Strategy basics

Posted on: April 5, 2013

I’ve written a fair amount about strategy in the past (see some example links below) but I thought it might be worth going back to strategy basics with some simple ideas. Mintzberg (who I often talk about in training sessions in the context of emergent strategy) provides five definitions of strategy:

  • Plan
  • Ploy
  • Pattern
  • Position
  • Perspective

Essentially, strategy is about formulating ideas about and implementing change. It requires shared thinking, shared analysis and shared action. In particularly turbulent times, like now, you might use scenario analyses to explore what actions you might take depending on how the environment and situation develops

A key element of your research might include a review of the far external environment – using SLEPT (Sociological, Legal, Economic, Political and Technology trends – use Statistics and Trends in the word cloud to see information that might help you here) and near environment competitor analysis. And you will probably use SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to summarise all your preliminary thinking, research and analysis to identify the key issues on which to focus.

You will need to do a stakeholder analysis to check who has a vested interest in strategy and you can use POWER to make your strategy effective:

  • Personal, professional and past performance
  • Organisational and positional (e.g. Board level authority)
  • Web of contacts
  • Evidence, enthusiasm, passion and tenacity
  • Resources (finances, people and other)

And of course you will need to involve people and communicate it in an appropriate way if you are to ensure that the entire organisation plays it part in execution.

Recent strategy blogs:


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