Jack Covert Selects

Winning the Long Game by Steven Krupp & Paul J.H. Schoemaker

December 19, 2014


Winning the Long Game helps you rise above the nuts and bolts, operational management you are already good at and attain strategic leadership.

Winning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Future by Steven Krupp & Paul J.H. Schoemaker, PublicAffairs, 336 pages, $27.99, Hardcover, December 2014, ISBN 9781610394475

Steven Krupp and Paul Schoemaker lead a company that has been helping leaders become more strategic for the last 25 years. With their new book, Winning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Future, they may just put themselves out of business, because the lessons are all there on the page to help develop your strategic skill set.

It is a book that helps you rise above the nuts and bolts, operational management you are already good at and attain strategic leadership, so you can go from simply meeting your quarterly sales numbers to being able to see where the market is going, how it will affect those numbers five or ten years down the line, and then transform the industry yourself before anyone else does so you reap the rewards.

This is an important ability in business, especially in times of uncertainty, crisis, or change, which seems to be becoming the normal resting state of affairs in the business world today.

In times of crisis and change, when people are confused about what to do, ordinary leaders must rise to the level of strategic leadership. This means navigating the unknown, recalibrating the strategy, pointing out where to go, and getting the team back on track to prevent paralysis


There describe six disciplines leaders need to hone to do this; the discipline to: anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and learn. They devote a chapter to each of these, and teach you how to develop leadership plans that will get you thinking more strategically right now.

The very act of reading this book will also start to stretch your strategic mind. The stories intertwined into the six disciplines are varied and uncommon, and help you start connecting threads and think more broadly. The examples range from to Oprah Winfrey shifting the paradigm of daytime talk and building a media empire by engaging her audience more intimately, to the legendary Rothschilds of European who built a banking empire by developing a more efficient way to dispatch money that helped defeat Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.

The last chapter, about “Two Visionary Leaders”—Nelson Mandela and art collector Albert Barnes—wraps things up by showing how these very two different men in different circumstances utilized unique insights and approaches to leave a lasting impact on the world—and just as importantly where they came up short in doing so. A Charles Darwin quote near the end of the book, that “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” sums up nicely the ability to adapt and transform, and occasionally slowing down to spend time with books like Winning the Long Game and learning more about the world is so important.

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