11.

THE TRAP OF BACKWARD-LOOKING STRATEGY

The future cannot be logically deduced from its past.

—JOHN DEWEY1

Strategy has been a major activity in business for decades. Why then didn’t strategy reveal the disaster that was unfolding from maximizing shareholder value, or from the resort to the “corporate cocaine” of share buybacks, or from mass offshoring? Was it because strategy couldn’t help? Or is the practice of business strategy inherently flawed? To help answer these questions, let’s look at the sad story of the Monitor Group.

The Monitor Group was a strategy consulting firm cofounded in 1983 by the legendary business thinker Michael Porter. In November 2012, Monitor was unable to pay its bills and filed for bankruptcy protection. Why didn’t ...

Get The Age of Agile now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.