Breakfast with Clausewitz: Strategy and Finance

By Sweeney, Jack | Business Finance, October 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Breakfast with Clausewitz: Strategy and Finance


Sweeney, Jack, Business Finance


It would seem that every part of finance these days is trying to trigger greater stategic thinking. Having automated more and more of their transactional-related work, finance executives can now step more into the strategy arena, unfettered or no longer weighted down with the burden of plus-sized transaction processing.

However, there is some question as to whether finance professionals fully grasp the differences between their world and the strategy world.

To better equip themselves for the journey, they may want to reserve a seat for Carl von Clausewitz at their next breakfast meeting. If nothing else, the image of a 19th-century Prussian soldier eating the healthy choice selection at the Four Seasons Hotel may help to better underscore these differences. For his part, Clausewitz authored the classic On War, a text routinely praised for its enduring principles - principles that can empower anyone to develop effective strategic thinking practices, or so renowned business leaders such as Jack Welch frequently acknowledge.

As an admirer of both Clausewitz and his strategic- thinking contemporary, von Moltke, Welch writes: "They did not expect a plan of operations to survive beyond the first contact with the enemy. They set only the broadest of objectives and emphasized seizing unforeseen opportunities as they arose. Strategy was not a lengthy action plan. It was the evolution of a central idea through continually changing circumstances."

Here Welch hits upon Clausewitz's central dictum that strategy cannot be reduced to a single right answer or formula.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Breakfast with Clausewitz: Strategy and Finance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?