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Saturday, May 30, 2009


Being Strategic by Erika Andersen - Book review

Being Strategic

Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change

By: Erika Andersen

Published: May 2009
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9780312553982
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

"Being strategic means consistently making those core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future", writes Founding partner of Proteus International and executive coach Erika Andersen, in her groundbreaking book Being Strategic: Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change. The author opens up the discussion of what strategy really means, and how to use strategic thinking and action, to achieve organizational and personal goals.

Erika Andersen takes both a theoretical and practical approach to strategy and strategic thinking. She takes the concept out of the realm of the esoteric and brings strategy into the area of organizational planning. Unlike some books in the field of strategic thinking, which often take a very narrow and specialized view of strategy, the author takes a more holistic approach. Erika Andersen removes the mystique and obscurity that often surrounds organizational strategy. She demonstrates that strategy is an inclusive process that can be learned like any other management concept.

Erika Andersen (photo left) recognizes the importance of strategic thinking, as crucial to an organization's competitiveness. By addressing the goals of the organization with clarity and vision, the needed resources can be put into place to achieve them. At the same time, the often unanswered questions of unknown impediments to the goal, can be properly addressed before they can derail the strategy. Erika Andersen considers strategic thinking to be a core part of the organization and part of the standard operating procedure. The ability to select the proper strategy, based on the overall goals and vision, will propel the organization closer to the target.

For me, the power of the book is its powerful combination of theory, real world examples, and practical hands on applications. The idea that strategy is not inborn into the few, but a learned skill for the many, is a powerful one. Erika Anderson places strategy at the heart of achieving the organization's goals. For too long, strategy has existed almost outside of the organizational mainstream and took on a purely esoteric mantle. As such, strategy moved away from being a force for reaching an over arching vision. Other discussions of strategy reduced the concept almost to the level of tactics. Erika Andersen opened the discussion far beyond either of those two false boundaries.

I highly recommend the indispensable book Being Strategic: Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change by Erika Andersen, to anyone seeking to develop strategic thinking as a way of life and of achieving business goals. The book teaches the theory of strategic thinking and provides the skills to put them into practice. While the prime metaphor in the book is castle building, the book will indeed lay the foundation, and add the bricks, walls, and towers to strengthen any organization.

Read the essential Being Strategic: Plan for Success; Out-Think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change by Erika Andersen, and never be left floundering for ideas to reach your most important personal, business, or organizational goals again. Let strategy become a way of living and acting successfully.

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