For all that is said and written about strategy, it’s surprising how little agreement there is about what strategy actually is. Since the focus of my business is working with organizations to institute the structure and discipline of strategic management, I have some strong thoughts about this.
Some would say that strategy refers to the longer term intentions of an organization. Others emphasize that it must involve the organization as a whole, not merely a department, function or location. Still others maintain that the overarching goal is what is strategic, while executing towards it is tactical.
Yet imagine a small business on the brink, whose survival depends on the manufacturing department fulfilling a major order in the next 10 days. In such a case it’s hard to imagine anything more strategic. This, despite the fact that it isn’t long term and doesn’t involve the company as a whole. And the execution is very much strategic.
So what is strategy?
Strategy is a discipline, a structured and dynamic process that establishes why an organization must change, what it must achieve or become, how it intends to do it, and then acts to ensure that those intentions become reality.