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HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter)

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Is your company spending too much time on strategy development—with too little to show for it? If you read nothing else on strategy, read these 10 articles (featuring “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you catalyze your organization's strategy development a Is your company spending too much time on strategy development—with too little to show for it? If you read nothing else on strategy, read these 10 articles (featuring “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you catalyze your organization's strategy development and execution. HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy will inspire you to: • Distinguish your company from rivals • Clarify what your company will and won't do • Craft a vision for an uncertain future • Create blue oceans of uncontested market space • Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy • Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase • Make priorities explicit • Allocate resources early • Clarify decision rights for faster decision making" This collection of best-selling articles includes: featured article "What Is Strategy?" by Michael E. Porter, "The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy," "Building Your Company's Vision," "Reinventing Your Business Model," "Blue Ocean Strategy," "The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution," "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System," "Transforming Corner-Office Strategy into Frontline Action," "Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance," and "Who Has the D? How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance."


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Is your company spending too much time on strategy development—with too little to show for it? If you read nothing else on strategy, read these 10 articles (featuring “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you catalyze your organization's strategy development a Is your company spending too much time on strategy development—with too little to show for it? If you read nothing else on strategy, read these 10 articles (featuring “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you catalyze your organization's strategy development and execution. HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy will inspire you to: • Distinguish your company from rivals • Clarify what your company will and won't do • Craft a vision for an uncertain future • Create blue oceans of uncontested market space • Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy • Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase • Make priorities explicit • Allocate resources early • Clarify decision rights for faster decision making" This collection of best-selling articles includes: featured article "What Is Strategy?" by Michael E. Porter, "The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy," "Building Your Company's Vision," "Reinventing Your Business Model," "Blue Ocean Strategy," "The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution," "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System," "Transforming Corner-Office Strategy into Frontline Action," "Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance," and "Who Has the D? How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance."

30 review for HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy (including featured article “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trinh Chau

    A good set of article for corporate strategy. 1. WHAT IS STRATEGY? - Operational Effectiveness is different from Strategy. The former, meaning to perform BETTER than rival with SIMILAR activities, is a need but still not sufficient enough. On the other hands, Strategy is an essential for every enterprise wanting to outstand from the crowd. Strategy is to perform different activities, or to perform same activities in different ways. - There are 3 sources of Strategy: customer-based (IKEA), access-b A good set of article for corporate strategy. 1. WHAT IS STRATEGY? - Operational Effectiveness is different from Strategy. The former, meaning to perform BETTER than rival with SIMILAR activities, is a need but still not sufficient enough. On the other hands, Strategy is an essential for every enterprise wanting to outstand from the crowd. Strategy is to perform different activities, or to perform same activities in different ways. - There are 3 sources of Strategy: customer-based (IKEA), access-based (Carmike Cinemas), variety-based (many choices) - A strategy must be persistent with time. Imitation can screw up business. - A strategy always has trade-offs. Straddling can't bring outperformance. 2. THE FIVE COMPETITIVE FORCES THAT SHAPE STRATEGY 5 Forces to Analyze an Industry - Threat of new entry, including supply side Economics of Scale, demand side benefit of scale, customer switching costs, capital requirement, incumbency advantages independence of size, unequal access to distribution channels, restrictive government policy. To counter this, increase costs of competing by investing deeply in R&D - Power of suppliers consists of concentrated industry, variable industries able to enjoy, switching costs in changing suppliers, differentiate products offered, no substitute, supplier joining the industry. To scare off this force, do specification for parts. - Power of buyers forced the business in case of only few buyers, products are standard, few switching costs among vendors, buyers join the industry. To limit the threat, provide better customer service. - Threat of substitutes occurs with attractive price performance, and when buyer’s cost of switching is low. One needs to have wider product choices to cope with this pressure. - Rivalry among existing competitors occurs when many competitors on stage with equal size and power, industry growth is slow, high exit barriers, leadership strength, and different approaches to compete with different goals which are blur to read. Company needs to have products with distinct value to neutralize this force. 3. BUILDING YOUR COMPANY’S VISION A vision includes 2 parts - Core ideology never dies. This consists of core values, regarding the passion; and core purpose, stating the reason for being. - Invisioned Future has a certain level of unreasonable confidence and commitment. Identify the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG) of the company: in 10-30 years, what can we become?. Then follow with a vivid description: how to become that? 4. REINVENTING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL A good business model has the following components: - Customer value proposition: solution to solve customers’ problem that can stand out - Profit formula: to from price to deliver CVP. Identify revenue model, cost structure, margin model and resource velocity - Key resources - Key processes: including operational and managerial processes. Also include company’s rules, metrics and norms. 5. BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY - Red and blue oceans always co-exist! - Blue Ocean and Red Ocean are differentiated by costs. - Blue ocean business model is hard to copy, because it is easier to imagine than to do. 6. THE SECRETS TO SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY EXECUTION There are 4 areas an organization needs to ensure for high performance - Decision rights. Everyone knows the decisions and actions they are responsible for. This encourages high-level managers to reject operational decisions. - Information flows. Information needs to be clear from top to bottom, with speed. - Motivators. Once made, decisions must not be second-guessed. - Structure 7. USING BALANCED SCORECARD AS A STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT SYSTEM 4 processes from short term to long term objectives - Translating vision. Eg. “superior service to targeted customers” by identifying who they are and what constitutes superior service - Communicating and linking - Business planning with financial budget aligning with strategic goals - Feedback and learning 8. TRANSFORMING CORNER OFFICE STRATEGY INTO FRONLINE ACTION - An effective strategic principle forces trade-offs, tests, and sets clear boundaries within which employees operate and experiment - Mission is different from strategic principle. The former is aspirational statement, the latter call to action. - Creating and communicating strategic principle: o Draft a working SP by summarizing corporate strategy in a brief phrase o Test its endurance. Does it capture timeless essence? o Test its communicative power. Is the phrase clear, concise and memorable? Proud to say? o Test its ability to promote and guide action o Communicate it consistently, simply and repeatedly 9. TURNING GREAT STRATEGY INTO GREAT PERFORMANCE 7 rules to create strategy that delivers great performance - Keep simple, make concrete. Easily translated into action. Where the company is headed to and why? - Debate assumptions, not forecasts to reflect real market economics - Use rigorous framework, speak common language for all departments - Discuss resources deployments early. How long will it take to change something? - Clearly identify priorities. If I have only 1 hour to work, here’s what I’m going to focus on. - Continuously monitor performance - Reward and develop execution capabilities 10. WHO HAS THE D? RAPID decision model for different roles. - Recommend - Agree - Perform - Input - Decide

