Strategy is about winning in the marketplace by acquiring market share to deliver value, and by improving performance over time. Strategy is the implementation of both plans and policies, and is deployed and executed through programs, projects, and perpetual processes. The concept of strategy originated with governments out of political need, and was executed as war. In business, strategy is about winning constituency relationships, especially those of customers.
Strategy is the beneficial positioning and posturing of an enterprise in an industry and related marketplaces so as to deliver value over time. The direction towards broad or narrow markets, with either differentiated or utility products and/or services and lines, is a function of position. Being a leader, close follower, laggard, or niche player, as either a scale provider or boutique, is a function of posture. Posturing based upon growth requires an effective approach to mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Strategy can be either offensive or defensive in various markets.
Strategy is a set of actions derived from both plans and policies to gain advantage including:
- Aspirational – loyal relationships between employee, customer, supplier, and investor constituencies because stated and enacted values are consistent
- Competitive – the position and posture that offers consistencies better value than competitors
- Collaborative – relationships between suppliers, or customers, or peers as a partnership with a common mission, and operating dependently for mutual value
- Cooperative – relationships between suppliers, or customers, or peers as an association with a similar mission, but operating independently for mutual value
Winning customer relationships is essential; building effective relationships with all constituencies is necessary for delivering value.
Strategy formulation should begin early and continue throughout the life of an enterprise – as vision becomes reality, there is more experience to draw upon. However, building sustainable advantage means being able to enact change, either by causing or responding to it, on an ongoing basis.
The components of strategy include:
- Aspiration – values and guiding principles, mission, vision, value proposition
- Industry position and posture – sector; segments: single product line, diversified, or conglomerate; scale provider or boutique
Competitive position and posture:
- Markets: high barriers to entry – either broad or narrow
- Products and/or services: either differentiated by distinctive functions and features commanding a premium price, or utilities at discount
- Infrastructure: hard to replicate – tight fit between people, processes, and products and/or services; discount pricing requires effective and efficient production cost and operating expense management
- Repositioning in markets
- Restructuring administrative and operational activities
- Reengineering processes
Constituency-based objectives, goals, and strategic initiatives:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Research and Development (program management and engineering: market, product, infrastructure)
- Operations (procurement, manufacturing or equivalent, distribution)
- Business Development (marketing, sales, service)
- Legal vehicles
- Organizational structure (functions and business units)
- Standard of ethics
- Sustainability – environmental, economic, and social
Key performance indicators:
- Financial: revenue, costs and expenses, profits, cash flows, financial capital, operating capital, investment capital, and returns based upon rates, quantities of input, volumes of output, and gains
- Non-financial: market share and penetration, product and/or service usage, satisfaction, quality, time-to-market, cycle time, productivity, asset capacity and utilization
Strategic plans are supported by tactical, operational, and financial plans, and processes for enhancement and maintenance.
Strategy formulation is an enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and managerial) competency.
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