Friday, October 04, 2013


I don't know how it took me so long to get round to reading Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt.

Aside from being choc full of wisdom it's a hoot.

Rumelt describes one of the hallmarks of Bad Strategy as 'Fluff'.

'Fluff is superficial restatement of the obvious combined with a generous sprinkling of buzzwords.

Fluff masquerades as expertise, thought, and analysis. As a simple example of fluff in strategy work, here is a quote from a major retail bank’s internal strategy memoranda: “Our fundamental strategy is one of customer-centric intermediation.”

The Sunday word “intermediation” means that the company accepts deposits and then lends them to others.

In other words, it is a bank. The buzz phrase “customer-centric” could mean that the bank competes by offering depositors and lenders better terms or better service.

But an examination of its policies and products does not reveal any distinction in this regard. The phrase “customer-centric intermediation” is pure fluff.

Pull off the fluffy covering and you have the superficial statement “Our bank’s fundamental strategy is being a bank.”

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