diveHow many managers believe that strategic thinking plays a key role in the survival of his or her company? Let’s see a show of hands please. Everyone? Good! That’s what I thought. Now, bear with me when I ask another question. Just what is strategic thinking, anyway? Or more specifically, how many of you feel you possess the skill sets needed to think strategically? Hmm, not many hands went up that time. But that’s okay.

A recent Wall Street Journal study revealed that the number one most sought after executive skill by organizations is strategic thinking, but few leaders have that skill set. So, if you are one of those who didn’t raise their hand just now, don’t despair. I have a book for you that will change your lives. The name of the book is “Deep Dive” and it was written by Rich Horwath, a former chief strategy officer, and professor of strategy at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. One glance at Horwath’s credentials and the cover page of his book and you will quickly realize that he not only possesses the skill sets required for strategic thinking, but can pass those skills on to you; if you are willing to listen and learn.

As I mentioned above, the title of Horwath’s book is “Deep Dive.” What I didn’t mention was the book’s subtitle. The reason I didn’t is that the subtitle does such a simple and elegant job of describing the concepts outlined in the book that it deserves a stand-alone presentation. Specifically, the subtitle is, “The Proven Method for Building Strategy, Focusing Your Resources, and Taking Smart Actions.” I was particularly interested to learn what he had to say about the latter, given that the current day corporate highways are littered with the wrecks of companies that failed to “take smart actions.”It is never easy to review of book like “Deep Dive” when you don’t have an MBA or even recent corporate experience to fall back on. The best you can hope for is that the author doesn’t try to “baffle you with B.S.” or breeze airily over your head with a lot of erudite manage speak. To his credit, Horwath doesn’t do any of this. His book is concisely written, easy to understand and filled with just enough graphics, quotes, and references to lead the reader through the book to its logical conclusion.

I should point out that the title “Deep Dive,” when taken alone, might confuse some readers, but a quick browse through the book quickly reveals what the author is trying to do in terms of drawing analogies between diving and exercises in strategic thinking.

In this day and age, I doubt if there is a corporation left in America who couldn’t use a strong dose of strategic thinking. Rich Horwath may not have all the answers, but he definitely knows what he is talking about, and those who care about the future of their companies would do well to read “Deep Dive: The Proven Method for Building Strategy, Focusing Your Resources, and Taking Smart Action.”

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