Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role.
"Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course. It's not a question they anticipate or care much about on opening day. But by the time the program ends, they cannot imagine leading their companies to success without being—and living the role of—a strategist.
Over a series of weeks and months, Montgomery puts these accomplished executives through their paces. Using case discussions, after-hours talks, and participants' own strategy dilemmas, she illuminates what strategy is, why it's important, and what it takes to lead the effort. En route, she equips them to confront the most essential question facing every business leader: Does this company truly matter? In doing so, she shows that strategy is not just a tool for outwitting the competition; it is the most powerful means a leader has for shaping a company itself.
The Strategist exposes all business leaders—whether they run a global enterprise or a small business—to the invaluable insights Montgomery shares with these privileged executives. By distilling the experiences and insights gleaned in the classroom, Montgomery helps leaders develop the skills and sensibilities they need to become strategists themselves. It is a difficult role, but little else one does as a leader is likely to matter more.
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About the Author
CYNTHIA A. MONTGOMERY is the Timken Professor of Business Administration and immediate former head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she’s taught for twenty years. For the past six years, she has led the strategy track in the school’s highly regarded executive program for owner-managers, attended by business leaders of midsized companies from around the globe. She has received the Greenhill Award for her outstanding contributions to the Harvard Business School’s core MBA strategy course. Montgomery is a top-selling Harvard Business Review author, and her work has appeared in the Financial Times, American Economic Review, Rand Journal of Economics, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, and others. She has served on the boards of directors of two Fortune 500 companies and a number of mutual funds managed by BlackRock, Inc.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What I Learned in Office Hours 1
1 Strategy and Leadership 7
2 Are You a Strategist? 15
3 The Myth of the Super-Manager 23
4 Begin with Purpose 39
5 Turn Purpose into Reality 57
6 Own Your Strategy 79
7 Keep It Vibrant 109
8 The Essential Strategist 133
Author's Note 149
Frequently Asked Questions 151
Recommended Reading 159
What People are Saying About This
“Montgomery’s approach to demystifying strategy is revolutionary. This book will make you sit up and take actions that will have a lasting and positive effect on your company. If you are ready for a life changing journey, read on.”
“In this refreshing book, Montgomery brings out the Strategist in each of us. Wherever you are in the world, as a student, teacher or practitioner of strategy, you will find this book a joyful companion as you reinvent yourself and the world around you.”
“Cynthia Montgomery stimulates you as a business leader, to be owner, creator and ongoing steward of your company’s strategy. She uses her vast experiences in executive education to create engaging and stimulating exampling of successful strategies; both in purpose and execution. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book.”
“Cynthia Montgomery’s The Strategist debunks the Myth of the Super-Manager, capable of overcoming any and all competitive forces. Instead, Montgomery prescribes a clear roadmap to develop successful, customized strategies for organizations and the people who lead them.”
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