What is Strategy?

19 Sep

Strategy is probably one of the most misunderstood words in all of management speak.  Because of the “coolness” of the word strategy – unless something is “Strategic” it cant be important. However the overuse and misunderstanding of strategy is one of the core issues at the heart of organizational underperformance.

Here is a listing of many ways the word strategy is used:


Definitions of strategy on the Web:

  • scheme: an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  • the branch of military science dealing with military command and the planning and conduct of a war 
  • A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often “winning”. Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand by its nature of being extensively premeditated, and often practically rehearsed. …
  • In Neuro-linguistic programming, a strategy is a mental sequence used to achieve a goal. Strategies are usually described in a sequence of sensory-specific terms of the representational systems and submodalities employed. They may include alternatives, fall-back strategies, and the like. 
  • In game theory, a player’s strategy, in a game or a business situation, is a complete plan of action for whatever situation might arise; this fully determines the player’s behaviour. 
  • The science and art of military command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of warfare; A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal; The art of using similar techniques in politics or business 
  • Approach taken that will affect the overall direction of the organization and will establish the organization’s future environment.
  • the management of language for a specific effect. The strategy or rhetorical strategy of a poem is the planned placing of elements to achieve an effect. The rhetorical strategy of most love poems is deployed to convince the loved one to return to the speaker’s love. 
  • A systematic plan, consciously adapted and monitored, to improve one’s performance in learning
  • With respect to option investments, a preconceived, logical plan of position selection and follow-up action.
  • a broad non-specific statement of an approach to accomplishing desired goals and objectives.
  • The general plan or direction selected to accomplish incident objectives.
  • In game theory, a set of actions and contingent actions for the several stages of a sequential game, that is, a plan of action for each stage contingent on the outcome of preceeding stages.
  • Actions managers take to attain the firm’s goals.
  • The use of manoeuvre and movement to obtain an advantage over an opposing army.
  • In GAME THEORY, a policy for playing a game. A strategy is a complete recipe for how a player should act in a game under all circumstances. Some policies may employ RANDOMNESS, in which case they are referred to as mixed strategies.
To be useful in business, we need to go back to the classical definition of strategy as articulate by Michael Porter in 1987. Strategy is the unique position that a firm occupies in a market space.  The goal of a strategy is to maximise the firm’s share of profit within that market space. Strategy is what make you unique.
By being absolutely clear of the strategy – all allocation of resources, actions, decisions can be taken to further solidify that unique position making it hard for the competition.
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Posted by on September 19, 2008 in Articles, Business, Leadership


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