The traditional idea behind strategy is the deployment of resources against some objectives. Each year, organizations engage in processes akin to magical rites with the goal of coming up with a plan. We know what to do, we know why we should do it and we know how to do it.

Yet, often times, the plan fails. We try a little, something unexpected happen, give up. We repeat until totally frustrated.

Why do we hurt ourselves with this illusion of control? In Management and Magic, Gimpl and Dakin writes that these behaviors make the world seem more deterministic, give us confidence and unite toward a cohesive future, thus promoting action [1].

There might be a better way: a Roundabout Path to strategy

Instead of following the direct route towards achieving the objective, the idea of a Roundabout Path to strategy is to examine the conditions that would make desirable consequences inevitable [2]. This is best exemplified by the concept of strategic advantage in war where you do not hurl your troops headlong directly at enemy positions for an immediate victory. Rather, you conserve your troops and resources and take advantage of points with defensive and strategic advantages in a more roundabout approach to final victory [3]. By focusing on the Roundabout Path, we cultivate the inherent potential within the situation which makes many different desirable outcomes possible.

[1] Gimpl, M. L., & Dakin, S. R. (1984). Management and Magic. California Management Review, 27(1), 125–136.
[2] Mosior, B. (2020, March 15). Leadership. Retrieved April 15, 2020, from
[3] Spitznagel, M. (2013). The Dao of capital: Austrian investing in a distorted world. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.