Philip Evans

Perhaps a lot of traditional insights can still be exploited if we are willing simply to abandon the idea of a solution, an endgame. Not because it does not exist or does not matter, but simply because it is unknowable, at least for now. Perhaps we need to redefine strategy as the art of surviving rapid transition, something like log-rolling or surfing. Strategy as direction rather than strategy as solution. And if this sounds tactical, so be it: There have been many eras in military history when tactics mattered more than generals drawing arrows on maps.

We can use the same principle to redefine the goal of strategy: Success is survival into the next round of the game. Successful strategies generate options. This does not imply the irrelevance of cash flow (as many thought until recently), but it does diminish the value of cash versus that of the right to play in an uncertain future. Indeed, finance theory tells us that the greater the uncertainty, the lower is the value of expected cash flows (because we discount them more aggressively) but the greater is the value of an option.

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