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The Craft of Strategy Formation: Translating Business Issues into Actionable Sstrategies

ISBN: 978-0-470-51859-5
302 pages
October 2007
The Craft of Strategy Formation: Translating Business Issues into Actionable Sstrategies (0470518596) cover image


Formulating a strategy is one of the most important but also one of the most difficult challenges faced by businesses: How may one translate a concern into a structured issue and the hypotheses for addressing that issue? How should one approach the designing and executing of the analyses through which these hypotheses can be tested, thus creating the insights from which new strategic options can be developed? And how can one identify the “best bets” from among the many different strategic options available, and determine how these may be translated into a coherent business strategy that the organization and its stakeholders can buy into?

This book helps to answer these questions for the senior manager responsible for company strategy; the project manager who’s been asked to chart and defend a new strategic course of action; and the student wishing to “learn the ropes” of strategy-creation. This book offers no theoretical strategy “frameworks”. Nor does it propagate a specific strategy of any kind. It is, quite simply, a “cook book” describing a step-by-step, focused and fast approach for creating a new strategy at medium-sized and large businesses. It is a proven method used by top management consultants to help clients develop new strategies.

The Craft of Strategy Formation provides a crisp account of the consecutive steps to take (and pitfalls to watch out for) when typically vague business concerns need to be translated into actionable strategy fast. Featuring the tried-and-tested analytical and organizational approach of top management consultants, this integral account of how strategy is crafted in practice offers a welcome break from traditional handbooks featuring largely isolated frameworks, tools and cases; highly theoretical academic treatises; and largely anecdotal “infotainment” books for the general reader.

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Table of Contents



What is this book all about?

Introduction to the Allware case study.

Part I – The preparation phase.


1 Days 1 to 5 – We create a question out of a concern.

2 Days 6 and 7 – We set up a project organisation.

3 Day 8 – We structure the question.

4 Day 9 – We formulate hypotheses.

5 Day 10 – We make a work plan.

6 Allware: the first two weeks.

Part II – The analysis phase.


7 Days 11 and 12 – We develop the analyses further.

8 Days 13 to 17 – We collect data.

9 Days 18 to 42 – We carry out the analyses.

10 Days 43 to 45 – We present the conclusions.

11 Allware: on with the analysis.

Part III – The selection phase.


12 Day 46 – We put forward some business options.

13 Day 47 – We draw up scenarios.

14 Days 48 to 57 – We model the results.

15 Days 58 to 60 – We choose the strategic direction.

16 Days 61 to 65 – We write the strategic plan.

17 Allware: make a choice and carry on.

Part IV – The implementation phase.


18 Set up an organisation to implement the strategy.

19 Draw up the implementation plan.

20 Direct progress.


Profile of OC&C Strategy Consultants.


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Author Information

Eric Wiebes started his career in the oil industry. He became a strategy consultant in 1990 and a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants in 1996, advising both corporate clients and national governments on an array of strategic issues. Today, Eric works for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Marc Baaij is an associate professor of strategic management at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Before joining RSM, Marc worked in the industry and in strategy consultancy. Marc teaches strategy formation to graduate students as well as executives.

Bas Keibek became a strategy consultant in 1995 and since then has assisted a diverse spectrum of corporate clients in meeting strategic challenges. Additionally, Bas, a partner of OC&C since 2002, has extensive experience in evaluating potential acquisitions for private equity clients. Prior to joining OC&C he worked in the UK offshore oil industry.

Pieter Witteveen launched OC&C in the Netherlands in 1992. His consulting experience covers a wide range of issues, such as strategic positioning, acquisitions, restructuring and portfolio strategy, for clients in virtually all sectors of business. His career before OC&C includes many years in strategy consulting and several managerial positions.

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"...the authors help answer...questions for the senior manager responsible for company strategy, the project manager...and the student..."  (Gulf Business, January 2008)
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