The Emergent Approach to Strategy: Adaptive Design & Execution

  • 4h 48m
  • Peter Compo
  • Business Expert Press
  • 2022

“Peter Compo’s The Emergent Approach to Strategy is a wonderful rethinking of the language and logic of business strategy. Be prepared to learn how to identify ‘killer problems’ and critical ‘bottlenecks’ as well as how to see the ‘disqualifiers’ implicit in too many statements of strategy. This is a necessary addition to a strategist’s bookshelf.” –Richard Rumelt, Author of Good Strategy/Bad Strategy and The Crux

“Compo has provided a path to move beyond the typical annual strategic plan that rarely gets adopted. With an approach that drives clarity in intent with adaptability to changing conditions and opportunities, Compo shows how to unlock the creativity and ability of the people who will turn your strategy into reality and results.” –Michael Effron, Chairman, Oliver Wight


Consultants and academics continue to report chronic failures of strategy practice.Two causes dominate: strategy is still not fully defined, and strategy practice is still largely based on a planned versus adaptive view of the world. The Emergent Approach to Strategy digs deep into complex adaptive systems to bring a new clarity to strategy function and incorporate this understanding into practice.

The emergent approach practice includes:

  • An agile method for strategy framework design
  • Scenario and bottleneck diagnosis techniques
  • A four-station dashboard
  • emphasizing execution

  • A new set of strategy tests called the five disqualifiers

Go to to access the following resources:

  • Chapter supplements with appendixes, commentary, and added examples
  • Five Task Sets: a guidebook for implementation of the approach
  • Templates for use in strategy materials
  • Additional examples of the Five Disqualifiers in various fields of endeavor

About the Author

After earning a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from City College New York and a background in music, Peter Compo spent 25 years at E.I. DuPont. Working in both commodity products and tech ventures, he held leadership positions in marketing, supply chain, product, and business management and was the corporate lead for integrated business planning. Seeing the same strategy challenges and the same adaptive patterns of innovation in all these areas of experience inspired him to create the emergent approach.

In this Book

  • Introduction—The Chronic Strategy Problem
  • One More Time—Defining Strategy
  • A Primer on Adaptation and Emergence
  • The Killer Problems of Change and Innovation
  • The Limitations of Aspirations, Plans, and Metrics
  • The Creative Power of Strategy as a Central Rule
  • Both Strategy and Tactics are for “Winning Wars”
  • Nested Frameworks to Integrate Organizations
  • The Five Disqualifiers of Strategy
  • What is Execution?
  • The Strategy Alternative Matrix
  • Agile-Parallel Design
  • Values, Proposition, External Constraints, and Aspirations
  • Designing Scenarios
  • Finding Bottlenecks
  • Designing Fitness Criteria and Making Assessments
  • Design Principles for Strategy Alternatives
  • Evolving the SAM as a Whole
  • The Four-Station Dashboard
  • Transitioning to Implementation
  • Outro—The Heroic Leader
  • Notes
  • References