Strategic Thinking and Scholarly Publishing, Part IV (Final)

Last week I began posting a 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 IV (the final entry) of the series.


Strategic Thinking and Scholarly Publishing, Part IV

Common Strategic Blunders (Continued)


8. Inaccurately determining one’s areas of comparative advantage relative to the opposition

Professionals must always fairly evaluate their company’s, their competitors’, and their own personal strengths and weaknesses. It is never wise to rely on a business strategy that assumes your organization

is allowed complete freedom to move forward to take advantage of opportunities while your competitors remain unaware and inertiabound.


9. Failing to realize that few individuals possess the cognitive skills and mindset to be competent strategists

Do not be unwilling or unable to see that not everyone demonstrates the ability to make a strategic leap from reacting to events as they occur to formulating coherent long-term plans. How “democratic” can

strategic planning really be within an organization, and how can one best identify the managerial team members with the capacity for this sort of analysis?


10. Failing to understand the adversary

Remember that there are a number of different “adversaries” to profile in our business—other publishers that share your specific part of the marketplace, bureaucracy, the changing relationship between retail

channels and publishers, “information glut,” and the inefficiencies of the marketplace itself. Don’t assume too much, but also never underestimate the impact and influence of potential opponents, particularly if

you are able to successfully turn an “adversary” into a project collaborator.


I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have! Thank you, again, to John Byram for sharing this piece and allowing me to post it here.

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