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The Strategist by Cynthia Montgomery

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AS THE IKEA story demonstrates, defining a sound and distinctive purpose for your business is essential. It is a strategist’s way to stake a claim. With it, you have earned the right to play, to take part in the game.

But winning the game? That takes more.

Consider the experience of Domenico De Sole, an Italian-born, Harvard-trained tax attorney who in 1994-95 was thrust into the top job at Gucci.1 Though he had previously led the company’s North American operations, he was stunned by what he discovered when he saw the entirety of the once-admired company. Sales were plummeting, customers were indifferent, and red ink was flowing. Internally, Gucci had reached a state of paralysis: Management was balkanized ...

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