Book: Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

My favourite quotes

In the strategy room, human biases and social dynamics can prevent the necessary big moves from getting on the table, let alone getting executed.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

All that ‘new’ strategy ends up being good for is justifying some uneconomical projects – the ones labelled ‘strategic’ because they lose money.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[W]e go into the strategy process loaded with individual and institutional biases, and the group dynamics in the strategy room often distort results.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[A] strategy process about job protection rarely produces the best outcomes for the company.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

You may be discussing a 5-year strategy, but everyone knows that what really matters is the first-year budget.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

In most strategy rooms, there simply aren’t enough data, and certainly not all the right data.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Overconfidence is self-reinforcing, too. It leads people to ignore contradictory information, which makes them more confident, which makes them more likely to ignore contradictory information.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Purely rational approaches – the next 3 x 3 matrix, the latest best-practice case studies – rarely help in achieving breakthroughs in strategy.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

There’s no noise coming from the ‘graveyard of silent failures’ because we only see what happened, not what didn’t happen.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[A]s soon as you introduce people into strategy, you get biases.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

You have people who you’d hope are all pulling in the same direction, but in reality, they have very different motivations and certainly asymmetric information.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Even if we don’t like to acknowledge it, we are social creatures and covet status in the tribe. This was an excellent trait from an evolutionary perspective, […] but can be an obstacle when developing good strategies.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

The embracing of ignorance had to come before the embracing of knowledge.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Your main competitor is the Darwinian force of the market that squeezes your profitability; your main measure of whether you are winning is the extent to which you can avoid that squeeze.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[W]hen things are going well, we attribute results to our management’s unique recipe; when times are tough, it’s an industry problem or bad luck.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Uncertainty is not only everywhere in and around strategy, it is the very reason we need strategy.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[I]n business, your goal needs to be to give yourself the best possible odds, and to think in those terms.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

A big move is not big because it’s hard, or because the team feels stretched; it’s big when it’s big relative to your competition.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

To friend a trend, you must overcome myopia, pain avoidance, and inertia.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

[S]hake free of the notion that the status quo is the baseline.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Companies rarely die from moving too fast, they die from moving too slow.

Reed Hastings

Spreading resources evenly provides too much to those units that aren’t going to make a big move – or can’t – while depriving those one or two that could turn into huge opportunities.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Differentiation requires long-term thinking – which is hard while you’re on the quarterly earnings treadmill.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

Stop planning as though we know the future. Rather, decide what you can do today, with the information you have, and build explicit trigger points into the strategy to make better decisions as you learn more.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

It’s equally important to understand the causes of success. You don’t want to punish noble failures, but you also don’t want to reward dumb luck.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick

There’s no link between [a] grand vision and bold aspirations to a real strategy.

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick