What Is Strategy?

February 24, 2012

This is reposted from Undercurrent.com – What is Strategy?

In the world of business and marketing, “strategy” is frequently used, yet rarely useful. For all of our strategy statements, strategic roadmaps, corporate strategies, launch strategies, innovation strategies, and on and on and on, the ideas that we label as strategy fail to effect meaningful change.

The problem is not that strategy as a concept fails us, but rather that we don’t really understand what strategy is.

As a student of strategy, I’m trying to figure out what strategy means to me, and how I practice it in my work. My hope is that by being able to explain it (or at least understand it clearly myself), I will be better able to develop strategies for others that are clear, insightful, and effective. I want to become a master at creating strategies that inspire action.

Here’s where I’m starting…

Strategy is the practice of figuring out the best way to get from here to there.

Read the rest of the post and check out the infographic over at Undercurrent.com - What is Strategy?

Over the past few years I’ve been attempting to read the strategy cannon (if there is one), including Sun Tzu and The Art of WarJohn Boyd, Michael PorterHenry Mintzberg, Richard Rumelt, and General David Petraeus. Over the next several weeks I’m planning to look at the question What is Strategy? through each of their eyes, and explore the various models.

What do you think? How do you define strategy in your work? Who do you look to as a model for strategy?

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2 Responses to “What Is Strategy?”


  1. Hello! Cross posting from Varun’s comments ;) couldn’t find a place for comments on UC

    Hello chaps! great glad you guys connected over this. My humble contribution [i’m aware that i’m using ‘strategy’ to mean ‘business strategy’ i think.

    http://farisyakob.typepad.com/blog/2010/06/strategy-ishow-do-we-make-money.html

    the key aca text here is Porter:

    http://hbr.org/product/what-is-strategy/an/96608-PDF-ENG


  2. Cross posting again:)

    Strategy: the general direction. [pun intended ;-)]

    So – we are going to make more money by selling more of these things to more people in more place. [but not as vague ;) ]

    Tactic: how do I get distribution with WalMart.

    Tactic: getting fans on facebook to re-market to.

    trade offs are essential. you don’t have infinite resources so you can’t target everyone and do everything.

    THE BIG issue we have as an industry is the conflation of ‘account planning’ and strategy – they are NOT the same thing.

    Strategy: deciding how best to spend time and money to achieve objectives, considering whether advertising is an appropriate tool.

    Account Planning: finding insights to inform the advertising creative. Much much further downstream.


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