Hotline: The Crux of the Brand-Customer Relationship (Part 7)

The Crux – 2

Here are more quotes from Rumelt about the book and strategy, along with reviews about the book:

Rumelt in an interview with Martin Reeves: “The crux is an idea that comes from climbing, as you know. It means the hardest pitch or the hardest move on a climb. And the central message of the book is about focusing your strategic thinking on the hardest problem you face that you can actually do something about. And so that’s where the crux concept intersects the climbing idea … Good strategy, in the end, is a design created by judgment. How do you create a good song, or how do you create a great building or great painting? Not easy to explain. Strategy is a bit easier than that. But it’s in the same area of design-type problems. My intuition and my understanding of what works in strategy and what doesn’t work is that it’s better to start by looking at challenges … [T]here may be several addressable strategic challenges. The crux is narrowing it down to something special. I believe, although some may disagree with me, that the most fundamental concept in strategy is concentration and focus. The oldest strategic teachings are: you focus your strength on where your opponent is weakest, or where the market opportunity is the greatest. And that focus, that concentration, is the crux in some sense. This has to be part of a good strategy. You can’t try to do everything at once. You’ll fail.”

LeadingBlog: “Getting to the crux of the issue is harder than one might think. We are too often stuck in our assumptions. Often it requires a reframing, a new analogy, or a reanalysis of data in ways that we have not previously considered … Rumelt walks us through a crux defining, strategy creating process, which he calls the Strategy Foundry. It is an intense challenge-based discussion to get to the crux that will form the basis of the strategy. It is not goal setting or budgeting. [Quoting Rumelt] “By starting with the challenge, the group becomes responsible for designing a response rather than choosing among plans already advanced by members or others, or just filling in the blanks for a longer-term budget.””

Roger Trapp in Forbes: “[U]sing a variety of examples, ranging from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, through Google and Salesforce to Marvel and Netflix, [Rumelt] suggests that the key to setting an effective strategy is to identify a problem and come up with a way of solving it. Saying things like “we are always increasing sales and cutting costs” or “our company is going to beat all the other paint companies because we are customer focused” do not wash with him. “To have someone believe you and trust in your strategy, there has to be a logic and argument, and some evidence, as to how you are dealing with the challenges you face,” he writes.” … It is a wide-ranging book that takes in failings of military strategy in various conflicts as well as a host of corporate successes and setbacks. Although there are practical elements, including a section at the end designed to show how a group of employees might come together to help create a strategy, Rumelt really seems set on challenging assumptions about strategy.”

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.