Strategic Thinking Skills

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Love this lecture. The historical context is so important to understanding where the foundation of strategy comes from and places it in important context for todays business setting.
Date published: 2021-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than Average This course does not have a laser focus but rather roams among general strategic thinking, corporate strategy, and personal development. Many (perhaps most) of its illustrations are either military examples or sports examples. If the student is not interested or familiar with military history or American sports, the lessons may be lost. The course is structured somewhat like a Business School course on marketing strategy although it ventures into military strategy and personal development as well. It addresses elements of strategy in detail although the course lacks an attempt to integrate these elements into a grand strategy. Dr. Ridgley has both the practical hands-on experience (serving in military intelligence in Europe during the Cold War) and also the academic chops (Ph.D. from Duke) to address strategy. He has a sound teaching style, too, if the student is familiar with the illustrations. I took the video version. The visuals are not essential to the course so it can be used as audio only such as when jogging or driving a car.
Date published: 2021-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course This is a first-rate course. I have many years of teaching at War Colleges on both sides of the Atlantic, and have found this to be one of the best introductions to the topic of Strategy - what it is, why it's necessary and what the barriers to implementing it are - I have come across. I have been a full Professor for a few years now, but you never stop learning, and I'd commend this one to you whatever your level. Stan Ridgley is a natural teacher as well, and he conveys the material using lots of military and business examples. First rate!
Date published: 2020-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic course on every aspect of strategy As an executive for a high tech company, Dr. Ridgley's course was everything I hoped for. He offered actionable information while being entertaining. It's also an informative course for all those fascinated with strategy through out history.
Date published: 2020-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Want to reevaluate your career or business? Great course. I enjoyed the use sports, military history and business to illustrate points when talking about a particular aspect of strategic skills. The course was presented in a clear, concise manner. As a novice I found the course very accessible and entertaining.
Date published: 2020-05-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I'm not impressed thus far. Wanted more concrete apporach to developing strategy. I have completed the course as yet, but was inspecting more approaches and understanding what makes a particular approach more effective.
Date published: 2019-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Range of Applications! Strategic thinking has utility across a range of activities, and this is probably the most valuable insight I gained. The examples from entertainment and politics, in addition to the standard military instances, demonstrated the power that strategy brings to most any enterprise. Top notch!
Date published: 2019-10-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Poor presentation of concepts As a retired successful female litigator with no experience or interest in battles or football, I found the professor's consistent resort to military and football examples of strategy concepts both tone-deaf and irritating. I also found his failure to consider analysis of a situation, including identification of potential "moving parts", as a necessary step before defining strategy and back-up strategy a massive shortcoming of the course. Real-life examples from business, career planning, or other scenarios would help to give meaning to whatever point the professor was (largely unsuccessfully) trying to make. Not worth buying.
Date published: 2019-06-10
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Strategic Thinking Skills
Course Trailer
The World of Strategic Thinking
1: The World of Strategic Thinking

Enter the fascinating world of strategic thinking. Start by learning some of the key terms and concepts you'll encounter, with a focus on the differences between "strategy" and "tactics." You're also introduced to how strategic thinking works in business, politics, military combat, sports, and much more....

33 min
The Origins and Relevance of Ancient Strategy
2: The Origins and Relevance of Ancient Strategy

To truly grasp strategic thinking, you must understand its origins and traditions. See how the writings and ideas of early strategists, including Thucydides, Sun Tzu, Hannibal, and Machiavelli, can provide you with modes of thinking and practical guidance you can use even today....

32 min
The Dawn of Modern Strategic Thinking
3: The Dawn of Modern Strategic Thinking

Follow along as strategic thinking develops in military engagements from the French Revolution to the close of World War I. You'll examine the contributions of Napoleon Bonaparte (whose strategies of indirect approach and central positioning demonstrate the power of ideas over material resources), influential military theorists, and famous geopolitical thinkers....

32 min
Modern Principles of Strategic Conflict
4: Modern Principles of Strategic Conflict

Objective. Offensive. Maneuver. Unity of Command. Security. Professor Ridgley demystifies these and other principles of war in use by the U.S. military since the 1920s. Each of these principles goes beyond military action and can offer you vital guidelines for executing your professional and personal strategies against a sometimes hostile world....

30 min
Geography-Know Your Terrain
5: Geography-Know Your Terrain

Delve into the influence of microgeography on your own decision making and discover how interacting with your physical space in situations of conflict and competition can make or break your chances of success. Case studies and examples in this lecture range from Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo to a simple chess match....

30 min
Grand Strategists and Strategic Intent
6: Grand Strategists and Strategic Intent

At the center of every great strategy is a vision-a strategic intent. Learn the importance of powerful strategic intents by studying what constitutes an effective vision, how figures such as John F. Kennedy have articulated them, and what happens when you fail to have a solid strategic intent....

33 min
The Core and the Rise of Strategic Planning
7: The Core and the Rise of Strategic Planning

How do you actually plan an effective strategy? First, follow the development of formal strategic planning in the business realm after World War I. Then, Professor Ridgley walks you through his six-step strategic planning process that can better help you craft a successful strategy....

30 min
Which Business Strategy? Fundamental Choices
8: Which Business Strategy? Fundamental Choices

Learn the major ways that firms and people compete economically-and how these strategies can apply even to nonbusiness activities. You'll contrast cost leadership (selling products at the lowest possible price and making profit on volume) with differentiation (providing something unique beyond low prices), and also consider a special form of hyperdifferentiation known as "focus."...

32 min
Your Competitive Advantage-Find the Blue Ocean
9: Your Competitive Advantage-Find the Blue Ocean

What is your unique selling proposition, and how do you develop it? How do you find your "blue ocean" and differentiate yourself in some meaningful way? Most important: How can thinking differently and taking risks actually help you stand apart from the pack in positive ways? Find the answers right here....

31 min
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
10: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Examine some of the powerful analytical tools that strategic thinkers use to make calculated and honest assessments of the world around them-and better understand their own capabilities. The four invaluable tools you'll learn about in this lecture are PEST analysis, five forces analysis, value chain analysis, and the technique known as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)....

28 min
Avoid the Pathologies of Execution
11: Avoid the Pathologies of Execution

Even with a superb strategy, the best-laid plans can go awry for many reasons. Here, Dr. Ridgley uses examples from military combat to illustrate some of the common causes of strategic failure. These include poor intelligence, overreach, and communication breakdown....

29 min
Tactics of Combat as Problem-Solving Tools
12: Tactics of Combat as Problem-Solving Tools

There is much to be learned from studying the major tactics of war-the frontal assault, the indirect approach, turning the flank, and rear area battle-beyond just winning battles. In each instance, you'll start by exploring the technique's military roots and then turn to its fascinating applications in the business world....

31 min
Shock of the New-Inflection Points
13: Shock of the New-Inflection Points

How do you navigate game-changing events and developments (strategic inflection points) that force you to radically readjust your strategy? Examine a range of case studies in business (such as the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry), politics (limiting a U.S. president's term in office), military conflict (new weaponry introduced during the Crusades), and other areas....

29 min
Surprise! Perils and Power of Strategic Deception
14: Surprise! Perils and Power of Strategic Deception

Surprise is a valuable tool in strategic thinking. In this insightful lecture, discover the inner workings of powerful surprise tactics such as unexpected timing and creation of false expectations in opponents-and how these tactics have been used throughout history. Also, find out how you can apply them to conflict situations you may face....

29 min
The Sources and Uses of Reliable Intelligence
15: The Sources and Uses of Reliable Intelligence

Investigate the role of intelligence collection in crafting a good strategy. First, consider what is (and isn't) intelligence. Then, examine the intelligence cycle to learn how intelligence is produced and used. Finally, confront some major obstacles that thwart the use of intelligence....

29 min
Move and Countermove-The Theory of Games
16: Move and Countermove-The Theory of Games

Tap into the secrets of game theory. You'll uncover how this recent field-and its classic games, including the Prisoner's Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons-contribute to our understanding of how people reason and how to use this knowledge to best pursue strategy in your own games....

