Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt 

Good strategy almost always looks this simple and obvious and does not take a thick deck of PowerPoint slides to explain.

The core of strategy work is always the same: discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors.

A good strategy recognizes the nature of the challenge and offers a way of surmounting it.

strategy, responsive to innovation and ambition, selects the path, identifying how, why, and where leadership and determination are to be applied.

Unlike a stand-alone decision or a goal, a strategy is a coherent set of analyses, concepts, policies, arguments, and actions that respond to a high-stakes challenge.

Strategy is about how an organization will move forward.

Our education system is rich with targets and standards, but poor in comprehending and countering the sources of underperformance.

The first natural advantage of good strategy arises because other organizations often don’t have one.

And because they don’t expect you to have one, either.

Fluff is superficial restatement of the obvious combined with a generous sprinkling of buzzwords. Fluff masquerades as expertise, thought, and analysis.

Strategies focus resources, energy, and attention on some objectives rather than others.

Good strategy is not just “what” you are trying to do. It is also “why” and “how” you are doing it.

A guiding policy creates advantage by anticipating the actions and reactions of others, by reducing the complexity and ambiguity in the situation, by exploiting the leverage inherent in concentrating effort on a pivotal or decisive aspect of the situation, and by creating policies and actions that are coherent, each building on the other rather than canceling one another out.

General Georges F. Doriot. The INSEAD library holds a bronze statue of Doriot inscribed with his observation “Without action, the world would still be an idea.”

When there is a weak link, a chain is not made stronger by strengthening the other links.

competitive advantage is interesting when one has insights into ways to increase its value.

To keep the faith and still expand the brand we came up with three basic guidelines. No bad language. It’s OK for people to get angry and red in the face, but no cursing. No uncomfortable sexual situations. We want romance but we will leave making dirty movies to others. No gratuitous violence. We are all in favor of swashbuckling adventure but there will be no beheadings or spurting

Generally available functional knowledge is essential, but because it is available to all, it can rarely be decisive.

“Mr. Carnegie,” Taylor said, “I would advise you to make a list of the ten most important things you can do. And then, start doing number one.”

good strategy has, at a minimum, three essential components: a diagnosis of the situation, the choice of an overall guiding policy, and the design of coherent action.

quick summary is that a terrible industry looks like this: the product is an undifferentiated commodity; everyone has the same costs and access to the same technology; and buyers are price sensitive, knowledgeable, and willing to switch suppliers at a moment’s notice to get a better deal.