Strategy is on the verge of reinventing itself


Strategy is on the verge of reinventing itself


Strategy is on the verge of reinventing itself and reclaiming its rightful place at the top of the business process chain.

Strategy is a term that comes from the Greek strategia, meaning “generalship.” In the military, strategy often refers to maneuvering troops into position before the enemy is actually engaged. In this sense, strategy refers to the deployment of troops.

“Strategy is how you achieve your own objectives by winning the hearts, minds and business of customers by out-thinking and outmanoeuvring competitors.”

Strategy is perspective, position, plan, and pattern. Strategy is the bridge between policy or high-order goals on the one hand and tactics or concrete actions on the other. Strategy and tactics together straddle the gap between ends and means.

In fact, looking through various strategy books, many authors have shied away from defining strategy.

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1895 – 1970)

basil Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1895 – 1970) was an English soldier,  military historian and military theorist.In Liddell Hart’s words,

 “In strategy the longest way round is often the shortest way there; a  direct approach to the object exhausts the attacker and hardens the  resistance by compression, whereas an indirect approach loosens the  defender’s hold by upsetting his balance.”

Kenneth Richmond Andrews (1916 – 2005)

kennethKenneth Richmond Andrews (1916 – 2005), was an American academic who, along with H. Igor Ansoff and Alfred D. Chandler, was credited with the foundational role in introducing and popularizing the concept of business strategy.

“Corporate strategy is the pattern of decisions in a company that determines and reveals its objectives, purposes, or goals, produces the principal policies and plans for achieving those goals, and defines the range of business the company is to pursue, the kind of economic and human organization it is or intends to be, and the nature of the economic and non-economic contribution it intends to make to its shareholders, employees, customers, and communities.”

George Steiner (April, 1929)

steinerGeorge Steiner (April, 1929) French-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, and educator. His book, Strategic Planning, is close to being a bible on the subject.

Some of the definitions in use to which Steiner pointed include the following:

  • Strategy is that which top management does that is of great importance to the organization.
  • Strategy refers to basic directional decisions, that is, to purposes and missions.
  • Strategy consists of the important actions necessary to realize these directions.
  • Strategy answers the question: What should the organization be doing?
  • Strategy answers the question: What are the ends we seek and how should we achieve them?

 Henry Mintzberg (September 2, 1939)

minzbergHenry Mintzberg (September 2, 1939) is an internationally renowned academic and author on business and management. His 1994 book, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, points out that people use “strategy” in several different ways: 

  1. Strategy is a plan, a “how,” a means of getting from here to there.
  2. Strategy is a pattern in actions over time; for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a “high end” strategy.
  3. Strategy is position; that is, it reflects decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
  4. Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.

Michael Eugene Porter (May 23, 1947)

porterMichael Eugene Porter (May 23, 1947) is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, based at the Harvard Business School. Most popularly known for his Porter’s Five forces model.

Porter argues that strategy is about competitive position, about differentiating yourself in the eyes of the customer, about adding value through a mix of activities different from those used by competitors.

Porter defines competitive strategy as “a combination of the ends (goals) for which the firm is striving and the means (policies) by which it is seeking to get there.”

Strategies too often fail because more is expected of them than they can deliver.