Most business leaders don’t have the foggiest idea of how to define strategy. I’ve watched their eyes glaze over when the subject comes up, much as they do when discussing vision.
Strategy is a term that comes from the Greek strategia, meaning generalship. Like leadership, much of what is applied to business with regard to strategy originated in the military and was transferred into the business world.
In military terms, strategy refers to the deployment of resources (troops and equipment) prior to actually engaging the enemy. Once contact with the enemy has commenced, the priority shifts to specific tactics.
In business, as in the military, strategy bridges the gap between high-level goals and the tactics used to achieve them. Taken together, strategy and tactics bridge the gap between an organizations desired ends and its resources. In other words, don’t draft a plan that requires four aircraft carriers if you only have three.
Confused yet? It’s really not that complicated. Strategy simply defines how a company is going to achieve its goals or objectives. In other words, strategy isn’t the mission, it’s the plan that allows the company to achieve the mission. The components of that plan are “where” and “how.”
The article below does a good job of defining strategy from a purely business perspective, in terms that make plain sense. The authors focus on the two pertinent questions of strategy: Where to play? And How to win? Enjoy.
“The question “What is strategy?” has spurred numerous doctoral dissertations, countless hours of research, and hearty disagreement among serious management thinkers. Perhaps this is why many executives also struggle with it. Nonetheless, decision makers seeking to steer a business to sustained success need a succinct and pragmatic response. After all, it can only help executives to have a shared definition of strategy when they are creating, communicating, and implementing a strategy for their business.” Source: Strategy: An Executive’s Definition
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