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abdurrahman AlQahtani

    This is just an amazing set of articles around strategy. The first two from Michael Porter were tough ones, i could berely follow to a degree i was thinking to drop the book. I skipped the second article and moved on, and the rest of articels were amazing.. especially the ones related to vision, blue ocean strategy, execution, and the strategy principles. I would highly recommend this book for those with business backgound (either their own, or have been working for the past 5 years or so).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Héctor Iván Patricio Moreno

    I don't know if this could be called a 'book' in all the extension of the word, but this is one of the most instructive books I've read in my life (although I haven't read that much). It may be because before this book I barely know anything about strategy and corporate plans. Just as the subtitle says: "If you read nothing else, read this". Absolutely. A few of the concepts that had stuck with me: - A strategy must include tradeoffs, to be difficult to replicate. - The strategy is as much as what yo I don't know if this could be called a 'book' in all the extension of the word, but this is one of the most instructive books I've read in my life (although I haven't read that much). It may be because before this book I barely know anything about strategy and corporate plans. Just as the subtitle says: "If you read nothing else, read this". Absolutely. A few of the concepts that had stuck with me: - A strategy must include tradeoffs, to be difficult to replicate. - The strategy is as much as what you won't do as much as you will do. - A company vision is composed of different parts, the core something that not changes ever and the envisioned future, both things must inspire action, not as the dull and boring enunciates we think of as the 'mission' and 'vision' of the companies. - To close the gap between a plan an the reality you need a set of actions and measures. But one of the most important actions and characteristics across high performing organizations is the ability to decide quickly and right. - You must communicate effectively your strategy and get buy-in from every level. - The vision of your company will help you hire the right people - You can craft a phrase that encapsulates the essence of your strategy to help people take action quickly I've learned much more and I hope I can write to avoid forgetting and practice what I've learned soon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    محمد الملا

    A must read book for whom interested in strategy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    A fairly good mix of usefull nuggets and some hot air drivel

