Book Review of "The Strategist" by Cynthia Montgomery
A Personal Experience
As the current Chief Publicity Officer (another fancy term for Vice President for Publicity) of the 12th Commission for the Young Economists’ Convention (YEC) of our Economics Organization, I am subjected to a handful of responsibilities, which demand a lot of critical thinking, including strategic thinking, and painstaking execution of ideas. Due to the excessive pressure at times, I frequently think of just succumbing to the previously established strategies for the sake of not being too exhausted. But then, I am somehow aware that doing so will make me a mediocre officer, and may possibly lose the honor of being considered a leader. The Strategist by Cynthia Montgomery proved to me even more that as a leader, holding a top position in an organization, I should constantly strive for excellence and progress by engaging in continuous strategy formulation and execution.
Purpose of the Book
In this book, The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs, Cynthia Montgomery highlights the role of a strategist emphasizing that strategies will be incomplete (and hence may become totally useless) when there is no strategists developing, implementing and modifying them. She even points out that “strategy is not a destination or a solution; it’s a journey”. This only means that it is of vital importance to continue reassessing current realities and integrate them in the implemented strategies. Hence, Cynthia Montgomery is making an effort, through this book, to re-awaken true leadership in business leaders.
According to Montgomery, the rapid changes in the business environment have led to the deviation of leaders from their responsibility to truly engage with the business. In turn, they are forfeiting the “intimate connection between leadership and strategy”. Cynthia wants to mend this disconnection again by illustrating to us cases and scenarios where strategy formulation is best done by leaders. These situations turned out to be compelling for readers because each of them showed how active engagements of leaders in being the strategists were able to stir the businesses into a thriving state.
Quote from the Montgomery
"Strategy is not a destination or a solution. It's not a problem to be solved and settled. It's a journey. It needs continuous, not intermittent, leadership. It needs a strategist."
Cynthia Montogmery, The Strategist
Choosing the Right Opportunity
Montgomery also mentioned that as a strategist, a leader must know when he must decline certain opportunities and pursue others. And this is something most of us lack. Not all opportunities are worth taking (i.e. those with an insignificant benefit) and the author wants to highlight this. Efforts should be poured into selected opportunities that have substantial benefit. When opportunities are filtered, efforts in pursuing them will yield maximum benefits. This is somehow relevant to the book written by Andy Stanley entitled “Next Generation Leaders” saying that opportunities often come in bulk, but grabbing them all will be time-consuming and may not be highly value-adding. And this often results to less time spent on the handful of opportunities that provide benefits that make a huge difference.
Values to Learn
The book indeed possesses valuable ideas that are contributory to deepening our understanding of leadership, in such a way that a reader will learn how to actualize it. In my case, I really appreciate reading The Strategist because it reminded me that as a leader, I must continuously innovate on publicity strategies because this will make the entire organization sail towards achieving its vision and objectives.
The Strategist in a Nutshell
Putting things in a nutshell, this book is highly recommended to those who want to have a deeper and firmer grasp of what true leadership is. Through this book, one will realize that it is a leader’s primary duty to steer the business through a thorough formulation and execution of strategies. This further requires full awareness of the leader of the ever-changing business environment to gain knowledge on how to tweak current strategies for beneficial adaptation. Ultimately, the book teaches us a holistic approach on how to attain success in the world of business through active engagement both as a leader and a strategist.