Gonzo Strategy – Business Advice From the Sports Desk
A tribute to Hunter S. Thompson*
In a series of six blogs, I will draw some strategic planning advice from an unusual source: The Gonzo journalism of the late American author, Hunter S. Thompson. Enjoy!
The sixth and final.
Follow the prophet then leave him. I want to conclude this short series of blogs on Hunter S. Thompson with a lesson that comes from the philosopher, Alain de Botton: ‘Leave the prophet behind’. A key strength of the Haines Systems Thinking Approach is that if the consultant has done his job properly, the organisation is skilled up and capable of generating sound strategic plans well into the future. Not a great business model for me, but the way it should be.
There is much in the work of Hunter S. Thompson to reflect on, especially when it comes to American society, the human condition, sports ‘tragics’, politics and journalism. I would like to visit the small museum now set up in his home town. There is much in his writing I disagree with, and I lack the courage, for want of a better word, to travel to the ‘edge’– the place he eagerly sought. I don’t think I would’ve wanted to meet this particular hero, but he makes me think, and encourages me to question my entrenched world view. In his writing like Orwell before him and the likes of Michael Moore after, he raged against the corruption of political systems. The same manipulation of public perception and misinformation was occurring in Thompson’s time, but his solution was not about being more ‘objective’, which seems to be the current clarion call of media reformists, it was to fight fire with fire, through Gonzo journalism. It worked. We are not and could likely never write as well in his style. We don’t need to.
It is your journey; you can use as many signs and guides as you need. This is the key element of examining any work or opinion, be it from journalists, bloggers, business ‘experts’, life coaches etc. Take the lessons and leave. Sure, go back for a refresher, but your strategy must be just that: your strategy, your way.
Jason Thomas is the Founder of de Montaigne Strategic Planning, which provides robust strategic planning and training services to small to medium-sized enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and government departments.
He has over 30 years’ experience in senior leadership, operational and planning roles across the military, public and private sectors. In addition, Jason holds numerous degrees and qualifications including Gold Mastery Certification with the Haines Centre for Strategic Management.