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Strategy and the Fat Smoker; Doing What's Obvious But Not Easy Hardcover – January 2, 2008
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Strategy and the Fat Smoker is a masterpiece - a rare blend of wisdom, experience, and humility. Every manager, and anyone who works in a professional services firm, ought to read this lovely book. (Robert I. Sutton, Stanford Professor and co-author of The Knowing-Doing Gap.) --Robert I. Sutton, Stanford Professor and co-author of The Knowing-Doing Gap.
David Maister has built a career on giving unerringly wise advice to those of us in the business of advising and leading. He offers the reader the motivation, tools and wisdom to achieve more than we might ever have thought possible. This is essential reading for anyone determined to succeed. (Paul A. Laudicina, Managing Officer and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney) --Paul A. Laudicina, Managing Officer and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
As a management consultant for the past 25-plus years, I've watched leaders struggle with defining, clarifying and implementing business strategies. They struggle because it's not easy work. It's like dieting or quitting smoking and staying with it. It's hard work.
Drawing on the diet/smoking analogy, Maister offers up useful ways to think about strategy--starting with having the right mindset. To this he introduces tools, techniques and processes to make strategy work...this time.
He's so usefully blunt with that bony index finger. "Real strategy lies not in figuring out what to do, but in devising ways to ensure that, compared to others, we actually do more of what everybody knows they should do." So, strategy is not just about strategy, but execution.
And commitment and resolute focus. "You can't achieve a competitive differentiation through things you do 'reasonably well most of the time.'"
And discipline. "The necessary outcome of strategic planning is not analytical insight but resolve."
And knowing when to say no. "Strategy is deciding whose business you are going to turn away."
Maister covers the gamut, from building ownership and accountability in the strategy (consequences for non-compliance), avoiding temptation, creating rules to live by, clarifying expectations and roles for leaders and overcoming obstacles that I have seen leaders struggle with over the years.Read more ›
|Length: 6:24 Mins|
In setting the stage, Maister notes in the first chapter that "many change efforts are based on the assumption that all you have to do is explain to people that their lives could be better, convince them that the goals are worth going for, and show them how to do it. But this assumption is patently false. If it were true, there would be no drug addicts, no alcoholics, or bad marriages in the world. 'Oh, I see, this behavior's not good for me? Ah well then, I'll stop, of course!' What nonsense!"
"And yet strategic plans and annual speeches by CEOs, managing partners, management consultants, and others continue to adopt this same useless structure: 'Look at how fabulous it would be if you were a fit, nonsmoking exerciser, David!' My usual response? 'True, but please shut up and go away.'" Later, the author follows up by drawing a parallel between the reasons for his sudden move to stop smoking, start exercising, and losing weight, and how change often finally comes about in the business world.
"We all know the main thing that works: a major crisis! If revenues drop off sharply, it's amazing how quickly businesses can act to deal with known inefficiencies and bad habits they could have tackled years ago.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell. Read morePublished 16 months ago by shaun t heneghan
This is a valuable read for people involved with setting objectives for an organization. As an engaged employee of an organization this read may help you understand you feel for... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Shunt
Fantastic book. David Maister gives focused advice. Its your preregative toPublished on August 18, 2014 by Abel Iyasele
I have met him, studied all his books, attended his lectures and he can still take me to school with his insights and deep understanding of the professional services firmPublished on September 12, 2013 by Beeptwice
I have read all of David Maister's books, including most recently "Strategy and the Fat Smoker."
In my view, use one of the most insightful, readable and trenchant... Read more
This book will be a classic as more and more business leaders learn that implementation is one of the keys to leadership as well as great business. Read morePublished on December 3, 2011 by Peter Byers
This book is really more like a collection of essays from David Maister. Almost every essay is good enough to expand on and be turned into a regular business book. Read morePublished on August 1, 2011 by Bradley Bevers
I thought was very interesting informational material but you the analogy of the the Fat Smoker and Strategy was scarcely used. Read morePublished on October 30, 2010 by LadyT Bumblebee