...a wonderful rethinking of the language and logic of business strategy. Be prepared to learn how to identify “killer problems” and critical “bottlenecks” as well as how to see the “disqualifiers” implicit in too many statements of strategy. This is a necessary addition to a strategist’s bookshelf.

Richard Rumelt
Author of Good Strategy/Bad Strategy and The Crux

This book is a game changer for me. The word 'strategic' was attached to so many of my Agile projects in the corporate world, yet few were born out of any kind of strategy that offered realtime guidance on tradeoffs to help us make decisions or course correct through our planning increments.

Amazon Review

Peter Compo presents a different way of thinking in his book The Emergent Approach to Strategy. It’s the best book I’ve read on strategy. His starting point is that organizations are complex adaptive systems and strategy needs to emerge rather than be planned.

David Creelman
CEO of Creelman Research and Author of Management for Scientists and Engineers

The Emergent Approach treats change and innovation as a puzzle to be solved. Puzzle-solving captures the spirit of the ugly, messy, and sometimes frightening, but the exhilarating process of making real change and innovating.

Sarah Fickes
Amazon Review

From analytical metrics to conflicting truths that are half-successful under different circumstances but not fully effective, Compo does an exceptional job of drawing together math, philosophy, business theory, and real-world scenarios in a way business leaders can readily understand.

Diane Donovan
Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

A must read practical guidebook for developing, explaining and executing strategic innovation and lasting effectiveness in organizations of all shapes and sizes. Reading part I clears your head of the old slide rule approach to planning strategy.

Elisabeth Jeanne Robart
Amazon Review

Compo has provided a path to move beyond the typical annual strategy plan that never gets adopted. With an approach that drives clarity in intent with adaptability to change conditions and opportunities.

Michael Effron
Chairman, Oliver Wight

We have been observing organizations with great strategic plans that forget to “implement” strategy and they over plan and under deliver. They often don’t see the bottlenecks impeding their process. Compo shows how to use bottlenecks as a focal point where tension can be used creatively in his open and contingent approach to strategy design.

Shaun Coffey
Director for Capacity Building, The Crawford Fund for a Food Secure World

Why is a new book on strategy needed?

Despite all that is written about strategy and the money spent on it, reports of chronic strategy failures persist.

Compo addresses the causes of these failures and provides a new way of thinking about strategy definition and practice. MORE FAQ’S >



  • Chapter supplements: includes appendixes, additional examples

  • 6 Tasksets: a guidebook for design implementation

  • Templates: for use in strategy materials

  • Strategy Diagnosis: see where you are



Strategy-testing is a time-honored practice, and some traditional tests of strategy are well known, for instance, those offered by Michael Porter and McKinsey consulting. Traditional tests, however, are not usually tests of strategy; they are tests of entire frameworks that contain in addition to the strategy, also goals, plans, tactics, scenarios, metrics, and other diagnosis of the internal and external world you will operate in. The Five Disqualifiers are a new set of strategy tests. SEE THE DISQUALIFIERS >

About the author

Peter Compo is a corporate business veteran, scientist, and musician who spent twenty-five years at E. I. DuPont in diverse leadership positions, including director of corporate integrated business planning. READ MORE >

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