Strategy Safari Book Summary - Strategy Safari Book explained in key points
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Strategy Safari summary

Henry Mintzberg

A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management

3.8 (62 ratings)
25 mins

What is Strategy Safari about?

Strategy Safari is a comprehensive guidebook to strategy formation, complete with a thorough run-down of all its major schools of thought. By explaining the primary strengths and limitations of each school, Strategy Safari gives you the tools to form the strategy that is right for your business.

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    Strategy Safari
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    The first and oldest management school is the design school.

    Some schools of strategic management are well known even beyond management circles. And although many entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with the term “design school,” its concepts have nonetheless been widely incorporated into many fields.

    Design school distinguishes itself from other management strategies because it understands strategy as the process of coming up with ideas. It accomplishes this by employing the famous SWOT model: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

    When you use the SWOT model, you consider your organization’s strengths and weaknesses to be contextualized by the opportunities and threats within the business environment.

    SWOT also takes into consideration things like social responsibility and the values of management, meaning that strategies are tailored to each individual case.

    By laying out the essential elements of strategy, the SWOT model offers you a bird’s eye view of your market and your organization. You can easily see where your strengths match up with an opportunity, and make strategies without even leaving the meeting room.

    What’s more, by evaluating your strengths, you can develop strategies based on what you already have, without necessarily having to acquire new assets.

    Despite all its benefits, the design school also has some major drawbacks. The school can sometimes be too dogmatic; people who have devised SWOT-based strategies often think they’re grand and universal, which can lead them to overlook problems with feasibility when it comes to actually implementing their theoretical strategy.

    Moreover, designing a strategy too far in advance or with too much distance from the actual implementation can lead to huge failures. We have only to look at US military strategies during the Vietnam War – formulated on the other side of the world with no appreciation for the conditions on the ground – to see that this is true.

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    About the Author

    Henry Mintzberg is an author and scholar of business and management. In addition, he is a professor at McGill University in Montreal and has written several books on management and strategy. 

    Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel are academics in the field of strategy formation.

    Who should read Strategy Safari?

    • Anyone interested in strategic management and strategy formation
    • CEOs, MBA students, managers and entrepreneurs
    • Anyone working as a consultant or teacher in management

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