A thought provoking article on strategy. I found this bit particularly insightful:
Practitioners of strategy insist on this distinction between strategic management and lower-order operational management. Strategic (i.e. top) management is a complex, reflective, and cerebral activity that involves interpreting multidimensional matrices. Operational management, by contrast, requires merely the mechanical replication of market practices in order to match market returns. It is a form of action, suitable for capable but perhaps less intelligent types.
This picture of CEO-superdeciders helps justify their huge compensation and the congratulatory press coverage, and yet again, it also has little foundation in fact or logic. The strategy business thus lasted so long in part because it supports and advances the pretensions of the C-suite.
Porter’s strategy theory is to CEOs what ancient religions were to tribal chieftains. The ceremonies are ultimately about the divine right of the rulers to rule—a kind of covert form of political theory. Stewart cites Brian Quinn that it is “like a ritual rain dance. It has no effect on the weather that follows, but those who engage in it think that it does.”