What is strategy?

In today's ever-changing and fast-paced world, having a good strategy is not just important; it's essential to remain relevant and competitive. With increased complexity and uncertainty, formulating an effective strategy becomes even more challenging. But what precisely is strategy? 

The core of strategy.

Simply put, strategy is all about making choices. It goes beyond formulating a winning aspiration, don’t fall in the trap of blue-sky visions as Roger Martin argues (setting unrealistic goals without a clear understanding of what it takes to win in your industry or market). Strategy involves making tough decisions on where to compete and how to win. 

To create a solid strategy, you need to answer four key questions: 

1. What is our winning aspiration?

Define a clear and ambitious goal that your company aims to achieve. Having a well-defined purpose will guide your actions and inspire your team. 

2. Where will we play?

Design a business model that identifies your target markets, customer groups, and focus areas to allocate resources effectively and drive growth. This will result in a clear view of the setting and circumstances your company is operating in, creating a better understanding of your business for you and your entire team. 

3. How will we win?

Utilizing your strengths and unique capabilities, design a value proposition(s) that will set you apart from the competition. 

4. How do we organize ourselves?

Determine the critical organizational capabilities and resources needed to execute your chosen strategy. Establish the necessary processes and structures to monitor progress and ensure successful implementation. 

Make the right priorities.

Whilst answering these questions, there will undoubtedly be trade-offs you will be faced with. It is crucial to prioritize certain opportunities while sacrificing others. Failing to make strategic trade-offs can dilute your efforts and hinder success. At the same time, every part of your strategy must fit together like puzzle pieces and reinforce one another. 

"You need to be uncomfortable and apprehensive: True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success."

- Roger Martin

Ready to strategize?

A successful strategy starts with strong leadership. Leaders must drive the strategy design process, communicate the vision, and ensure alignment across all levels of the organization. Being open to challenging assumptions, embracing learning, and adapting the strategy as circumstances change are also essential traits for effective leadership.

It's time to take action.

Now that you have a better understanding of what strategy is all about, it's time to take action and chart a path to success! Remember, keep it simple, answer the 4 key questions, and remain open to adapting your strategy as needed to thrive in today's ever changing business landscape.  

Want to explore your strategy with one of us? Meet Patrick.

He is our strategy guru.

Patrick van der Pijl
Patrick van der Pijl