Book Review – Strategy First
What do poker chips, tides, walls and Einstein’s E=mc2 equation have in common?
The answer: Strategy. Strategy First that is, a new book by former executive and current leadership advisor Brad Chase.
Brad was mostly known for being one of Microsoft’s key leaders responsible for transforming msn.com into a robust site and has since culled his experience from his career into helpful advice on strategy, resulting in an accessible and practical first tome.
Brad’s approach to setting forth the 5 key tips to a prosperous strategy – Seek Change, Mine The Gaps, Adapt To The Tides, Expand The Universe and Climb Short Walls/Build Tall Walls- have been build through an enormous amount of tested experience in the field.
While setting an enjoyable (actually FUN) and readable tone and pace, he resets the foundational and oft-abandoned strategy of … strategy. Brad himself states that he wants to “share an easy-to-remember model that will help you think about strategy in a way that’s not academic or intellectual but practical and memorable.” Practical – my favorite word in business and Brad nails it from the outset.
He regales in examples (over 50) of how organizations leapt forward with key strategic focus along the 5 keys he outlines. In the fifth key – Climb Short Walls, Build Tall Walls – it would seem placing barriers (tall walls) could come across as offensive, but Brad describes how businesses by execution of strategy well planned out can create walls to competition through innovation, branding and ways to keep clients from leaving. Conversely, the small walls he suggests climbing are to access talent, resources and opportunities that are low hanging and impactful.
Throughout the book, Brad’s examples of betting, sailing, climbing and using Einstein’s famous equation in a unique and memorable way also help the reader understand memorable and practical approaches that he set out to accomplish in this work.
A great read to help level set your ability to create effective and lasting strategy, Strategy First is a recommended book for anyone heading a project, department, start-up or large corporation.