The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs by Cynthia A. Montgomery brings purpose directly into strategy and illustrates the essential nature of it in developing a sound strategy. The two are closely linked and in a real, results-oriented way.

Leading with Purpose and Strategy

The Strategist“You and every leader of a company must ask yourself whether your strategy is a real system of value creation – a clearly defined purpose tightly backed by a set of mutually reinforcing parts.” (The Strategist, page 78)

The Strategist excels in driving purpose through in a way that is real, practical, and necessary to make strategies work. Here are four relevant elements of purpose in strategy, as defined by the author:

  • “A good purpose is ennobling.” There needs to be a level of inspiration; it delivers meaning to the people in the organization and the work they do.
  • “A good purpose puts a stake in the ground.” It defines what the organization will be and not be. It is about trade-offs.
  • “A good purpose sets you apart; it makes you distinct.” It is not about generic descriptions – software company or non-profit organization. It is what makes the organization different from others and what may drive innovation and approach.
  • “Above all, a good purpose sets the stage for value creation and capture.” It must create good economic outcomes.

The ultimate question is:

“If your company disappeared today, would the world be different tomorrow?” (The Strategist, page 56)

This is a tough, necessary question to answer and then lead from it and build a strategy on it.

The Strategist delivers a strong message in a subtle way. The more you think about the concepts in the book, the more it challenges us in how we lead and why a purpose-filled strategy is necessary.

Purpose plays a core role in strategy, and we need to embrace it fully.

What strategy books do you value in your leadership library?


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations. 

Jon Mertz
Jon is a vice president of marketing in the healthcare software industry and named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business by Trust Across America in 2014. His background consists of an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and working for companies like Deloitte, IBM, and BMC Software. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders. Connect with Jon on Twitter @ThinDifference.
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