The Crux

How Leaders Become Strategists

Richard Rumelt

Publisher: Profile, 2022, 357 pages

ISBN: 978-1-78816-950-9

Keywords: Strategy

Last modified: Oct. 21, 2023, 3:39 p.m.

The most important part of a leader's job is to set in motion the actions today that will build a better tomorrow — in other words, strategy. But when every day is filled with myriad, pivotal challenges that demand immediate attention, how can leaders become strategists?

In this groundbreaking book, Richard Rumelt, the world"s leading authority on strategy, shows how finding the crux of a challenge is the essence of the strategist's skill: pinpointing the key issue where action will best pay off. Drawing on decades of professional and academic experience, and through vivid storytelling — from Elon Musk's decision-making to the critical junctures in Netflix's journey — Rumelt illuminates how leaders can develop alertness, overcome obstacles and navigate uncertainty to determine the best path forward.

Strategy is an ongoing journey. It is not about setting financial targets, statements of desired outcomes or performance goals: it is the commitment to finding the crux in any situation and taking powerful, decisive, coherent action.

    • Introduction: The Roof of the Dog's Ass
  • Part I: Challenge-Based Strategy and the Crux
    1. Carolyn's Dilemma: How Do I Create a Strategy?
    2. Untangling the Challenge: Finding and Using the Crux
    3. Strategy Is a Journey
    4. Where You Can Win: The ASC
    5. The Challenge of Growth
    6. The Challenge of Power
    7. Creating Coherent Action
  • Part II: Diagnosis
    1. What Is the Problem? Diagnosing Through Reframing and Analogy
    2. Diagnose via Comparison and Frameworks
    3. Use Sharp Analytical Tools with Care
  • Part III: Through the Crux
    1. Seek an Edge
    2. Innovating
    3. The Challenge of Organization Dysfunction
  • Part IV: Bright, Shiny Distractions
    1. Dont Start with Goals
    2. Don't Confuse Strategy with Management
    3. Don't Confuse Current Financial Results with Strategy
    4. Strategic Planning: Hits and Misses, Uses and Misuses
  • Part V: The Strategy Foundry
    1. Rumsfeld's Question
    2. A Foundry Walkthrough
    3. Strategy Foundry Concepts and Tools