PofE 060: Book Review – Deep Dive


The premise of "Deep Dive" is that there are four types of strategic thinkers. These four types of strategic thinkers embrace a very different approach to utilizing proven repeatable processes for building organizational strategy. "Deep Dive" takes into account our need as strategic thinkers to understand the type of thinkers that are most effective and a process for making the most of our limited resources while also taking smart steps to accomplish your goals. The four strategic thinkers are beach bums, snorkelers, scuba divers, and free divers.
• Beach bums are strategic thinkers that sit on the shore and make an attempt to get into the water of strategic thinking; however, they do not contribute to the strategic insights which help businesses grow, and they average around 9% of all strategic thinkers.

• Snorkelers are strategic thinkers that swim along the surface of the water and are managers who provide tactical solutions, but who have not learned to offer strategic solutions that impact organization's bottom-line. Snorkelers make up about 26% of all strategic thinkers.
• Scuba divers are strategic thinkers that are equipped with the appropriate skills, training, and techniques to support strategic thinking. They participate in strategic planning meetings and may contribute strategic insights but because of the limited number of strategic planning meetings most organizations schedule, they have a limited impact on the overall corporate strategy. They represent only 32% of all strategic thinkers.
• Finally, we have the free divers who are strategic thinkers that dive deep into game changing business strategy and insights. They understand environmental influences, competitive landscapes, and market trends and are equipped with the appropriate skills, training, and techniques to support those insights and have a major impact on corporate strategy. They have a major impact on resource allocation and influence smart actions that help take the corporate strategy from concept to real benefits for the corporation. They represent the remaining 33% of all strategic thinkers.

What I learned:

• Strategy is not aspiration, best practice or caution steps. These are the ABCs of what strategy is not. Understanding that strategy is not aspiration, best practice or caution steps will help you focus on exactly what strategy and strategic thinking is.
• The author defines strategy as: "the intelligent allocation of limited resources through a unique system of activities to outperform the competition in servicing customers."
• Be different in a way that creates customers' value. Learn what the customer values are and do a lot of that.
• Capability = Resources + Core Competency
• Activities selected determine your strategic focus.
• The ability to develop strategic insights come from four focus areas. These areas are context, customers, questions and models.

  • Context is current trends in the market, customer buying habits, competition and the company's current capabilities.
  • Customers are your current customers who are willing to provide you with candid feedback on your products and services.
  • Questions are the elements that stimulate new thinking. If you change your questions, you change your thinking. A great tool that I recommend is the SCAMPER questioning technique.
  • Models are visual descriptions of your strategy that enable organizations with categorizing four key business areas which are your market, customers, competition and the company.


"Deep Dive" focuses on asking critical questions such as:

  • What are my key insights?
  • Which limited resources should I focus on implementing and what actions can I take that would provide my organization strategic advantage over its competition?

The book concludes with a discussion on strategy design focusing on seven key attributes. Read Lee's seven strategy designs and consider the three questions of strategy and you will gain a strategic advantage in your market.

Principles of Execution Key Concepts:

  • Deep Dive
  • Strategic Thanking
  • Learning

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