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One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making Hardcover – November 23, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky joins his twenty years of management experience at Microsoft with Harvard Business School professor Marco Iansiti's twenty years of research on strategy and innovation to provide you a unique perspective on strategy development, alignment, and execution. Here, Sinofsky shares his experiences and point of view through an internal blog site that discusses some of the management processes put to work while developing Microsoft Windows 7. Through his own words, One Strategy focuses on the team's mission to develop and maintain a strategic vision through the 4,000 person, multi-year project. Marco Iansiti creates a framework that can be used by business leaders across industries and job functions, building on his original research in the development of innovative products.
Learn from the concepts, capabilities, processes, and behaviors that aligned around one strategy with the hard-won, first-person insight found in One Strategy.
From the Back Cover
One Strategy examines the concepts, capabilities, processes, and behaviors that are essential to aligning an organization around one strategy.
Learn some of the key management tools and processes the Windows 7 team put in place to manage strategy and execution. The themes in One Strategy are backed up through examples of internal blogs by Microsoft Division President Steven Sinofsky and merged with insightful context from technology and operations strategy expert Marco Iansiti, the David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
All about developing and executing great, innovative strategies, One Strategy reveals it is possible to build the right organizational capabilities and base of understanding, generate insightful strategies, develop detailed plans, and lead your corporate strategies to completion.
One Strategy shares hard-won insights, experiences, and lessons on:
Aligning a highly complex organization during uncertain times
Developing a framework for strategic integrity driven by planning, organization, and decision making
Translating strategic potential into impact
Building the capability, effectiveness, and trust that coaches,empowers, and inspires an organization
Motivating your organization to strive for strategic integrity
...each drawing from methods demonstrated in practice.
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, the clarity of Sinofsky's writing doesn't always live up to the clarity of his strategic thinking. That's perfectly OK in a blog, but not in a book, where the standard is well-crafted prose. The reader shouldn't have to wade through the hundreds of sentences in this book that are difficult to parse (much less comprehend fully), or the hundreds more where the writing is simply not crisp ("a holistic set of features that represent a coherent whole").
For whatever reason, the only edits to Sinofsky's original blog posts in this book are silly ones -- like capitalizing letters that begin quotations or inserting dollar signs (as if "this could be a big [$]100M decision" in a paragraph about costs was obscure until that dollar sign was inserted). And each one of the thousands of trivial edits is set off with square brackets -- a typographical practice that gets annoying fast.
Bundling Sinofsky's less-than-polished writing with the leaden "analysis" of a business school professor results in a tedious book. I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters without the urge -- which I ultimately indulged -- to stop reading and start skipping around, until I finally put the book down. Sinofsky is one of today's leading business thinkers; it's a shame that this book's creators chose not to edit his writing before publishing it in book form.
Since I work at Microsoft, a lot of the concepts in this book were familiar to me, but Steven Sinofsky and Marco Iansiti dive deeper into the concepts to explain why they're important, how they tie together, and provide practical examples that crystallize the concepts into reality. The book combines blog posts from Steven's internal and external blogs with contextual information, theory, and summaries provided by Marco. This format works well and provides a great balance between theoretical and practical explanations.
The book sets out to dispel a number of strategy myths, a number of which I believed when I picked up the book. A subset of these myths included:
(1) Strategy is defined by executives
(2) Planning makes organizations less agile
(3) Innovation can't be planned
You'll learn why top down strategy development isn't effective, why having a plan actually makes an organization more agile, and how plans support the invention of high impact products. The book also touches on subjects relevant to strategy, including what effective management looks like, what mangers "really" do, thoughts on managing your career, and more.
One Strategy is a great read for everyone from executives to managers, engineering to support, sales to marketing. I highly recommend it.
While the book uses the Windows 7 development effort to accomplish these goals, the content is relevant to any large complex effort that has has multiple internal and external stakeholders and requires the people working on it to have responsibility (and accountability) for the effort.
I found myself highlighting many sections on my Kindle and I expect to go back to it.
Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft but I do not work with or for Steven. I just think is is a particularly good book.