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Book

The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking

Leading Your Organization Into the Future
January 2024
Discover the book

How did John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon in just under 10 years? What can chess teach us about actionable insights? And why should you shake up a business at a time of great success? All of these questions have their answer in strategic thinking. But what is strategic thinking exactly? Are we born with it, or can we nurture it? As a distinct and important capability in leaders, strategic thinking is a remarkably poorly defined, little understood concept, confined to management courses and board meetings. But in The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking, world-renowned expert Michael Watkins shows leaders how they can benefit from it, as long as they have the tools to nurture it. Exploring the six specific mental disciplines that together constitute strategic thinking, each chapter shows how they can create value, and offers prescriptions on how to develop the strategic thinking mindset ourselves. Academically grounded but jargon-free, with real-world examples from all sectors and ages, The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking assesses our innate ability to think strategically, and helps us to cultivate it, leading to better decisions that get proven results.

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Authors
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Michael D. Watkins
Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD, and co-founder of Genesis Advisers

Michael D. Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD, and co-founder of Genesis Advisers. He has spent the last two decades working with leaders as they transition to new roles, build their teams and transform their organizations. In 2023, he was inducted to the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame, in recognition for his outstanding contributions to the worlds of management and leadership.

He is author of the international bestseller The First 90 Days, which The Economist recognized as “the on-boarding bible.” With more than 1,000,000 copies sold in English, and translations in 24 languages, it has become the classic reference for leaders in transition and a standard resource of leading change.

Book preview

In today’s turbulent times, strategic thinking is more important than ever. The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking offers an essential blueprint for leading your organization into an uncertain future. In it, Michael Watkins challenges the idea that strategic thinking is just art, providing the fundamental principles and tools that drive success. Dive into his outstanding guide and become the best strategic thinker you can be.

Darius Adamczyk Executive chairman, Honeywell

Whether you’re just embarking on your career path, driving initiatives on your team, or leading a multinational enterprise, this insightful book is an essential roadmap for your journey toward strategic thinking, planning, and executing with excellence. It provides practical tools and techniques for strategic thought leadership and decision-making.

Cristal Downing EVP and chief communications and public affairs officer, Merck & Co

Professor Watkins successfully breaks down a previously elusive leadership concept by presenting it in a tangible and pragmatic manner. His book empowers readers not only to recognize these attributes in others but also to identify their presence in our own approach.

Edilson Camara Egon Zehnder

More than ever, business leaders must be strong strategic thinkers. In The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking, Michael Watkins defines what strategic thinking is and why it’s so important. He shows it’s a skill that can be developed and provides a roadmap for enhancing it through the right mix of on-the-job experience and mental exercise. Every aspiring executive can benefit from his insights

Jean-Francois Manzoni President, The International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
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