Strategy is not just a plan, a framework or a report.
There are many arguments, schools of thought, frameworks and definitions of strategy. Some of these legacy definitions include:
A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim
- Oxford dictionary
A high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty
A careful plan or method
- Merriam-Webster dictionary
A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem
The goal of strategy is the pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage.
Strategy is a way of thinking, not a procedural exercise or a set of frameworks
The essence of strategy is choosing to perform activities differently than rivals do...
Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities...
Strategy is making trade-offs in competing...
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do...
Strategy is creating fit among a company’s activities...
- Michael Porter (What is strategy?, HBR, 1996)
Many other consultancies and strategy professors use the term “strategy” to define their frameworks or ways of thinking.
Yet there is still no agreement about what strategy is – not only in general, but often even inside specific strategy projects, leading to confusion and stalled (or failed) strategy initiatives.
As true believers in the overall power of strategy, we use a different definition:
Strategy is everything required to reach the best results
This definition is:
All-encompassing. Obviously, it includes all the definitions cited above (and many others). At the minimum it provides a common denominator for them.
Adaptable. Each strategy project is unique, with specific goals, processes, results, frameworks, ways of thinking, scope, culture etc. Crafting such a unique strategy profile without being limited by textbook definitions is crucial.
Practical. Focusing on the result is the core of strategy success. It includes specific mechanisms for:
This broad and flexible approach allows to include (or to not include) multiple tools:
Any other tools, resources, requirements, themes and processes needed to reach results.