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Net Zero by Narsi is a series of brief posts by Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi), on decarbonization and climate solutions.
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I woke up seriously late today – 10 am. The result of reading a book while running high-temperature last night.

Must have been an unputdownable murder mystery.

Unputdownable, yes. But eerily, it was a book on 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘨𝘺 – my few remaining friends are gonna disown me.

Since the time I was at B-school, corporate strategy has been the topic we all loved to read, discuss and dissect. A classy word with a halo around it, full of appetizing frameworks adorned with intriguing numerical prefixes, those shiny vision and mission statements…

What is not there in corporate strategy for a management student not to love it? (I can write even more complicated sentences. Btw, is this statement correct? :-)).

And then I start reading this book 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐮𝐱: 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬 ( ) that tells me strategy in most cases has little to do with visions, frameworks, goals and targets.

I would have perhaps said “nuff” and cast it aside – especially when my feverish eyes were begging me to get shut to get a sleep – had I not noticed, in the very beginning, the author Richard Rumelt being described by a McKinsey guy as a “strategist’s strategist.” That must mean something.

When I fell asleep some 5 hours later, with lights on, I had just about completed the entire book – it was 2 am.

Rumelt’s latest work is a refreshingly different take on strategy, and it centers around ASC – addressable strategic challenges. To me, it means – Look at where your company is, look at the external environment and trends, identify the crux of a critical challenge or opportunity, and get going on 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 actions that can make a big difference to the crux.

Doesn’t sound like strategy to you? You might change your mind after 325 pages.

I strongly request business and management folks to buy a copy and read it.

Another reason I had zipped through the book in one sitting (lying) was because the lessons were hitting home rather hard. Some examples:

1. Richard’s really interesting take on the UN SDGs – essentially, vision or target statements – and how some of the SDGs conflict with others!

2. Putting big numbers on board and imagining that this will somehow magically motivate you to get there – reminded me of my company’s (CliDemy – the Climate Academy) “vision” to provide effective education to a billion people worldwide by 2030.

3. The arbitraryness of UNFCCC climate targets, and many countries’ Net Zero targets. The results are there for all to see – as I had mentioned in an earlier post ( ), after 28 COPs, the world’s CO2 emissions had INCREASED by almost 70%. (well, many have “pathways” to get there, but I have not seen too many discussions on the crucial challenges that each pathway has).

Are Rumelt’s the last words on strategy? Not sure, but these are some damned good words.

Read the book

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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