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Rumsfeld's Rules - Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life by Donald Rumsfeld

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CHAPTER FOUR

THINKING STRATEGICALLY

Strategy may be one of the most overused words in the English language. It also may be one of the most misused. We have all been in meetings where someone says, “We need a strategy on this,” or “Let’s put a strategy paper together.” Just as often, people around the table nod in affirmation, even though there may not be a common understanding of what exactly the word means.

During election years, we are treated to the spectacle of politicians of all stripes talking about their strategies for this or that. What often happens is that candidates confuse a laudable goal—for example, “giving our children a world-class education”—with a strategy for achieving it. In the Pentagon I often heard buzzwords such as “strategic ...

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