Strategy and leadership

I see the latest Harvard Business Review (Jan 08) includes a nice piece from Cynthia Montgomery on ‘Putting leadership back into strategy‘. It makes important points  … that strategy is about creating value [a.k.a. growing future cash flows], rather than sustaining high profitability … that strategy is a continuous process of improvement rather than an occasional event … and that strategy is the CEO’s job.

Not so sure about the implication that this ‘leadership’ is a semi-mystical process [ ‘At heart, most strategies involve some mystery’ – any evidence to support this assertion? … ‘The need to create and recreate reasons for a company’s continued existence sets the strategist apart’ – delivering strong cash-flows seems a better purpose for the CEO]. Not sure either about the veiled hint that there is ‘too much’ analysis in strategy. Any evidence for this? … seems to be plenty for the dangers of strong leadership with poor analysis – Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, eBay/Skype, sub-prime lending.

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