Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Review: 'Business Strategy' by Brian Tracy

How and why the right business strategy can also drive personal growth and professional development

This is one of the volumes in the Brian Tracy Success Library, all published by AMACOM. Tracy has already written one or more books of greater length and depth that examine these and other major business subjects. What he has now done with each of the volumes in the series is to condense with consummate skill the most valuable information, insights, and counsel within a 100-page format, in this instance the most valuable lessons he has learned about business strategy.

Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers essentials of that include asking five questions that are vital to any strategic plan; determining a corporate mission that lifts and inspires people; gaining valuable insights with market share/market growth and strategy/operations matrices; defining yourself in relation to the competition with both comparison and contrast analysis; repositioning your business with new products and/or services and/or technologies; and measuring success via clear financial objectives. He selected 21 specific subjects or themes most relevant to effective strategizing and devotes a separate chapter to each. Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers these and other essentials of business strategy.

Here are two examples of basic business issues that Tracy discusses in depth:

The Principles of Effective Strategy (in a military context)

o The ultimate objective: Defeat an enemy in any and every way possible…and prudent
o The offensive: Attack where opponent is most vulnerable
o The mass: Attack with a concentration of resources that has the greatest impact
o The maneuver: Being sufficiently flexible to react effectively to whatever may occur
o Concerted action: Coordination and cohesion of everyone and everything involved
o Surprise: Gain competitive advantage by avoiding what enemy expects and doing what it doesn’t
o Exploitation: Take full advantage of every opportunity with relentless tenacity

The Five Phases of Strategy Formulation and Implementation
(Developed by Benjamin Tregoe and Mike Freedman)

1. Strategic intelligence gathering: Ask the right questions to obtain the information that is most relevant to the given objective.

2. Strategy formulation: Start with a timeframe that has an end point. Make certain that the strategy formulated is appropriate to and indicative of your organization’s core values and beliefs.

3. Strategy master project planning: Identify all key projects that will be included and then analyze and prioritize each in relation to the others. Be prepared to re-order and modify when necessary.

4. Strategic implementation: This is (by far) the most difficult phase. No detail is insignificant. Ensure that strategy and culture are in alignment. Clear communication between and among those involved is essential.

5. Continuously monitoring, reviewing, and updating your strategy: “The work of a strategist is never done.” Be alert for anomalies. Your early-warning system must be active 24/7. Track unexpected changes that occur both internally and externally. Assume nothing. Take no one and nothing for granted.

Long ago, I realized that strategies are like hammers that “drive” tactics (nails) and that there are two basic categories: organizational strategies and individual strategies. It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. They have a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

Brian Tracy knows better than does almost anyone else that an organizational strategy can and should help those involved to achieve their personal and professional goals. If it does, then those involved will be actively and positively engaged to ensure the success of a strategy that achieves the organization’s goal(s).

Years ago, Southwest Airlines’ then chairman and CEO, Herb Keller, was asked to explain the airline’s extraordinary success: its profits and cap value exceeded those of its ten largest competitors…combined. “We take great care of our people, they take great care of our customers, and then our customers take great care of our shareholders.” If the same cannot be said of your company, I suspect that it needs a different strategy. I highly recommend that you and several others read and re-read Business Strategy and then discuss it. You and they will be amazed by how much material of superior quality is provided in only 103 pages.

Also, as is true of each of the other volumes in The Brian Tracy Success Library, the price at which Amazon now sells this volume ($9.72) is not a bargain; it’s a steal.

Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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