20 Questions for Business Leaders

For the 20th anniversary of strategy+business, we, the editors and staff of this magazine thought we’d celebrate this grand story of management thinking by holding, in effect, a grand party. We’d invite all the luminaries of management thought, from antiquity to today, to join us in spirit. Or at least to have their ideas in the room. And you’re invited too.

This catalog will give you an initial taste of the result: a browsable, ever-increasing compilation of management ideas, recast and reframed as we think only s+b can do it. We published only a small portion of it in print, of course. This is the rest of the catalog, in its evolving complexity. It’s a kind of genealogy chart of management ideas, showing their sources, their influences, and a little bit about how they are put into practice.

We started this catalog with a simple but grandiose idea: We’d celebrate our magazine’s history by tracking the most influential business ideas throughout history. We invited some of the most insightful business historians and observers we know to a workshop. Participants came prepared with lists of what they considered the milestones of management history. We spent the day posting ideas on a conference room wall, grouping them, and trying to get to the heart of each with an incisive phrase or reference.

We ended up with about 400 entries, more or less organized by theme. Then we refined them to the version you see here. We found that each group of ideas could be fairly well summed up in a single question and there happened to be about 20 of them — 20 questions for 20 years of s+b, a heartening coincidence.

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