Strategyman vs. the Anti-Strategy Squad: Using Strategic Thinking to Defeat Bad Strategy and Save Your Plan
September 12, 2018
Rich Horwath's new book on strategy is unlike those he—or anyone else—has written in the past.
We've have published two manifestos from Rich Horwath on ChangeThis in the past, around the release of his previous books, Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking and Strategy for You. They are well-worth returning to if you didn't read them when they were first published, but his new book, Strategyman vs. the Anti-Strategy Squad, out this week from Greenleaf Book Group, is of a different breed. It is, once again, a book all about strategy, but it is an action-packed graphic novel, and a quick, easy, and informative read.
“Business people constantly talk about strategy, yet less than half of all companies have a universal definition of what strategy actually means,” says Horwath. “The result is confusion, inefficiency and bad strategy—the number one cause of business failure.” These four pages from Chapter One will give you a taste.
As the CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, Rich has spent more time thinking about all of this than most. As an author, he has thought more than most about how to put it together in an easy-to-understand guide to strategic thinking. Using his newly published research combined with the power of story and character to give voice to our most immediate challenges, Horwath has created twenty villains who personify our organizations' top strategy obstacles. These are "Fiends such as Meeting Menace (bad meetings), Dr. Yes (too many priorities), and Frankenstrategy (strategies sewn together)," who "terrorize managers at the fictitious company TechnoBody."
We received the following description of the book's plot, which is more succinct than I'm going to be trying to explain it further:
In Strategyman vs. the Anti-Strategy Squad, the main characters—StrategyMan, Purposeidon, Innovatara, and our trusty researcher Rich—come to the aid of TechnoBody, an innovative tech company about to launch a new, wearable technology product. TechnoBody has been targeted by members of the Anti-Strategy Squad, who want to kill the company’s strategic plan by strategycide. Like many other business people, TechnoBody’s managers have created a strategic plan that’s not being used, hasn’t been updated, and mashes together different business planning terms. At the most basic level, TechnoBody’s team is confusing “strategy” with other key concepts. Fortunately, StrategyMan swoops in and clarifies the differences between strategy, goals, objectives, and tactics, so that the managers can develop a plan that’s actionable. Purposeidon then shows them how to create mission, vision, and values statements that represent their company’s true purpose, helping to align everyone in the organization.
Each step along the way, as employees at TechnoBody move closer to launch date, the various members of the Anti-Strategy Squad take turns battling the management team. Time Twister and Fire Driller try to divert workers’ attention from their top priorities. Meeting Menace wants meetings to be ineffective and unproductive, while Silo-Clops tries to keep employees operating in silos, so that different functional areas (e.g. marketing, sales, HR, finance) don’t know each other’s strategies. Meantime, Status Quo-Lock and The Same hope to ensure that TechnoBody doesn’t attempt anything new or different, thus forgoing innovation and opportunities for growth.
In the end, StrategyMan and his cohorts defeat the villains’ nefarious plans. Readers learn how they, too, can beat the Anti-Strategy Squad with effective techniques and practical tools for strategic thinking, planning, and execution on an ongoing basis.
As StrategyMan sums up, “There will always be businesses that fail due to bad or nonexistent strategy. But many more can succeed if they remember that strategic thinking is a triangle: Acumen, Allocation, and Action. These disciplines create a virtuous strategy cycle. New thinking creates new insights. New insights create new value. And new value creates new growth.” With Strategyman vs. the Anti-Strategy Squad as a guide, no business needs to fight the strategy villains alone.
We have 20 copies available (and the following trailer if your interest has not yet been piqued).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rich Horwath is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author on strategy. As the CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, Horwath leads executive teams through the strategy process and has helped more than 100,000 managers around the world develop their strategic thinking skills. A former Chief Strategy Officer and professor of strategy, he brings both real-world experience and practical expertise to help leaders build their team's strategic capabilities.
Rich Horwath has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, NBC and FOX-TV. He is recognized in the textbook Strategy in the 21st Century as one of the key contributors in the history of strategic management for his thought leadership. Rich has spoken to leaders at world-class companies including Google, Intel and FedEx and has been ranked the #1 speaker on strategy & innovation at national conferences.