What is Strategy? 5 Awesome Questions from the Harvard Business Review.

Prefer to watch a video on this? https://youtu.be/WUKnygaRvUA

What is strategy?

How do you find your organisation's strategy?

Does it even have a strategy?

I researched 'business strategy' for an academic thesis and found a huge amount of peer reviewed articles (33,960) from 1887 to 2020. 86.2% of those were written since 1995.

That's a lot of research in the last 25 years and yet there still seems to be little agreement on exactly what constitutes 'strategy' besides 'choices' that focus on your organisation's 'competitive advantage'.

Turning to modern gurus we get a panoply of advice that usually centres around their pet topics which can be very powerful but always incomplete.

It's in these conundrums that the Harvard Business Review shines; it combines a strong academic base with modern tools, techniques and data in everything it publishes. Think TED Talks meets Encyclopedia Britannica.

Once again, they save the day by distilling everything I've ever read on strategy (and practised in large organisations) into 5 profound questions:

1. What are your broad aspirations and concrete goals?

Create these, strive for these, and measure against these.

2. What field will you play on (and not play on)?

Segment and target your market.

3. How will you win?

Nurture your organisation's unique selling proposition - the unique value that it brings to a market.

4. What do you need to win?

Define and acquire the resources you need - people included.

5. How will you build it?

Build the systems and processes required to operate and maintain your strategy.

The original HBR article goes into slightly more depth around each question, and is worth checking out.