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What is Strategy?

Apr 07, 2021

Strategy is the most ‘frequently used yet poorly understood’ management convention in organizations today.

If a manager wants to call attention to an initiative or influence resource allocation, they may simply slap a ‘strategic’ label onto it.

Yet if we took 5 minutes to ask our leaders to articulate the what and the why of our strategy—and their specific contributions to its success—we'd cringe as they struggled to articulate their response.

At its core, strategy is a framework comprised of three essential elements:

What desirable attributes will uniquely define our product or service and by whom?

What specifically will we do—and just as importantly NOT do—in pursuit of our desired future state?

How will the activities we take on complement and enhance one another?

As leaders, we play a critical role relative to strategy:

> Senior leaders need to articulate it, set limits, and have the courage to make tradeoffs.

> Mid-level leaders need to propagate it and execute in alignment with it.

> Lower-level leaders need to comprehend it and study its construction and role in organizational performance.