"The Strategists"

"The Strategists"
Tuck School of Business | December 2014

There are many paths to the top. Tuck’s renowned strategy professors know them all, and are learning new ones every day.

Strategy is an old word but a modern phenomenon. Its etymology is traced back to the Greek strategia, which is best translated as “generalship.” The military connotation is strong and intentional, because for most of history strategy meant the “art of war.” Militaries still have strategies today, of course, but the difference is that everyone else does too. We have career strategies, parenting strategies, weight-loss strategies. The term has been coopted so often that we barely know what it means anymore. But if you peel back the layers of interpretation, you can still find its core. The British military historian Sir Lawrence Freedman calls it the “art of creating power,” and reminds us that strategy needs conflict like fire needs air. Strategy is therefore imbued with drama. It is the story of the leader trying to hold on to the lead, or of the underdog scratching its way to the top. Strategy is about figuring out how to win.