate every business challenge they face. The book offers business leaders a proven framework―the Strategic Fitness System―containing dozens of tools, techniques, and checklists to confidently master every area of the business, from designing market-winning strategies to shaping the organization’s culture.

The practical content will help executives in any industry improve what research has shown to be the most important leadership factor to an organization’s future success―strategic competence―and use this skill to transform complexity to clarity in charting their strategic direction.

The journey begins with the Strategic QuotientTM (SQ) Assessment, a validated tool to determine how effectively a person can think, plan, and act strategically. From there, Horwath defines what it means to be strategic and shares a blueprint for executives to use this skill in all areas of their business on a daily basis.

“To me, the single most important skill needed for any CEO today is strategic acuity.”

Indra Nooyi
former CEO of PepsiCo and
New York Times 
author of My Life in Full

Strategic’s navigational framework is designed from the concept of strategic fitness: the capability to extract insights from the environment in order to create advantage for the business and superior value for customers. With Horwath’s guidance, leaders will master the four dimensions of strategic fitness that contribute to executive performance: 

  • Strategy Fitness: the ability to understand and develop strategy, set direction, allocate resources, make decisions, and create competitive advantage. 
  • Leadership Fitness: a leader’s philosophy, personal performance, mental training, and ability to master time and calendar.
  • Organization Fitness: the ability to create the appropriate business structure, evolve the business model, develop talent while planning for succession, and innovate.
  • Communication Fitness: the facilitation of conversations, effective collaboration, bringing value to customers, and leading productive meetings. 

The essential meta-skill of a leader is to navigate their business with a thorough understanding of their current situation, vision to see the future destination, and the ability to create the path to reach it. 

When you have the knowledge, tools, and skills to navigate your business, it produces both competence and confidence. How do you acquire, maintain, and grow the ability to successfully navigate your business, moving from your current position, over and through obstacles, to reach your goals?
Be Strategic.

A study of 250,000 executives showed that setting strategic direction is the most important role of a leader and the number one factor that improves organizational health. 

Despite this, research by Gallup found only 22 percent of employees strongly agreed that the leaders of their organization have set clear direction for the business.

Don’t be a statistic, be Strategic.

Strategic includes:

  • A common language for strategy and business planning
  • Practical tools for developing the four dimensions of strategic fitness key to advancing the company’s growth: strategy, leadership, organization, and communication
  • Techniques for designing enduring competitive advantage and frameworks for creating innovative new value for customers
  • Methods for evolving the business model to transform the trajectory of the business
  • The Strategic Quotient (SQ)―a validated assessment of an executive’s strategic thinking, planning, and execution

With practical tools and dozens of real-world examples, readers of Strategic will immediately be able to set direction, create advantage,  and achieve executive excellence. Be strategic…or be gone.

Strategic Bestseller Book
STI Compass


  • Strategy: A clear, consistent definition of strategy and how to develop it at all levels 
  • Resource Allocation: Techniques to make strategic trade-offs and focus resources 
  • Decision Making: Clarifying decision rights and tips to effective delegation 
  • Competition: How to assess competitors and create competitive advantage 


  • Leadership: How to craft your leadership philosophy
  • Personal Performance: Keys to maximizing your individual value 
  • Mental Toughness: Habits to build your mental game
  • Time and Calendar: Techniques to control your calendar and maximize time


  • Strategy Conversations: Use dialogue, discussion, and direction to guide your team
  • Collaboration: How to span silos and maximize cross- functional teamwork 
  • Customers: Tools to effectively manage both internal and external stakeholders 
  • Meetings: Leading more effective and productive team interactions 


  • Organizational Foundation: How to optimize your structure, purpose, and culture
  • Business Model: A simple formula to create, deliver, and capture more value 
  • Talent & Succession: Principles and tools to grow and develop your team 
  • Innovation: Techniques to generate, capture, and transform insights into new value 
Strategic Book tablet preview.

Download a preview and start reading.

“The world’s foremost expert on strategic thinking.”

— Chief Executive magazine

RICH HORWATH is founder and CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute where he is a strategy facilitator, advisor, and coach to executive leadership teams. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of eight books on strategic thinking and rated the number one keynote speaker on strategy at national events, including the Society for Human Resource Management Strategy Conference.

Rich has helped more than a quarter million people develop their strategic thinking and planning capabilities over the past 20 years in pursuit of his vision to teach the world to be strategic.

What’s Your Strategic Quotient (SQ)?

To navigate means to determine one’s position and direction and make a way over or through. It may be helpful as part of this journey to determine your current position as it relates to your strategic capabilities. Designed to assist in this process is the Strategic Quotient Assessment. The Strategic Quotient (SQ) is a measure of a person’s strategic capabilities as exhibited through their mindset and behaviors. 

The SQ is based on the 3A Framework of the three critical disciplines for being strategic. These three disciplines are:

  • Acumen (Thinking) – The generation of insights to create new value.
  • Allocation (Planning) – Focusing resources through strategic trade-offs.
  • Action (Acting) – Prioritizing and executing initiatives.

The SQ is used to identify opportunities for development of a person’s strategic capabilities, and, following a targeted intervention, to determine whether the individual understands and applies the disciplines of Acumen, Allocation, and Action. A person’s score on the SQ may indicate the likelihood they can successfully apply and demonstrate these strategic capabilities. 

Sign up for the Strategic Thinker Newsletter
and receive a FREE download of “The Strategic Thinking & Planning Primer” white paper

The Strategic Thinking & Planning Primer