Marketing Planet

What is strategy about?

A definition for Strategy

Wen looking for a definition on "strategy" on the internet, there are various explanations you might find. In order to explain what strategy is all about I will list up some elements that seem to define strategy:

  • An action plan
  • A goal
  • Long term or middle-long term

On the other hand, the main use of strategy is made in two areas: Military and Business. Ok, you can say that in Politics a lot of strategy can be found, that is true but it will be called politics, sorry for that, or elsewhere it is rather linked with the military force and is called geo-politics. When you got to a libraray or a bookshop and look for anything on strategy you will mostly find books on business strategy and military strategy.

Strategy in Business and the Army only?

If we look close enough to business and military we can see that both are about the society, both are about achieving something on the long term and for which it seems not always very simple to achieve this goal. If we extrapole to politics, we see that this does also very well fit in society, in fact it is all about society.

Society is complicated and it is long term, there are people that have to govern it, followers are needed. In order to govern and to follow, a goal is needed if not there will be no reason to govern or follow and there is no motivation required. It might get a bit mixed up but you will see that it states exactly the principles of a strategy: a long term goal and an action plan to go there.

A goal: a main element of strategy

As soon as you have defined a goal that will not be a short term goal you will have to make an action plan in order to achive your goal. All actions can be divided into sections that will become intermediair goals - thus short term projets. These actions will help you to stay clear on the way you want to go.

Your goal will become your red line to advance. The action plan will be the way to take you to it.

How to decline strategy

If in 10 years from now you want your company to be the number 1 in the market, you have to find a way to get there.

1 - You will have to define what means becoming number 1, how you will be able to measure. This is defining your goal

2- After defining the goal you will have to state the situation of departure, where are you now. This will indicate the beginning and the end of your strategy.

3 - With the beginning and the end, you will be able to defnine the plan of how to link both sides and thus achieving in becoming number 1.

4 - These actions to take you to the goal will also be your intermidiar or "short term" goals. A long term goal is sometimes difficult to achieve and may become a far away "fading light" and the motivation may decrease when time flies by. These short term goals will keep you going and are there to remind you what you are doing it all for. It will clear your road and motivate you to continue. If becoming number 1 will mean to increase the quality of your products, this will be one of your short term goals and it will help to motivate your troops.

5 - When advancing towards your goal you should not omit to verify whether your action plan is still valid and still leads you to the right direction. By questioning yourself and your actions every now and then you are able to adjust in time, it may be your actions that are not well suited, but also your goal that sometimes needs to be modified. In our exemple, if you decide you need to amend the quality of your products to become number 1, you have to verify if this really has improved your situation and what impact it has on your positioning.

Vision

The difficulty behind a good strategy is the fact that the goal needs to be in long term. It is not always easy to foresee and decide where you want or need to be in 10 or 15 years, or sometimes even much further away. I’m not even discussing the fact of finding a realistic long term goal and a reasonnable way to achieve it. Businesses and the military and political processes need to look that much ahead.

An exemple: the goal of a small company selling Soda to become the world leader ahead of Coca Cola within 15 years is rather idealistic. By breaking down the goal in smaller parts you will also study its feasability.

Good strategic visionnaries are therefor rare. The more you have to look ahead, the more interference you will have with other areas and the more incertain the future will be.

This vision can be learned and some have more facilities then other to do so. One way of learning strategy is by understanding case studies in strategy. Whether it is on military strategy or business strategy you will see various aspects of good tacticiens.

Strategy will help you define your goals for the future and the way to achive them. Without a good strategy you may lack a clear goal or not manage to define the way to get there. It is clear that those who want to achieve something in life will have to have their strategy. Whether in business, politics or even in your private life.

Though it is not always called strategy, these are all different sides of the same concept. For each of the applications the elements of goal, action plan and time period are essential. A good organisation of it will help you make the difference between a good strategy and a bad one. Just a last word: having a good strategy is not a success itself to succeed, more is needed but that is out of this topic.