Thinkers 50 Strategy - Stuart Crainer, Des Dearlove

Thinkers 50 Strategy - Stuart Crainer, Des Dearlove

Creating strategies is an essential skill for a leader. Get to know the concepts of great business thinkers and how to do good planning to have success.

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In this summary of the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy", written by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, you will see the characteristics of a good strategy, concepts of great thinkers and specialists, and how to prevent you from doing a bad planning of your business.

Creating strategies is not a gift. It is an essential skill. During our lives, we seek to be what we dream of. And to make that dream come true, we have to make a plan; things don't happen alone. And that implies in the business world.

If you want to have a successful company, a team that is ready to face any challenge, you must know how to do a good strategic planning.

Keep reading this PocketBook and learn everything you need!

The book "Thinkers 50 Strategy"

"Thinkers 50 Strategy: The Art and Science of Strategy Creation and Execution" is a book by the creators of Thinkers50, Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, and was published in 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings.

The book has a clear and easy language, containing insights from the authors and conversations with other thinkers, on some concepts about modern strategic management, including Richard D'Aveni, Roger Martin, and C. K. Prahalad, throughout its 208 pages.

Thinkers 50 was the first-ever global ranking of management thinkers and it still is the premier ranking of its kind.

Who are Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove?

The authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove are the creators of Thinkers50. They were recognized as "market makers par excellence" by Management Today.

Stuart is a former editor of the London Business School's award-winning Business Strategy Review.

He lectured at the International MBA at IE Business School and in executive education programs around the world, including Oxford University.

Des is a former columnist for The Times, also a contributing editor of Strategy + Business, and co-editor of the bestselling "Financial Times Handbook of Management". He lectured at IE Business School and Said Business School, at Oxford University.

Why should I read it?

The book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" is indicated to directors and business owners who wish to modernize their strategic planning.

It is also suitable for leaders and managers who want to develop their ability to create strategies to better assist their team.

What are the key points of the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy"?

The authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove gathered interviews with different thinkers and business experts to talk about strategy, bringing authentic concepts and perceptions, expressed within:

  • What a competitive advantage is and how to use it to your advantage;
  • D'Aveni's hypercompetition;
  • Strategy in society and the world;
  • Why should you invest in value innovators;
  • The different forms of strategy, under Mintzberg's vision.

Let's begin?

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[Book Summary] Thinkers 50 Strategy - Stuart Crainer, Des Dearlove

How we got here?

There are different types of strategy. The strategy applied in companies is called corporate strategy, which is divided into missions and values. It is focused on the overall strategy of the company, its business, and the direction things take.

The book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" brings conversations of the authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove with different thinkers of the corporate world. Among them, Costas Markides, professor at the London Business School.

He states that strategy must decide the game we want to play and, from there, determine how to play efficiently. He also shows that a good strategy balances the following three arguments:

  1. What constitutes the content and process of the strategy;
  2. Strategy as analysis or creativity;
  3. Dynamics of the strategy.

Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove say that strategic planning, nowadays, starts from the notions of war. The book uses, as a reference, the work "The Art of War", by Sun Tzu, one of the biggest bestsellers on strategy and recommends it as a must-read for any merger and acquisition consultant.

According to Crainer and Dearlove, the strategy is returning to its origins. Planning analysis is being based on governments and nations. However, its application is not aimed at military conflicts; but to achieve economic power.

In the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy", some of the tools that companies use to optimize their process and outline a clear and objective strategic plan are mentioned:

  • SWOT;
  • Porter's 5 Forces;
  • BCG Matrix.

Competitive advantage

It is discussed in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" new perspectives on competitive advantage. Therefore, the authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove bring the vision of strategic business growth in uncertain environments specialist, Rita McGrath.

She affirms that the days of sustainable competitive advantage are about to end. So, how can we redefine the concept of strategy?

Rita McGrath explains that the concepts of strategy, entrepreneurship, and innovation are increasingly merged. The trend in the future is for successful and stable companies in the business world to take more risks, explore new ideas, and apply them in their sector.

Leaders and managers who do this will practice greater and faster dissemination of information. Also, they will give much more focus on influencing people and engaging them with a more frank and realistic approach.

The essence

This chapter of the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" deals with the studies of Hamel and Prahalad. They show that the essence of the strategy was based on staying in the market. For this, the sense of competitiveness was awakened, in which it was necessary to develop skills to build in less time and cost.

These two experts, in turn, have elevated these concepts of strategy. Their concepts combined the traditional view of strategy with the more fluid and segmented management approach. They call it creative strategizing.

The practice of this concept requires four necessary internal actions by the company:

  1. Inclusion of new people to formulate the strategy;
  2. Presentation of new perspectives;
  3. Think strategically about the future of the company;
  4. Be passionate about what you do.

Such measures are expressly aimed at employee engagement, bringing them to deeper issues of the company, as indicated by the authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove.

Hypercompetition and beyond

The authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove bring the visions of Richard D'Aveni. He says we are entering a new phase of business administration and call this age of hypercompetition.