  6. 4 out of 5

    Todd Davidson

    Some 5 star essays, some 2 star essays.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Good book, but 2 out of 10 was read from other sources. Table of Contents 1. What Is Strategy? Porter, Michael E. 2. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy Michael E. Porter 3. Building Your Company's Vision Collins, James C. and Porras, Jerry I. 4. Reinventing Your Business Model Mark W. Johnson, Clayton M. Christensen, and Henning Kagermann 5. Blue Ocean Strategy W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne 6. The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Po Good book, but 2 out of 10 was read from other sources. Table of Contents 1. What Is Strategy? Porter, Michael E. 2. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy Michael E. Porter 3. Building Your Company's Vision Collins, James C. and Porras, Jerry I. 4. Reinventing Your Business Model Mark W. Johnson, Clayton M. Christensen, and Henning Kagermann 5. Blue Ocean Strategy W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne 6. The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Powers 7. Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton 8. Transforming Corner-Office Strategy into Frontline Action Orit Gadiesh and James L. Gilbert 9. Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance Michael C. Mankins and Richard Steele 10. Who Has the D?: How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance Paul Rogers and Marcia Blenko "Reinventing your business model" is also in "HBR's 10 Must Read on Business Model Innovation ". "Blue Ocean Strategy" is from book "Blue Ocean Strategy". Strategy is making trde-offs in competing. Strategy is creating fitamong a company's activities. A well-conceived vision consists of two major components: core idology & envisioned future.Purpose should last at least 100 years, it is like a guiding star on the horizon - forever pursued but never reached. For example: Disney's purpose is to make people happy, not to make cartoons. Vision requires 10 to 30 years of effort to complete. Our strategy and out mission may change, but our values never do. Develop strategies to fulfill mission. A mission statement informs a company's culture. A strategy principle drives a company's strategy. A mission statement is aspirational: it gives people something to strive for. A strategic principle is action oriented: it enables people to do something now. A mission statement is meant to inspire frontline workers. A strategic principle enables them to act quickly by giving them explicit guidance to make strategically consistent choices. GE's mission statement: always with unyielding integrity, passionately focused on driving customer success, create an environment of stretch, excitement, informality and trust... The language is aspirational and emotional. GE's strategic principle: be #1 or #2 in every industry in which we compete or get out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sahat P

    Yes this book will inspire you to: • Distinguish your company from rivals • Clarify what your company will and won't do • Craft a vision for an uncertain future • Create blue oceans of uncontested market space • Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy • Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase • Make priorities explicit • Allocate resources early • Clarify decision rights for faster decision making" And this book is a collection of best-selling articles includes: featured article "What Is S Yes this book will inspire you to: • Distinguish your company from rivals • Clarify what your company will and won't do • Craft a vision for an uncertain future • Create blue oceans of uncontested market space • Use the Balanced Scorecard to measure your strategy • Capture your strategy in a memorable phrase • Make priorities explicit • Allocate resources early • Clarify decision rights for faster decision making" And this book is a collection of best-selling articles includes: featured article "What Is Strategy?" by Michael E. Porter, "The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy," "Building Your Company's Vision," "Reinventing Your Business Model," "Blue Ocean Strategy," "The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution," "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System," "Transforming Corner-Office Strategy into Frontline Action," "Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance," and "Who Has the D? How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance.". To many of author and perfective of this book to be feature and also to enrich our strategy perfective and side view of our strategy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darya

    #bookstoread This week's pick is on #strategy. HBR's 10 Must Reads Series from Harvard Business Review provides a lot to reflect on. Here are my picks from the #book 1.Operational effectiveness is not a strategy. Strategy attempts to achieve sustainable competitive positioning. 2.Forces (customers, suppliers, competitors, entrants, offerings) shape your strategy. 3.Startegy should form long lasting company's vision. 4.Great business model is proposed by strategic positioning. 5.Follow blue ocean, don #bookstoread This week's pick is on #strategy. HBR's 10 Must Reads Series from Harvard Business Review provides a lot to reflect on. Here are my picks from the #book 1.Operational effectiveness is not a strategy. Strategy attempts to achieve sustainable competitive positioning. 2.Forces (customers, suppliers, competitors, entrants, offerings) shape your strategy. 3.Startegy should form long lasting company's vision. 4.Great business model is proposed by strategic positioning. 5.Follow blue ocean, don't enter red one. 6.Clarify decision rights and ensure info flows to support strategic efficiency. 7.Balanced score card is very supportive in strategic decision focus. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dariya... #Book HBR's 10 Must Reads Series on Strategy #thoughtleadership #strategy #business #leadership #strategicmindset

  10. 5 out of 5

    Madhur Bhargava

    The book's cover title says it all - "If you've read nothing else on strategy, read these definitive articles from HBR". I found almost all the articles presented in this book very enlightening and filled with a lot of "aha" moments. Especially the first 2 articles by Michael Porter are just gold. The book is written in Harvard's traditional case study method and may be a bit jargon heavy specifically for users who come from a non-management background/expertise but is a very fulfilling read for The book's cover title says it all - "If you've read nothing else on strategy, read these definitive articles from HBR". I found almost all the articles presented in this book very enlightening and filled with a lot of "aha" moments. Especially the first 2 articles by Michael Porter are just gold. The book is written in Harvard's traditional case study method and may be a bit jargon heavy specifically for users who come from a non-management background/expertise but is a very fulfilling read for any professional who wants to expand his knowledge regarding strategising.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bayo Ibi

