Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing What’s Obvious but not Easy, reviewed by David Maister – George Foot, sales and marketing director, Kensington Europe
Over the years, I’ve seen colleagues and employers struggle with defining, clarifying and implementing business strategies. They struggle because like dieting or quitting smoking, it’s hard work.
That’s the premise of this book. Drawing on the smoking analogy, the author suggests that while we may concoct impressive plans for business growth and team development, they are rarely executed because they are simply too challenging. We end up falling at the first hurdle because we (or those we work with) simply can’t face the thought of hard work.
Maister’s message is simple but powerful. He encourages his readers to avoid over-complicating situations, clarify expectations and set levels of accountability. Above all, he urges us to be realistic.
It’s an inspiring read, and has helped me focus on the implementation of my own strategies. Maister suggests that the sustained sense of purpose necessary for success needs to come from the top. Leaders need to maintain a determined, can-do attitude, and should incentivise people with rewards that are closely linked to business achievements.
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