The Strategy Game: A Monthly Newsletter for Business Leaders on Achieving Sustainable Growth

Have you heard about the “Two Pizza Rule?” It was introduced by Jeff Bezos in the early days of Amazon. The idea: every internal team should be small enough that it can be fed with just two pizzas. Beyond that, Bezos believed, the group would start to become less effective. Pizza aside, there is research to…

A statement I often hear and that is attributed to a range of business gurus, was apparently first said in 1976 by Grace Hopper: “The most dangerous phrase in the English language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” The clear implication is that remaining on a given path, simply because you are already on…

I often hear about companies that want to use a process of “best practices” in their planning work. This may seem like a logical place to start, however, in my mind, the best practice — especially when it comes to developing strategy for an organization — is to not use “best practices” at all. Consider…

After more than two years working remotely, hybrid, or cautiously in-person, some organizations are beginning to think about scheduling an offsite or “retreat.” And while many of these tend to take place in the fall, planning for them begins now, during the summer. These off-campus gatherings often bring together senior staff with the purpose of…

My four-year-old grandson, Oliver, is full of questions. He asks what something is, or what we are talking about, or why we are doing whatever we are doing, or how come there are so many cheese wrappers in my office trash can. (Well… not all of his questions are comfortable to answer!) Turns out he’s…

My wife, Liz, likes to putter around the garden. I’m not especially interested, but for her, it’s an important part of how she spends her free time. Not surprisingly, our garden looks pretty great. And yet, every year, she still works to put in something new — this spring’s proposed project was a birdbath. I…

Maybe you’ve seen the news: Apparently, Vladimir Putin is being misled by his advisors who are afraid to tell him that his ill-conceived attack on Ukraine is not going well. While I shudder to think what decisions Putin might make if he knew the truth, this situation is not surprising, since the Russian President is…

For-profit companies place a great deal of weight on financial measures when evaluating their own performance (revenue, profits, etc.). That’s logical. Their customers pay for their products and services and so financials are a pretty fair measure of their success (or lack thereof).It doesn’t work the same way with nonprofits. Yes, revenues are important, primarily as…

One of the phrases I frequently hear — often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker — is that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Many times, what’s being suggested is that strategy is, therefore, irrelevant. Naturally, as a strategist, I disagree! That said, it’s no accident that this quote has survived for as long as it…

You’ve probably heard the term “stakeholder analysis.” It’s a tool that is traditionally used for project management, often with an internally focused perspective. But the concept is also relevant for strategic planning work, factoring in external stakeholders as well. So… What is a stakeholder? A number of years ago, companies began to realize that they…

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