How Do You Define Strategy?
Strategy has become an often-used word that is applied to many circumstances and areas of business. There are strategies for sales, technology, marketing, HR, and the list goes on and on. As a strategist I actually welcome this, however, it seems that its constant use has somewhat changed its meaning over the years.
At first, traditional financial planning during the 1950s was the dominant definition and use for strategy. By the 1990s, wealth was accumulated and asset management became increasingly more regarded and strategy began to be applied to this important area.
Practitioners such as Dr.’s Kaplan and Norton of Strategy Mapping fame, pioneered new strategic methodologies and strategy became best known for what a company does to sustain and scale its business value into the future. Our firm’s proprietary planning system, SmartPlan360˚ Program is specially designed to assess and develop strategic initiatives that drive business growth on the top- and bottom-lines. It is possible in today’s fast-paced environment, to fully redesign a company from a strategic perspective in ways that were not possible just five years ago.
So you see new strategy thought is redesigning and leveling the playing field. In today’s highly competitive market, 'sustained value creation' almost always involves a breakthrough strategy. This is where a company wins new market share by changing the rules that everyone is playing by, rather than following them. But this requires senior leaders to think out of the box and in new ways and often change what is considered their company’s status quo.
We call this the Sacred Cow Problem. There are usually pockets of control in a company that someone setup to protect their turf. At first, the new pocket brought added value and growth, but over time they can become an anchor that holds a company from growing. Major strategy shifts and changes include getting rid of sacred cows, which can be a painful process for the leaders who designed them!
That’s why breakthroughs often come from new companies. They aren’t encumbered by their pasts or sacred cows. It’s also why identifying breakthroughs are well rewarded by the market, because they bring a welcomed breath of fresh air into the situation. This new fresh innovation and strategic change is the basis of a sound strategy and is how innovative companies currently define strategy.
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Tom Marin is the Founder and President of MarketCues, Inc., a national consulting firm. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations and middle-market firms. Tom’s focus is to help CEOs drive their strategy shifts and strategic growth programs. Follow MarketCues on Twitter. Tom also welcomes emails new LinkedIn connections or calls to (919) 908-6145.