Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm unashamedly re-posting an entire paragraph from the recent McKinsey report on The Perils of Bad Strategy, as it's the most incisive comment on the prevailing mediocrity I've read in recent weeks, and further testament to the Law of Marketing Inequality.

'A final hallmark of mediocrity and bad strategy is superficial abstraction—a flurry of fluff—designed to mask the absence of thought. Fluff is a restatement of the obvious, combined with a generous sprinkling of buzzwords that masquerade as expertise. Here is a quote from a major retail bank’s internal strategy memoranda: “Our fundamental strategy is one of customer-centric intermediation.” Intermediation means that the company accepts deposits and then lends out the money. In other words, it is a bank. The buzzphrase “customer centric” could mean that the bank competes by offering better terms and service, but an examination of its policies does not reveal any distinction in this regard. The phrase “customer-centric intermediation” is pure fluff. Remove the fluff and you learn that the bank’s fundamental strategy is being a bank'.

Simplicity of purpose over scared insights, indeed.

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