Best Defense

Making strategy should be painful. If it isn’t, you’re probably not really doing it.

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on December 9, 2015.

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Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on December 9, 2015.

If you’re not crying, you’re not making the hard choices that are part of strategy. Here, from Jim Collins’ Good to Great, is an account from Ken Iverson, chief of Nucor, the legendary steel company, on the debates his company had as it hammered out a sense of what it was and what it wanted to be, and of course eventually became the nation’s largest steel producer:

We established an ongoing series of general manager meetings, and my role was more as a mediator. They were chaos. We would stay there for hours, ironing out the issues, until we came to something…. At times, the meetings would get so violent that people almost went across the table at each other…. People yelled. They waves their arms around and pounded on tables. Faces would get red and veins bulged out.

Clearly, it is not about trying to find a middle ground consensus.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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