Risk Tips 013: On Planning


“There are five key scenarios for locating a strategic position.  Look for:

  1. A point where, if you can win against your competition at that position, you will win everywhere. Such positions have been called ‘centers of gravity.’

  2. A point that has significant potential for the future. If you can identify this kind of strategic position, and get there before the competition, you can realize great success down the road.

  3. A point that maximizes your advantages. Every company has certain advantages over its competition.  Some strategic positions allow you to tap the full power of your advantages.

  4. A point to use as a stepping-stone for a more important victory later. There are certain strategic positions that you do not intend to retain for very long.  You just use them to reach the next strategic position that you really need to attain your objective.

  5. A point that allows you to defeat a competitor and reposition elsewhere rapidly. By the time your competitor has massed to compete with you at the strategic position you have selected, you have moved on to a new strategic position, forcing your competition to play catch-up.”

William A. Cohen, The Art of the Strategist at 81 (2004).

The lesson here? When planning, think in terms of maximum leverage points.


Risk Tips is a periodic posting on the Risk Alternatives blog. Here, we share some of our favorite thinkers’ favorite thoughts (and a few of our own). Please buy the books we quote: we want you to build your library of risk management and process improvement gems. To find out more about risk management, start here


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