Richard D'Aveni believes that these advantageous skills, called competitive advantage, must be changed constantly. He explains that competing in a fleeting and metamorphic way causes destabilization in rivals.

Hypercompetitive interactions occur in four fields:

  1. Cost and quality;
  2. Competition of timing and know-how;
  3. Creation and destruction of fortresses;
  4. Accumulation of neutralization of great wealth.

His concept of hypercompetition was created through the reinvention of the structure developed by McKinsey, as exposed in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy".

Reinventing ideas can cause a sudden change in the way the market thinks. This is associated with the way D'Aveni built a new concept based on an existing model.

Exploring blue oceans

Have you ever heard of value innovation? Professors Chan Kim and Renné Mauborgne have created this term for their logical low-cost approach to services. They argue that the differential of companies that are successful both in revenue and profits is not to care about competition.

These innovators (in value) present five characteristics that differ from the others:

  1. They have grit and believe they are able to shape the conditions of the company;
  2. They reinvent the market, rather than selling similar products to competitors with better prices/attributes;
  3. They focus on the convergence of most buyers;
  4. Instead of being limited to assets, value innovators seek new approaches to create more value;
  5. Value innovators aren't afraid to take risks and raise new horizons to solve customer cases.

When you want to create a new industry, you need to break the cycle. The authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove emphasize in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" that great ideas create new types of organizations.

Strategy in action

But how is a strategy developed? We know that a complete plan doesn't fall from the sky. For this, the professor of management studies Henry Mintzberg describes the different types of strategy processes, being some of them:

  • Planned: part of a planning involving the central leadership and formal controls to ensure alignment with the objectives;
  • Entrepreneurial: they have a central vision of only one leader;
  • Ideological: motivated by the collective ideology, highly deliberate;
  • Umbrella: applies to situations where there is less central control. Leaders set goals and guidelines and allow others to operate within limits to achieve the objectives;
  • Process strategies: similar to umbrella strategies, but leaders establish only the strategic process, while the content is left to others;
  • Consensus strategy: emergent, part of the consensus among the members of the company, collective actions;
  • Strategies driven by external circumstances.

The definition of a strategy can lead to some factors considered by the company itself, as it is clarified in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy". It can start from a position on a plan, or else a behavioral pattern, taking into account, of course, the perspective of the organization.

And the authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove conclude by saying that strategic planning can also be done individually to help the person achieve his or her dreamed success.

Where strategy meets society

Economist David P. Baron argues that strategic management should address both market strategies and strategies outside that environment. But what includes these non-market strategies?

Simply any environment where it doesn't consist directly of market forces. They are important in providing social and political contexts for planning and are often involuntary.

The authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove exemplify that non-market spaces are government laws and regulations. As well as interactions mediated by the public, such as boycotting services and products.

The economist says that such strategies should be considered and applied in market strategies to create a competitive advantage. You can rely on the following questions presented in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" to craft a non-market environment:

  • "What is the issue you are dealing with?";
  • "Who are the agents who have a voice in this matter?";
  • "What are the interests?";
  • "Where are these agents located?";
  • "What information moves this issue within the context?";
  • "What assets are needed?".

Where strategy meets the world

Porter believes that the economic goal of a nation is, above all, to provide better standards of living for people. This shouldn't be based on the competitiveness between companies, but on productivity, which is the main determinant.

He indicates that the intensity of internal competition is what creates success on the global stage. To explain the forces that lead a particular industry to prosperity, Porter developed the "national diamond" with the following four forces:

  1. Factor conditions: it encompasses university research, data communications, and availability of professionals in specific fields;
  2. Demand conditions: high demand for a service generates an advantage over the global competition;
  3. Related and supporting industries: influential industries often have successful allies;
  4. Company strategy, structure, and rivalry: internal competition drives the company's growth.

Professor Pankaj Ghemawat, on the other hand, states, in the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy" that we are far from being a globalized world; at the maximum semi globalized. He says the disconnections and inequalities between one region and another are the main sources of competitive advantage.

Books about strategy

In the aforementioned book "The Art of War", the importance of information is constantly addressed by the author Sun Tzu, as well as the relevance of having this knowledge in advance, promoting a competitive advantage.

The author of "Traction", Gino Wickman, explores how successful entrepreneurs have an attractive and well-defined vision for their business. Also, they know how to communicate this message to employees.

The book "The Blue Ocean Strategy" brings a new concept in strategy for gaining prominence in the market. This innovation is based on exploring market opportunities in which there are still no competitors, called by the authors Chan Kim and Renné Mauborgne "blue oceans".

How can I identify a bad strategy?

Throughout the summary, contents and tips about strategic planning were presented. At the end of the book "Thinkers 50 Strategy", strategic expert Richard Rumel teaches you how to identify a bad strategy to prevent you from doing the same:

  • Failure to properly address or define the problem;
  • Wrong objectives for the strategy;
  • Bad strategic goals: what is the point of having a long list of objectives that are unfounded and that are not interconnected?;
  • Fanciness: inventing beautiful words to explain the obvious does not get you anywhere. Be wary of strategies that say a lot to explain little.

One final tip of the authors Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove: "Go ahead with caution, but go on."

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