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What the hell IS strategy?

I reckon a lot of people think ‘strategic’ is a buzz word so-called gurus use to attract the attention of rich business leaders. It’s used a lot, you hear it conversations all the time: ‘Fred was demoted because he doesn’t think strategically.'

Sound familiar?

Look through the academic text books and you’ll find a variety of important-sounding definitions that can make you feel like a ninny. But it’s not really that hard.

Strategy is a way of thinking, an idea, which sets a course of action that promises a winning future position. That means someone who acts or plans without taking the strategy of the company into account is not thinking strategically.

Strategy is NOT the same as tactics. The strategy is the big picture, the ‘what to do’ and the tactics are the details, the ‘how to do it’. Strategy sets direction, tactics are what the company does to achieve the strategy.

This is an important distinction because the business game changes constantly, and therefore so do the strategic objectives. For instance, you might decide a strategy to reaching your financial objectives is to build your company’s market share – that’s your strategy; one tactic is by selling at the lowest price. When competitors discover your tactic, they react by undercutting your price.

Your goal is still the financial objective, your strategy of building market share may remain the same but because circumstances have changed, you choose another tactic.

A strategy is evolutionary, it changes as circumstances change and new information and ideas come up. Strategy is a process, not an event

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