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Must-Win Battles

Must-Win Battles

How to instill an entrepreneurial spirit to give new momentum to your business or projects.

Author(s): Peter Killing, Thomas Malnight, Tracey Keys

Publisher: Wharton School Publishing

Date of publication: 2006

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Co-authored by two professors of strategy at IMD, this book is addressed to leaders and managers who want to instill an entrepreneurial spirit to give new momentum to their business or projects. This book also provides excellent support for consultants who would like to facilitate seminars intended to breathe new life into their client companies. Must-win Battles both gives managers a framework to take a step back from the current situation, and goes far beyond theoretical principles to provide many concrete deployment techniques and ""how-tos,"" in the form of examples or exercises to carry out with team members.
The main idea of the book is centered on the need to obtain consensus on a limited number – around four to five – of key strategic battles, and to channel the energy of the organization around these battles. The authors use a concrete illustrative scenario to present the proposed clear and practical methodology for coming to agreement on the most strategic issues and ""winning"" these battles – in other words, implementing critical strategic changes. The fact that the authors have personally organized such processes for large and medium-sized organizations lends additional weight to their recommendations.
– Those who need to be convinced – or to convince others – of the value of focusing on a few strategic battles, will find some relevant and structured supporting arguments in the introduction, at the beginning of chapter 1, as well as in chapter 3, which describes the conditions for successfully carrying out this type of approach. The benefits of this strategic choice are also threaded throughout the book, particularly in the case studies presented.
– The authors propose an approach, called the ""must-win battle journey,"" which can serve as inspiration, whether to revitalize an entire company or simply one team. A summary of the steps of this ""journey"" can be found in chapter 1, followed by individual chapters dedicated to each of these steps in turn.
– A particularly detailed description is provided on organizing the seminar during which these battles are selected. Chapter 2 underlines the need to carefully prepare this seminar. We particularly recommend chapters 4 and 5, which extract many helpful hints and offer many exercises that are sure to come in very handy – not only in strategic change situations, but also in any situation where it is essential to conduct collective thinking and obtain a consensus.
– Finally, the book would not be complete if it failed to list the key success factors for implementing the chosen battles. This is the purpose of chapters 7 and 8, which underline the importance of rapid implementation and the need to involve the entire organization.