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Everything You Need to Know About Strategy: A Baker’s Dozen Eternal Verities

by Tom Peters

“Strategy” is essentially about “knowin’ where you’re goin.'” Not, mostly, a bad idea; though with today’s market gyrations – and market gyration velocity – that’s increasingly difficult to do, a chimera, a distraction even. For me, “knowin’ who you’re goin’ with” tops the list of imperatives in a world of whitewater, and knowin’ that those you’re goin’ with share your passion and determination – and the flexibility of mind to adjust and adjust and adjust on a dime. All of which is to say I’m not, and never have been, a champion of the management school of thought that says, or implies, “Get the strategy right (big word, “right”!), and the rest, as in all good things, will more or less automatically follow.” In fact I think such a view – admittedly not as prevalent today as it used to be, in the wake of everything from huge bankruptcies to 9/11 – is total crap.

So what do you need to know about “strategy”? That was the question I was asked recently by a rather contentious, die-hard academic strategy buff. (These ideas tend to die hardest in academic settings – where the stakes are so low.) My answer, in brief, follows….

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