Strategic Thinking and Scholarly Publishing, Part III

This week I have been posting four-part series by guest author, John Byram (@jwbyram). I am currently reading (and enjoying) Richard Rumelt’s Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, and so I thought I would share John’s thoughts on how Rumelt’s ten common strategic “blunders” can be applied to scholarly publishing. John is the Director of the University of New Mexico Press and has worked in publishing for over 25 years, so his insights draw on deep expertise and lengthy experience in the field.

John’s originally posted this piece on the Society for Scholarly Publishing Professionals Group on LinkedIn, a closed group. John has graciously given permission for me to share his piece in this open forum. Today is Part III of the series, and the final section, Part IV, will be published Monday. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I do.

Strategic Thinking and Scholarly Publishing, Part III

Common Strategic Blunders (Continued)

5. Not defining the strategic challenge competitively

Define the challenge in terms of plusses and minuses. What will stakeholders want out of the process? Not everyone’s goals will be the same, and remember that your competitors (however you choose to

define that term) will also actively respond to marketplace opportunities.

6. Making false presumptions about one’s own competence or the likely causal linkages between one’s strategies and one’s goals

Is it possible for your organization to carry out your preferred strategic plan with the resources (personnel, capital, time, external support, etc.) likely to be available? Don’t assume your “gut instinct” is necessarily correct – get data to support your predictions. Sometimes you will be surprised!

7. Focusing insufficiently on strategy due to such things as trying to satisfy too many different stakeholders or bureaucratic processes

Academic publishers (particularly those of us working at university presses!) serve an increasingly diverse amalgam of stakeholders, each with their own bureaucratic traditions and priorities. Do our efforts to

satisfy each of these constituents necessarily restrict us from strategic thinking?

[Part IV follows Monday…]



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