    Not so much a book per se than a collection of articles from a pretty solid cast of contributors. For those interested in this type of thing, some strong pieces on business strategy/ strategic management with good linss to real world examples. (Some a bit dated... soubt the AOL-Time Warner merger is anything to celebrate in hindsight) Also, a few parts a little 'hot air'-y and potentially worth a skip. Overall, a few frameworks and angles of thinking that I can apply to my daily work in srategy. Not so much a book per se than a collection of articles from a pretty solid cast of contributors. For those interested in this type of thing, some strong pieces on business strategy/ strategic management with good linss to real world examples. (Some a bit dated... soubt the AOL-Time Warner merger is anything to celebrate in hindsight) Also, a few parts a little 'hot air'-y and potentially worth a skip. Overall, a few frameworks and angles of thinking that I can apply to my daily work in srategy. Good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Özkan Tezgin

    I used this book for my Strategy class in Oxford. Strategy could be quite boring and daunting topic to study for a finance student. However this book will make you love strategy with its engaging and exciting literature. Short but robust articles supported with real case scenarios. This book will ensure you understand why strategy is the most important thing in an organisation whatever you are doing

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pranay Roy

    There are insightful articles on strategy covering many examples. This is a good start to understand strategic viewpoints with practical takeaways. There are some overlaps in articles, which make it repetitive and somewhat lengthy. Overall, a useful collection, handpicked after careful consideration from HBR. Worth a read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Captain063

    Reading HRB articles is a basis of understanding business. HBR has to control the translation of their editions and never leave them to independent institutions without reviewing. Some of the articles contain very old ideas and many revisions came after it, I wish that revisions were mentioned at the margins, at least. Two points consume one star of evaluation.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leo Fischer

    An instructive read, it discusses several different parts of business strategy and not just disruption or leadership. The importance of aligning a business' structure and core competencies with its market strategy was well presented, with a some useful insight into when competition is zero-sum or race-to-the-bottom vs growing-the-pie. An instructive read, it discusses several different parts of business strategy and not just disruption or leadership. The importance of aligning a business' structure and core competencies with its market strategy was well presented, with a some useful insight into when competition is zero-sum or race-to-the-bottom vs growing-the-pie.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ezzeddine Jradi

    I started reading this book more than 2 years ago, never had the chance to finish it until today. Ironically, two months back I was promoted to a strategy role. I highly recommend this book for corporate management. It has useful frameworks and insightful information. I wonder if this book will have new version, which companies will be used as examples.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenish Patel

    Amazing book on Strategy. The articles are very informative with Case Study of many well known companies. every author has their own unique perspective but they are all directing towards the same strategy implementation. Recommended for every Entrepreneur and B-School students.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ruchir Gandhi

    Each article matters !! Condensation of Best Strategy articles which really matters to each organisation, each holding managerial position either government, private or NGOs. Second book to read on strategy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bunch

    I agree, on the subject of business strategy, this book is a must read. It opens with Michael Porter from the Harvard Business School and continues to pound out the top articles on this subject. This book is a requirement for those about to embark on strategic planning.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bilal Uzun

    Strongly recommend if you work on strategy development and execution. I liked structured approach to explain what strategy is, what is difference with operational performance and how to develop strategy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    Good but boring There is a lot of great content but a bit hard to get through even though it is only short articles. I put it down and came back to it a year later to finally get through the whole thing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nosemonkey

    Classic business essays, with much that still stands - though most of the case studies are now so outdated as to risk undermining the solid theory. Perfectly possible to get the fundamentals from Wikipedia rather than trace back to the source.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bene Laszlo

    A bit boring to be honest. Michael Porter's two publications about strategy are priceless. Lots of great insights. The book is focused more on big enterprises, but the concepts apply to every business. It's worth the read if you are curious about business strategy. A bit boring to be honest. Michael Porter's two publications about strategy are priceless. Lots of great insights. The book is focused more on big enterprises, but the concepts apply to every business. It's worth the read if you are curious about business strategy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    M.

    A great read from start to finish, you can agree or disagree with the ideas presented, but the reason for them and their basis of conclusion is clear, so you will always end up learning something new and gain a new, valid, point of view.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Good concepts covered in a short collection, but if you’ve gotten an MBA in the last 15 years, you’ve likely covered all the ideas. It’s basically a how to get back on track when your huge company is spiraling out of control, complete with executive retreats to the Caribbean.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I had read most of the pieces contained within this text over the years, but it was good to revisit them and to also read a couple I had somehow missed. The book generally survives time well but some concepts certainly have needed an update based on the continued evolution of the workplace.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joe Murphy

    Getting ready for that strategy course

  28. 4 out of 5

    Latonya Rochelle

    Nice compendium of strategy thought.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caio Malufe

    Some of the articles are interesting, but not sure I would recommend this book ... don’t think they’ve achieved the goal of “everything you need to know about strategy”, as they claim

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vaibhav Dhotre

    A must-read book for those who really want to grove their business strategy in the competitive business environment." A must-read book for those who really want to grove their business strategy in the competitive business environment."

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