New book by MIT Sloan professor focuses on mastering strategy and execution

Draws on lessons learned from Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 14, 2015 – Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs paved an extraordinary path as the first generation of high-tech superstar CEOs. Despite their uniqueness, they were all titans of industry, who set strategic directions and built deep organizational capabilities that continue to produce success for Microsoft, Intel and Apple. In a new book, STRATEGY RULES: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs, MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Michael Cusumanoand Harvard University Prof. David Yoffie examine what these CEOs had in common to learn what it takes to master strategy and execution, become a great entrepreneur, and transition from an entrepreneur to a successful CEO of a global enterprise.

The authors of the bestselling book, Competing on Internet Time, Cusumano and Yoffie have closely studied these three individuals and their companies for the past 30 years, while teaching business and innovation at MIT Sloan and Harvard. “We believe Gates, Grove, and Jobs were three of the most successful CEOs and strategists in the high-tech world, and perhaps of all time,” write the authors.

Drawing from the lessons taught by the successes and failures of Gates, Grove and Jobs, STRATEGY RULES (published by HarperBusiness) outlines five rules and 20 principles that define what makes a master strategist and a successful leader. These five strategic rules include:

  • Look forward, reason back: During their first five years as CEO, Gates and Grove developed a view of the world. In this step, you look forward into the future and then reason back to actions you must take today to get there.
  • Make big best, without betting the company: High-technology markets can produce big loser and big winners. This step is about making bold moves without putting the company at unnecessary risk.
  • Build platforms and ecosystems: Gates, Grove and Jobs were able to balance the trade-offs between creating great products vs. building industry platforms. Industry platforms require complementary innovations by other firms to succeed.
  • Exploit leverage and power: It is important to be a master tactician, turning opponents’ strengths into weakness. In this step, you learn how to use both leverage and power.
  • Shape the company around your “personal anchor”: Gates, Grove and Jobs shaped their companies around their own strengths. This step is about building the organization around each leader’s unique skills and business insights.

Gates, Grove, and Jobs led the first generation of “high tech rock stars” and laid the strategic and technological foundations for today’s leaders — Larry Page, Pony Ma, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. STRATEGY RULES examines their successes and failures so that other managers and entrepreneurs can learn how to become better at strategy and organizational leadership.

For more information on Prof. Cusumano, please visit: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/detail.php?in_spseqno=41459

For more information on STRATEGY RULES, please visit: http://pr.harpercollins.com/books/Strategy-Rules/?isbn=9780062373953

The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu.