Press & News

Articles

Build a Strategy that Addresses Your Gnarliest Challenges

Too many “strategies” produced by companies and national governments are weak, lacking astute diagnosis and actions with any bite. To counter this phenomenon, we must recognize what a strategy actually is. The essence of a strategy is a design for actions required to meet an important challenge or opportunity. Whether in chess, war, business, or politics, the basic idea is to focus energy and resources where they will do the most good — on the enemy or opponent’s weakness, or where the opportunity for gain is the greatest. A strategy is not a list of aspirations or ambitions, nor is it a list of all the things the committee members think are good ideas. Whether on the chessboard, the battlefield, a political campaign, or in a business, effective strategies are designs of coordinated action aimed at overcoming specific challenges. Effective strategy is about what is critically important, not about everything that everybody does or wants to do.  Read more . . .

McKinsey & Company

Getting strategy wrong–and how to do it right instead

Too many companies equate strategy with hitting financial goals. They underestimate the difficulty—and the value—of the real thing. Read more…

The perils of bad strategy

Bad strategy abounds, says UCLA management professor Richard Rumelt. Senior executives who can spot it stand a much better chance of creating good strategies. Read more…

Strategy in a ‘structural break’

During hard times, a structural break in the economy is an opportunity in disguise. To survive—and, eventually, to flourish—companies must learn to exploit it. Read more…

Strategy’s strategist: An interview with Richard Rumelt

A giant in the field of strategy ruminates on strategic planning, diversification and focus, and the role of the CEO. Read more…

Podcasts & Interviews

“Mastering the art of strategy with Richard Rumelt” Video interview by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini”

In this episode of the New Human Movement, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini talk to Richard about why most organizations operate with poorly defined and incoherent strategies, and what leaders can do to avoid these pitfalls. According to Richard, strategy isn’t about setting financial targets, statements of desired outcomes, or performance goals; rather, it is about pinpointing the pivotal challenge and taking decisive actions to overcome it. See more . . .

Martin Reeves, BCG Henderson Institute, “The Crux with Richard Rumelt”

In conversation with Martin Reeves, Chairman of BCG Henderson Institute, Rumelt discusses his new book, The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists, suggesting that good strategy is about identifying specific gnarly challenges and finding a way to conquer them. Read more…

Outthinkers Podcast – Episode 46

Richard Rumelt has been described as a “strategy’s strategist,” known as one of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy. In this episode, he shares his breakthrough highlights on what makes good or bad strategy, and narrowing in on the real problem you’re trying to solve. Listen now…

Book Reviews & Press

Mark P. McDonald, Gartner, “The Crux, Strategy is dead, long live True Strategy”

The Crux is hands down the best and most practical book I have read in the past two years.  Richard Rumelt is a proven leader in creating effective strategies and this book helps you understand what strategy really is.   Highly Recommended. Read more…

Andrew Hill, “Summer books of 2022” Business, Financial Times

A bracingly direct guide about the pitfalls of strategy, based around a climbing metaphor (the “crux” is the hardest part of a boulder-climb). Strategy is a journey “through, over, and around a sequence of challenges”, writes Rumelt, drawing on a wide range of real-life business dilemmas to illustrate how to tackle them.

Michael McKinney, Leadership Now: Building a Community of Leaders

THE CRUX of the matter is a phrase that has been around for over 200 years. Richard Rumelt recalls climbers in France calling the boulders they climb “problems,” with the toughest part of the problem referred to as “the crux.” Climbers will often look for a challenge that has the greatest reward and whose crux they believe they can solve.

In The Crux, Rumelt uses this as a metaphor for life. We all face problems, and finding the crux is the secret sauce where we “can gain the most by designing, discovering, or finding a way to move through and past it.” Read more…

Andrew Hill, Financial Times, “How leaders find a way ahead in chaotic times.”

In search of strategy principles to help companies through the fog of war and uncertainty, I turned to two new books by experienced strategy advisers: The Crux by Richard Rumelt, and Roger Martin’s A New Way to Think, a concise guide to management effectiveness. Read more…

Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership, “Book Review Short Take.”

“Short Takes” is my humble effort to cut through the clutter and highlight business books that might be perfect for your next read. Here’s why I think The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists by Richard Rumelt might be a good choice for you. Read more…

Christian Stadler, Forbes, “How To Come Up Up A Winning Strategy? Start With A Challenge Not An Opportunity.”

The corporate equivalent to positive thinking is the Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It seduces us with lofty terminology, such as “we will be number global number one” or “we will double our sales”. Aspiring but useless! In his new book The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists, Richard Rumelt makes short shrift of such vagueness. He sets out a process that puts the biggest challenge your company faces at the heart of your strategy: finding the crux, seeking an edge, and avoiding distractions. Read more…

Martin Zwilling, Inc., “7 Ways to Continue Growing as Your Business Matures.”

I support the key strategies and priorities, summarized here, that Rumelt offers for all companies to address the continuing challenge of growth, no matter what their size and position today. Read more…

Richard Rumelt (excerpt from The Crux), ChiefExecutive, “Why You Should Never Confuse Strategy Work With Management Work.”

It was a cool November day in 1966. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara arrived to give a brief address at the Harvard Business School. Read more…

Roger Trapp, Forbes, “Why Almost Everything You Thought You Knew About Strategy Is Wrong.”

[Rumelt] is back with The Crux, subtitled “How Leaders Become Strategists,” which goes further in cutting through the flimsy aspirations that for so many businesses masquerade as strategies. Inspired by his love of rock climbing and those seemingly impassable obstacles that confront climbers on their routes to the tops of peaks, Rumelt has come to describe the crux as the outcome of a three-part strategic skill. The first part, he writes, is judgment about which issues are truly important and which are secondary. The second is judgment about the difficulties of dealing with these issues and the third part is the ability to focus, to avoid spreading resources too thinly, not trying to do everything at once. Read more…