Thinking Like a Strategist: In this section, Rumelt moves us from traditional wisdom about strategic thinking—putting on the hat of someone else when considering all aspects of a strategy—to taking such thinking to the next level, or “thinking about your own thinking.” Such metacognition can force leaders to consider how their thoughts emerged and were influenced to test the origins and validity of such thoughts.
a. The Science of Strategy: Both strategy and science test hypotheses—logical guesses about the future…what might be if we do this or do that. And like science, strategies must be tested, amended and retested. A good strategy helps us think about what directions will work in the future, and the best people to hypothesize those new paths are those closest to the action. Furthermore, Rumelt’s brief history of enlightenment—from the belief that everything is known, to what we must rediscover in the world around us every day—was enlightening! Galileo’s new hypothesis that the earth revolved around the sun changed astronomy. The Starbucks story about how Howard Schultz rethought his industry by combining the importing of strong coffee beans with the idea of establishing an Italian coffee house in the U.S. was a remarkable and insightful lesson on how hypotheses work.