I haven't read many management books. So one day when I heard our CEO, Carl Bass, say that he thought The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Chrstensen (review) was one of the few management books he thought was "worth anything," I was puzzled. I had just read The FIVE Dysfunctions of a TEAM by Patrick Lencioni (review) and really enjoyed it. Having read the getAbstract summary of Strategy Bites Back by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel, I am starting to get an idea of what Carl might have been talking about.
The take-aways from the book include:
- Learn how to be bold and creative in your strategic thinking.
- Remember "SWOT:" manage your "Strengths;" cure your "Weaknesses," take your "Opportunities, be aware of "Threats" and avoid them.
- Once you figure out a solution, move ahead. Don't hesitate.
- Getting people to buy your ideas is the ultimate goal of strategy.
- In a new business venture, always have an exit strategy.
- Keep the competition guessing. And when you have them on the run, finish them off.
- Rapid changes can spoil even your best strategic plans.
- Don't get bogged down in the mundane and the routine.
- Successful businesses need both leaders (visionaries) and managers (get things done).
- Strategy will never take the place of really knowing your business.
Wow. Really? Thanks to getAbstract, I just saved $21.96 (on sale, was $32.99). Was this book the inspiration for Sharknado?
I think the notions from the book are common sense. My boss, Jon Pittman, VP of Corporate Strategy, likes that, Though many of you have not read this book, you could have guessed that at Autodesk we already do what the book recommends. Some of the uncommon (as in unique to Autodesk) elements that make help us serve our customers include:
- We serve multiple industries: AEC, ENI, MFG, and M&E.
- We have a wide product portfolio.
- We have a worldwide dealer network.
- We are recognized as an industry leader.
- Our file formats are often industry standards.
- Members of Exec Staff have lived through the dot com boon (Buzzsaw.com and RedSpark).
So I guess some of the best advice for leadership and management is to use one's own common sense. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for this book, there was an interesting passage:
Leaders who create strategic agendas are often the most enthusiastic and animated people in the room. Business leaders should be applauded for wanting to make positive changes, but their employees must share the vision — motivation cannot be manufactured. This is a significant challenge since change may require that people step outside of their comfort zones. page 5
At the end of the day, strategy is about:
- Creating customer value.
- Providing customers with solutions that are unique.
- Being able to defend solutions so they cannot be easily copied by competitors.
- Creating fit among company activities to enhance operational effectiveness.
The unique combination of people (investors, employees, partners, dealers), processes, and products positions Autodesk to be successful in the industries we serve.
Strategory [sic] is alive in the lab.