What is Strategy?

Lionel Grealou Strategy Leave a Comment

The determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for those goals. (Chandler, 1962)

2 – 5 year roadmap… not a plan for next quarter (!)

Alignment and commitment of stakeholders (Delivery, Sales, marketing, HR, Finance, etc.)

Resource, capability and performance driven

Agreement on short vs long term actions and ROI

Every business organization, every sub-unit, and even every individual (ought to) have a clearly defined set of purposes or goals which keeps it moving in a deliberately chosen direction and prevents it drifting in undesired directions. (Andrews, 1971)

Clear direction and plan – which need to be continuously maintained and adjusted

Clarity about what is and what is not desired (in and out of scope)

process of analysis which is designed to achieve the competitive advantage of one organization over another in the long term. (Porter, 1985)

Robust governance to keep momentum and alignment

Clear rationale that can be challenged

Focus on differentiation to outperform rivals

Operational effectiveness includes but is not limited to efficiency: necessary but not sufficient

Strategic positions can be based on customers’ needs, customers’ accessibility, or the variety of products or services

Trade-offs are essential: the need forchoicefit and sustainability

To enable an organization to identify, build and deploy resources most effectively towards the attainment of its objectives. (Henderson and Mitchell, 1997)

Capability to implement the strategy and effectively deploy the plan

Availability of resources beyond current needs in order to invest in future potential

Ongoing benchmark against competition and market… not a one-off, but an iterative process (!)

Communication to the wider community about the direction and plan

To ‘operationalize’ the management of strategy into stages of formulation and implementation, it is necessary to analyse the strategy formulation in terms of deliberatestrategies—realized as intended—from emergent strategies. (Mintzberg, 2009)

Strategy is contextual

Strategy as a consequential effect of the trials and errors and an iterative process

What are your thoughts?


  • Chandler A (1962) Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of
    American Industrial Enterprise, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
  • Andrews KR (1971) The concept of corporate strategy, Richard D. Irwin, Homewood
  • Porter ME (1985) Competitive Advantage, New York, The Free Press
  • Henderson R, Mitchell W (1997) The Interactions of Organizational and Competitive Influences on Strategy and Performance, Strategic Management Journal, 18:5-14
  • Mintzberg H (1990) The Design School: reconsidering the basic premises ofstrategic management, Strategic Management Journal, 11(3): 171-195

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 2 April 2015.