cover image Plan B: 
The Art of Making Things Happen

Plan B: The Art of Making Things Happen

David K. Murray. Free Press, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-439-198-353

In his bestseller on strategy, Borrowing Brilliance, Murray asserted that exploiting and building on the ideas of others is at the core of creative thought and business progress. In this follow-up, he continues to explore the world of strategy, this time maintaining that the ultimate winners are not just those with the best plan, but those who manage to develop and adopt a “Plan B” when circumstances change. Murray recounts that most companies spend significant time and resources on strategic planning, but often make the mistake of viewing those plans as set in stone rather than fluidly adapting the overall idea and tactics to changing market conditions; this lack of flexibility and foresight, says Murray, are the cause of many business failures. Murray illustrates his points with examples of real-life successful adaptive planning, including Eisenhower’s Operation Overlord, the Apollo 13 mission, IBM’s reinvention of its product lines in the ’70s and ’80s, and the evolution of Facebook, as well as such failures as H&R Block’s foray into comprehensive financial services, which diverted its attention from its core business. For readers new to strategy, this work will provide some helpful examples and frameworks, but for those who have studied strategic planning, the insights may seem like common sense and provide little new food for thought. (Oct.)