A business-strategy tome heavy on generalizations.
There is an overabundance of books on business strategy. What tends to differentiate one from another? Truly new insights–which are admittedly hard to come by–or detailed case studies that demonstrate the strategies in action. Unfortunately, Rx for Business: Thinkivity lacks both. While Evans is clearly well-versed in business strategy, she covers little that’s new. Most of the information about strategic planning has been addressed elsewhere and with greater authority. Evans claims â€œThinkivity” is â€œa revolutionary system that has helped top executives at S&P 500 companies turn strategy and long-term goals into tangible financial results for their organizations.” Yet none of these executives are quoted in the book and few companies are referenced. American Express and Hewlett-Packard, the only two firms used as examples, appear very briefly in anecdotal form. It would be generous to refer to them as case studies. The book offers a decent discussion of strategic planning, and the author is skilled at explaining the value of workflow design. Probably the most useful content in terms of innovation is the chapter on â€œWhat If” strategy. Here, Evans offers advice for becoming â€œpilot, navigator, and ground control”–as the business leader explores various â€œwhat if” ideas, he or she is guiding efforts, keeping things moving in the right direction and making pieces work together. In this section, Evans includes questions to ask, a sample idea-generation agenda and evaluation methodology for assessing each idea, all of which are helpful. The other useful tools in the book are sample mission statements, process flow diagrams, a strategic-planning worksheet and a sample strategic plan. Such tools are not uncommon in business-strategy books. This book follows Rx for Business: Qualitivity (2006), Evans’ first book about the synergy between quality and productivity. This second book in the series does a reasonably decent job of offering a structured approach to strategic planning, but it doesn’t present anything groundbreaking.
Provides a framework, but could have pushed further.