Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick: People, Probabilities, and Big Moves to Beat the Odds

I did not get to my position as a CEO and founder by shying away from risks in the business world. Successful leaders will agree that in order to reach new company objectives and foster innovation within your team and beyond, it’s crucial to be willing to test out new strategies and ultimately take a gamble on yourself.

I recently read the book “Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick: People, Probabilities, and Big Moves to Beat the Odds” by Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit – who are all leaders in McKinsey’s Strategy Practice. The trio has worked together to advance strategic management while serving corporate leaders worldwide to reach incredible accomplishments.

The text highlighted the importance of making big moves in business to beat the odds and position yourself as a leading innovator in your industry. It provides evidence from thousands of companies and demonstrates what elements are integral to the sustainable success and transformation of a business and what aspects can lead to its overall detriment. 

One concept I found particularly interesting was how leaders often get distracted and influenced by human biases and social dynamics that cloud their judgment and become an obstacle to clear strategy and execution. I know various colleagues who have experienced this, from battling with imposter syndrome and doubting their trajectory to allowing their ego to cause them to shut out new ideas and perspectives; mastering the art of objectivity is a crucial tool for any business authority. 

Another issue that the book highlights is that most people who propose an alleged innovative strategy will possess a confident “hockey stick” projection, meaning an unrealistic forecast for future sales growth. Consequently, the real problem lies in distinguishing legitimate breakthrough plans from inflated-ego fakes, which can sometimes be far easier said than done. 

Overall, leaders must choose a “Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick” and make difficult choices that propel their team and business forward. I highly recommend this insightful book that everyone can benefit from. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or an established businessperson, learning the value of taking a calculated bet on yourself is the difference between creating an enterprise that is simply sustainable –  and one that is exceptional. 

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