29 min
The Evolution of Cooperation
17: The Evolution of Cooperation

Does cooperation make sense, even under conditions of potential conflict when you're trying to get ahead? How can it be used in strategies that maximize everyone's welfare? Explore powerful military and business situations involving cooperation, from the Christmas truce in World War I to the alliance between AT&T and T-Mobile in 2011....

31 min
When Strategy Breaks Down
18: When Strategy Breaks Down

It's important for any strategic thinker and planner to understand obstacles to strategy. Learn to cultivate a healthy skepticism by studying a phenomenon Dr. Ridgley calls "strategic masquerade"; looking at types of misalignments that can derail your strategies (such as groupthink); and increasing your awareness of the dangers of "strategic erosion."...

31 min
Leverage Cognitive Psychology for Better Strategy
19: Leverage Cognitive Psychology for Better Strategy

Explore some ideas and theories of cognitive psychology that can help improve your decision making and avoid irrational thinking in strategic situations. You'll learn how to dodge thinking traps by employing such techniques as historical comparisons and situational logic....

29 min
Strategic Intuition and Creative Insight
20: Strategic Intuition and Creative Insight

Research suggests that, under certain conditions, intuition and instinct (also known as coup d'oeil) can be effective in making decisions. Take a closer look at several examples of strategic intuition in action (including a critical Civil War battle) and learn seven easy steps for helping you use intuitive insights to tackle problems....

29 min
From Systemic Problems to Systemic Solutions
21: From Systemic Problems to Systemic Solutions

Systemic problems, which arise repeatedly because of processes already in place, are a hurdle to more effective strategic thinking and planning. Here, analyze the nature and structure of systemic problems from the vantage point of a strategic thinker-and learn some definitive ways to fix them....

30 min
Seize the Future with Scenario Analysis
22: Seize the Future with Scenario Analysis

Perfect information that allows us to strategically plan around the uncertainties of the future is impossible-but there are tools that can help you better grapple with and manage the future. Professor Ridgley guides you through the steps of scenario planning and shows you ways to no longer fear the unexpected....

32 min
The Correlation of Forces, Luck, and Culture
23: The Correlation of Forces, Luck, and Culture

The correlation of forces; luck; the four dimensions of culture-three powerful concepts you can harness to your strategic thinking needs, endow yourself with potent analytical power, and dramatically increase your chances of achieving strategic success. Learn all about them here....

28 min
Strategic Thinking as a Way of Life
24: Strategic Thinking as a Way of Life

Revisit the importance of strategic thinking at work and at home. Why should you think strategically? How can you teach yourself to see larger patterns in the world around you? What will the future of strategic thinking look like?...

33 min
Stanley K. Ridgley

Strategic thinking is about unraveling the mysteries of the chaotic world around us and harnessing powerful forces to our own ends. .


Duke University


Drexel University

About Stanley K. Ridgley

Dr. Stanley K. Ridgley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at Drexel University's LeBow College of Business. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from Duke University, an M.B.A. in International Business from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Duke. Professor Ridgley teaches courses on global business policies, international business fundamentals, competitive intelligence, strategic management and entrepreneurship, and advanced strategic business presentations. While teaching at Temple University, he received the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership. Professor Ridgley has lectured and presented widely in the United States, Russia, India, France, Colombia, and Singapore. A presentation coach for teams of business students, he coached the winning team for Target Corporation's annual Business Case Competition at Temple University in 2009 and 2010 and coached an Indian M.B.A. team's winning presentation in the All India Management Association's 2009 National Competition for Young Managers. His book, The Complete Guide to Business School Presentations: What your professors don't tell you...what you absolutely must know will be published in 2012 by Anthem Press. Professor Ridgley is a former military intelligence officer for the U.S. Army and served five years in West Berlin and near the Czech-German border, where he received the George S. Patton Award for Leadership from the 7th Army NCO Academy.

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