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Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking Hardcover – March 24, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The ability to think strategically is the most sought-after trait in leaders, and one of the most surefire ways for leaders to get ahead. So why do so few leaders understand what strategic thinking really means? There are plenty of books out there on corporate strategy, but, until now, few have explained how individual executives can practice strategic thinking on a daily basis to guide their business. Leaders need a concrete framework they can use to keep their careers vital through innovation and inspiration—not a theoretical introduction to strategy. In Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking, Rich Horwath fills in the gaps with his highly respected, highly practical framework.

Understanding the basic principles of strategy is just the prerequisite for becoming a truly strategic leader. In this book, Horwath focuses on advanced strategic thinking that will drive results in the short- and long-term. His three-discipline approach breaks strategy down into its fundamentals: Coalesce, Compete, and Champion. Effective strategic leadership starts with a bird’s-eye perspective, but it doesn’t end there. Incorporating new insights and influencing commitment are part and parcel of advanced strategy. Through research, exercises, thought models, and lucid explanations of key concepts, Elevate guides leaders in the process of building these essential skills.

The majority of organizations say that strategic thinking is the most underdeveloped skill among their senior leaders. Too often, managers are so busy with day-to-day business operations and fire drills that they forget to take a step back—to elevate their thinking. This book demonstrates beyond a doubt that more advanced strategic thinking among managers would lead to greater strategic innovation and fewer fire drills, freeing leadership to take the initiative necessary to drive the organization to the next level.

Staying ahead of the competition is crucial for businesses, but competition is stiff at the individual level, too. Firms are realizing that strategic failures can lead to long-term losses and even financial catastrophe. That means leaders who are unable to think strategically could find themselves being phased out. Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking helps leaders get ahead in their own careers by stepping back to focus on the big picture.

From the Back Cover

Strategy + Innovation = competitive advantage

“Rich Horwath has done it again! With Deep Dive, Rich simplified the complexity of strategic thinking and enabled our managers with practical tools. Now with Elevate, our leaders are armed with the framework to develop insightful strategies that will be the differentiator that gives us a competitive advantage. If you only read one book on strategy, this has to be that book!”
—Dale Hicks, Global Sourcing and Procurement Manager, Intel

“Strategic thinking is the most important skill in the continued pursuit of innovative products and services that lead to competitive advantage. Leaders wrestling with how to configure their core competencies and capabilities to achieve organic growth will find Elevate a valuable resource. Rich Horwath shares with managers dozens of tools to help their teams develop the skills to create competitive differentiation that customers value.”
—Jay Tibbets, President, ATK Sporting Group

Elevate provides leaders with a framework for combining strategy and innovation to achieve competitive advantage. Rich uses real-world examples and practical tools to help executives elevate their managers’ thinking. A must-read for leaders searching for ways to create new value for customers and continually outperform their competition.”
—Dean Gregory, President, Medical Devices, Fresenius Kabi North America

Elevate helps executives to enhance their most important skill: to think and execute strategically. Strategy and innovation are both crucial to a company’s success. Rich’s book provides leaders with the guidance to bring these two concepts together in order to drive their business successfully.”
—Michael Mehler, CEO, RIEMSER Pharma, Germany

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118596463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118596463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By captiii on June 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book on Advanced Strategic Thinking this is not it. This is about as basic as you get. If you know nothing about strategic thinking this book might be a good place to start as a basic primer.

I read the positive reviews here and the ones included on the book cover and I wonder if these people actually read the book, and if so have they ever done anything strategic in their lives?

After decades of working strategic issues I find the title and premise of this book quite misleading. I had hoped when I picked up this book that finally someone would have brought together the essence of strategic thought into one book that might be of value. I was wrong. The three disciplines mentioned in the book Coalesce, Compete, and Champion are not disciplines at all.

I cannot even tell based on the context of the book what definition of the word discipline is being used, or perhaps the author has created a new definition. It is not discussing a branch of knowledge, or a set of rules, or a standard. One could say that the word used here is a synonym for the word practices however if that is so why not use that word. Although practices does not adequately capture the meaning either it is much closer than the word disciplines. Why does this matter? Because words matter and for a book that espouses ADVANCED thinking, words should be as precise as possible.

Coalesce, compete and champion as used here are principles not disciplines. As principles they are some of the most basic for anyone involved in strategic thought. I rated this with three stars because it does have some value to the novice, however it is certainly not a book on advanced strategic concepts.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brett Silverman on April 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In working with senior leaders across a variety of industries, I’ve seen a wide range of understanding in the basic business concepts around strategy and innovation. Some leaders seem to have a much better handle on it than others, Rich Horwath has demonstrated through Elevate that he is one of those leaders.

One of the reasons I like this book is because it clearly defines strategy, innovation and other key planning words. It also gives a lot of real-world examples from companies like Google, LinkedIn and Chipotle. The three disciplines framework the book uses is extremely easy to understand and has a bunch of exercises covering things like value propositions and business models, which get confused quite a bit.

The section on championing a strategy was good because it shows how to change both thinking and behavior. It’s easy to tell people to execute a strategy, but we know they don’t always do it. Elevate paints the picture of how criminally underused strategic thinking is, and really opened my eyes to the importance of applying strategic thinking to my day to day activities and beyond.

Overall, the book is very well written and flows nicely in between the three disciplines. The tables are very helpful, informative and to the point. The use of examples throughout helped me apply these very useful tactics to my industry.

I recommend this book to any manager or higher level employee that is trying to get serious about applying strategic thinking to their respective field of interest. Any manager who is tired of putting out fires and is ready to start preventing them before every happening should read this book.

I have read and loved Rich’s other two books, Deep Dive and Strategy for You, and after finishing Elevate in less than 3 days, I can promise you, it does not disappoint!
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Format: Hardcover
In a previously published book, Deep Dive: The Proven Method for Building Strategy, Focusing Your Resources, and Taking Smart Action, Rich Horwath observes that are business situations in which the goal is to ascend (e.g. to reach a higher level of productivity, efficiency, profitability) and other situations in which the goal is to descend (e.g. to drill down past symptoms to the root causes of a problem) and successfully achieving either goal depends almost entirely on one's attitude. Long ago, Henry Ford observed, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." Attitude is even more decisive when there are severe challenges to overcome. Years later, Jack Dempsey had this in mind when explaining that "champions get up when they can't."

I mention all this because, in Deep Dive, Rich Horvath makes brilliant use of extended metaphors for both ascension and descent. He provides a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective program by which to prepare to achieve success at either great heights or great depths. All this is directly relevant to his latest book and, especially, to his skill use of a helicopter metaphor discussing three disciplines that must be mastered so that business leaders can elevate the scope and clarity of their thinking about strategy.

Horwath defines strategy as "the intelligent allocation of limited resources through a unique system of activities to outperform competition in serving customers. Resources include time, talent, and capital...The idea of uniqueness -- performing different activities or performing similar activities differently than the competition -- is at the core of strategy." I view strategies as "hammers" that drive tactics ("nails") and agree with Michael Porter: "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
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