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A Practical Guide to Creating Strategy 

Every organisation needs a good strategy, but it’s hard to create one. There is no one-size-fits-all way to produce a strategy, but often people approach it as if there was. In Creating Strategy (Panoma Press), Michael Bernard is a clear voice above the crowd, providing a practical breakdown of writing strategy, its importance and how to ensure it supports an organisation’s intentions. 

Michael Bernard has many years of experience writing marketing and business strategies for IBM, and is the co-founder of strategy consultancy House of Strategy. He is also a non-executive director, board advisor, trustee, consultant and school governor.  

Having sat through many presentations on commercial, NHS, school and charity boards Michael noticed that for something done so regularly, the quality of strategies is often poor, and the same problems crop up time and time again. Firstly, those writing the strategies usually have very little training or experience and secondly, those reviewing the strategies are not sure what to look for in a well-crafted strategy. 

In Creating Strategy, Michael addresses these two problems, covering the process of writing from start to finish. He begins by contextualising strategy, why it’s needed and some of the common pitfalls made when people approach it. Then he emphasises the need for strong foundations and how businesses can create strategies that reflect values and goals. Creating Strategy also gives readers a detailed insight into the essence of strategy, including the importance of strategic analysis, using data, defining specific goals and metrics and then putting the strategy into action. 

Unlike in other books, Michael does not encourage a templated or tick-box approach to producing a strategy, nor does he give a formula for writing one. Instead, he highlights the importance of grounding it in the organisation’s purpose and describes real-life case studies contributed by both people who have executed strategy well, and those who have seen it done badly.   

Acknowledging that the struggle to create effective strategies does not end at the writing stage, Michael then breaks down how to get a strategy approved, how to execute it, and how it’s best to communicate a strategy once it has been approved. 

Combining conceptual explanations, detailed instructions and helpful advice alongside clear examples of both successful and unsuccessful strategies, Creating Strategy is the ideal read for any business, charity or government leader who finds themselves responsible for writing strategy but uncertain where to start. Written in a concise, accessible and authentic voice, it is the perfect book to help demystify what can quite easily become a daunting task. 

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