Outstanding! Relevant to those engaged in making change happen – strategy, consulting, implementation or all three. It becomes clear that as strategy has evolved, particularly over the past 3 decades affecting most Executives today, very different approaches have influenced, and continue to influence strategic choices.
Of particular interest to those leading and managing change: attempts to factor in the human element are considered nascent, emergent. Chapter 9 is an excellent review of the current context and in the final pages Kiechel notes Keynes’s famous “animal spirits” concluding: “For most of strategy’s history, those are precisely the factors that the paradigm hasn’t found a way to work into its calculations. If the discipline is to continue to be of service, it will have to find that way.”
Kiechel acknowledges the still growing tension between the power of Private Equity firms, institutional investors and even the common person’s drive for 10%+ annual returns and Strategy’s credo of “building long term sustainable competitive advantage”. While this is unresolved is it, at least, noted.
Walter Kiechel’s credentials are impeccable – as former Editorial Director for Harvard Business Publishing and Managing Editor at Fortune Magazine his perch is unlike any others. He has benefited from first hand access as well as the pressures of journalistic objectivity. This book is an insider’s view on the largest consulting firms of our generation and insightful context as to the history and the trajectory of the discipline.
This is one of the few books I have read cover-to-cover, underlining and making notes in the margins – notes agreeing, disagreeing, to consider later, relevant to current client work and Firm development.
The cover has it right “What unfolds is the story behind the story of what’s happening in today’s economy: why companies believe they must ceaselessly cut costs; why innovation has become crucial to survival; … and how it will shape the future of business.”
Have you read it? What did you think?