What is strategy?

We define strategy as:

DOING THE RIGHT THINGS RIGHT
WITH THE RIGHT RESOURCES
IN THE RIGHT STRUCTURE AND
THE RIGHT CULTURE
TO REALIZE THE RIGHT THINGS

In most textbooks you'll find either a simple one-dimensional definition of strategy, or a more complex explanation.

An example of the first:

"Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long-term: which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfil stakeholder expectations".
- Johnson and Scholes from the book 'Exploring Corporate Strategy.ā€™
 

Mintzberg on the other hand, in his co-authored book 'Strategy Safari', provides us with a more complex definition with the five P's of strategy.

Strategy as:

  • Plan
  • Pattern
  • Position
  • Perspective
  • Ploy
However, if we look closely, Minztberg's 'complex' approach is nothing more than an observation of strategy from many different angles, each ā€˜Pā€™ highlighting one of the key elements of a multifaceted strategy.
 
1 and 2 are the same in the sense that a Plan is forward looking, and a Pattern is established when looking back.
3 and 4 are also similar in the sense that both allude to the famous Ansoff matrix.
5 the Ploy is nothing more than a subjective and qualitative statement concerning a specific approach or way of reaching a goal.
 
The main thing all strategies, or definitions thereof, have in common is that there's always a sense of:
  • Today's situation (however elaborate or minimally described)
  • Tomorrow situation and,
  • How to get there.
In other words getting from a to b.
 
In order to get from a to b you need to know the following things:
  • Where is a?
  • Where is b?
  • What ways lead to b?
  • What condition am I in?
The last question is often overlooked but rather important; for instance, you decide that the best way from a to b is to cross the river, and you decide to swim across knowing that you are physically able to do so; understanding you ability is imperative.
 
In other words:
DOING THE RIGHT THINGS RIGHT
WITH THE RIGHT RESOURCES
IN THE RIGHT STRUCTURE AND
THE RIGHT CULTURE
TO REALIZE THE RIGHT THINGS