Jamie MacAlister’s Risky Strategy reviewed

Risky Strategy by Jamie MacAlister

Director reviews Risky Strategy, the book that says risk, when approached correctly, is a window of opportunity in disguise 

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is famed for his buccaneering approach to football. Under his long leadership, his team were known for attacking hard in the last 15 minutes of a match (and, famously, injury time), often with great success. It is just one example in Jamie MacAlister’s book of how risk, when understood and handled correctly, can actually open doors to opportunity. It does not need to be feared, claims MacAlister: “When it comes to working with risk, I believe a leader is a mediator… leaders need to feel safe with [it].” Drawing on research and lessons from companies including Apple and Procter & Gamble, Risky Strategy explores how businesses can exploit risk when developing strategies for success. 

Risky Strategy: what the publisher says

“What is risk? Is it a real danger or just an opportunity in disguise? Can it be out-manoeuvred or is it something to be embraced and worked with?

When companies are developing their business strategies, risk may be mentioned in passing (and even then, frequently misunderstood) but is rarely seen as a key component of the strategic decision-making process. This can lead to unforeseen complications – strategy is all about making decisions that concern an uncertain future and so risk should play a significant role in that process.

The handling or understanding of risk is often delegated to specialists and much of what is written about risk is, due to its complexity, inaccessible to the majority of senior managers.Risky Strategy aims to make the consideration of risk more accessible and understandable and, in doing so, develop a common language and understanding for recognising and handling it.

Based on research carried out by Ashridge Business School, as well as case studies of the strategic decision-making process in action, Jamie MacAlister takes the subject out of the textbooks and brings it engagingly to life. Drawing on lessons from Apple to Procter & Gamble, from Napoleon to Nelson, from Roger Federer to Sir Alex Ferguson, and from Pythagorus to Sir Isaac Newton, Risky Strategy provides a new and dynamic perspective on risk, demonstrating how and when to take the right risk, and knowing how to recognise the common risks that can derail even the most well-planned projects.”



About author

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker is deputy editor at Think Publishing. Previously she worked as a features writer and sub-editor for Director magazine

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