The Kennedy tapes of the meetings on the Cuban missile crisis are evidence of the strategy formulation process. Analysis of the interventions in these meetings reveals that President Kennedy had adopted a questioning, Socratic approach. Conclusions are drawn on President Kennedy's leadership style. The methods employed in 1962 are compared with ideas from strategic management: positioning; resource‐based view; top‐down or bottom‐up; deliberate or emergent; and rational or generative. The author deduces from this evidence: the collective strategy process cannot truly begin until a collective aim has been decided; the strategy process is best led by a facilitator, rather than an authoritarian; both positioning resources need to be considered; strategy formulation is an art, guided by whatever science can be brought to bear.
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