When I think about Alan Weiss’s new book, the wordy but ideological succinct Sentient Strategy: How to Create Market-Dominating Strategies in Turbulent Economies, two words come to mind to sum things up – layman’s terms. Simply put, it’s time to Get smart.

“From the time of primitive animals there was competition for food. The worst competition was between those organisms which were identical, in that their food sources would be the same. The competition was studied and researched in 1934 by Professor G.F. Gause in Moscow. Different species pursued different food supplies, but identical animals pursued the same supply…Millennia later, this is still true. So how is it that there are millions of species today that are not constantly displacing others?

RELATED URL: https://alanweiss.com/sentient-strategy/

The answer lies in diversity. The more abundant the environment, the more opportunity for an organism to achieve a specialty and flourish. Today, there is an axiom that competition opens markets, and does not foreclose them. So Burger King builds its stores down the block from McDonald’s because everyone knows that people are going there to buy burgers–or what passes for burgers. Neither the early, primitive animals nor Burger King were and are engaged in strategy for such survival. But you probably do know who recognized this and documented it long before drive-thru: Charles Darwin.”

Then he ties it to the following, writing: “We currently conduct business and engage in actions that are working well now but won’t be for the future. We can build on their momentum by altering and changing them to maximize progress toward our vision…So the question for (your) organization is: What have we implemented temporarily (for whatever reason) that we can retain to help us rapidly realize our vision? Necessity is the mother of invention, right? The greatest acquisitions (innovation, new ideas, creativity) have come in times of war, pestilence, drought, natural disaster, and so forth.

Aside from weaponry, warfare created huge advances in medicine, trauma treatment, and communications. Deliberate attempts to foster innovation in laboratories and ‘skunk works’ and retreats are usually tedious, expensive, and non-productive (or at least non-commercial)…So let’s examine now how to convert the process specifically to implementation and the critical thinking skills, contextual elements, and best practices to achieve it…No matter what kind of business you’re in, large or small, for profit or non-profit, public or private, you need a relatively small number of people setting strategy.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Sentient-Strategy-Alan-Weiss/dp/1032412631

You may be using solely the board, or an executive committee, or other stakeholders, but once you go beyond a dozen people you have a problem. I know a dozen seems small, but setting strategy isn’t a democracy and needs to include the key people who can intelligently assess the factors mentioned throughout this book: mission, vision, strategic factors for the future, limitus test criteria, forensic implementation, critical issue accountabilities and their resolution. In each organization, this may be different. I’ve found that a certain title doesn’t entitle inclusion so much as the ability to think strategically, being open to compromise and negotiation, and the ability to assess prudent risk.”

Garth Thomas