Confusion about what strategy is and is not does not help managers in their pursuit of growth. Here we look beyond the academic approach to what managers need from strategy.
There is lots of discussion about what strategy is and what it is not. There are thousands of books and research papers on the subject and millions of web pages. What is missing however is clarity.
Strategy is one of the most confusing business topics there is.
The confusion around strategy is great for some academics. But for managers concerned with business growth it is unhelpful.
The problem if managers are not clear on what strategy is – how can they be clear on what their strategy needs to be? For example, how is a manager to know if their strategy is a good or a bad one.
If ‘What is strategy?’ is a hard question to answer then ‘What is good strategy?’ is even more confusing still.
Even good strategies can fail to deliver the results that are expected. So it is certainly not a black and white matter.
Rather than adding to what has been written about good and bad strategy, let’s pair strategy back to its basics. That is to its purpose – that purpose being the success of the business.
Strategy is (or at least should be) all about success (and how to achieve or maximize that success). In the case of growth strategies success is measured in the rate of profitable and sustained growth.
So we are re-framing the issue of strategy in terms of speed. Not just the speed of profitable growth, but also the speed at which your company can respond to the opportunities and challenges within its market.
That is why we say ‘strategy is confusing, but the requirements of growth are not.’ There are companies that are fast in responding to the opportunities and challenges of their markets (customers and competitors) as they emerge. There are others that are slow. The difference can be explained in large measure by their approach to strategy:
To explore what we mean by Fast Strategy and Slow Strategy, as well as how it can make the difference between success and failure click here.