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With all this intelligence, why don't we have better strategies?

Mark Chussil (Founder and CEO of Advanced Competitive Strategies, Inc., and lead creator of the award‐winning ValueWar® strategy simulator. He and his colleagues have implemented business war games for dozens of Fortune 500 companies around the world. He has published extensively and spoken at numerous conferences. Prior to founding ACS, Mark worked at The Strategic Planning Institute (The PIMS Program) and Sequent Computer Systems. E‐mail:

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 1 February 2005




To describe reasons why companies make bad strategy decisions despite having the most capable, motivated, experienced, well‐equipped strategists in history. To recommend practical changes companies can implement to improve strategy decision‐making.


Why do bad strategy decisions get made when so much effort goes into making them well? After all, no one gets up in the morning intending to make bad strategy decisions. This paper draws on the author's experience in scores of business war games and strategy simulations in Fortune 500 firms around the world and on the author's observations in 30 years of designing and implementing quantitative business tools.


Helps strategists uncover sources of bad strategy decisions that might not be recognized in their companies, such as overconfidence, use of inappropriate analytical tools, and excessive emphasis on accountability. Discusses remedies and alternatives such as strategy simulation, business war games, examination of uncertainty, and competitor role‐playing. Includes

Practical implications

Improving the quality of strategy decision‐making can hugely affect the bottom line and be a potent source of competitive advantage.


Strategy decisions are among the highest‐leverage actions management can take. This paper offers new ideas to strategists who want to make better strategy decisions, and identifies conventional solutions to avoid.



Chussil, M. (2005), "With all this intelligence, why don't we have better strategies?", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 26-33.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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