Avoid Pigeonholed Approaches to Strategy

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subramanian
Business Consultant, India

Avoid Pigeonholed Approaches to Strategy

Strategy is defined differently by different proponents, based on what one considers, is the key focus of his theory / paradigm / postulate. Examples include
Blue ocean strategy that espouses a clean slate approach, out of the box thinking, unbounded by the past, bold, forward looking and claimed to be superior to other forms of strategy development
Porters five forces model of competitiveness that believes sustainable businesses depend purely on competitiveness driven by the five forces of competitiveness
SWOT approach where strategy development is driven by an analysis of the past: strengths, weaknesses (constraints) and the future opportunities and threats
Systems approach where a holistic integrated approach is taken in charting a strategy

I believe - contrary to a pigeonholed (Editor: ~put in/assigned to one particular category, typically an overly restrictive one) approach that individual proponents espouse - that strategy is the thinking process in the mind of the strategist (business owner or the CEO). It is not something that is bragged about to the public, put on ppts and broadcast. Such an approach demolishes and neutralizes the fundamental premise of a strategy: to take on the competition / adversary by surprise, swiftness and low reaction time, orchestrate unique benefits for the self and entry / operational barriers for others, continuous evolution to always leave the competition / adversary behind (trailing). Strategy keeps evolving all the time in the mind of the driver. Loud statements on strategic expertise brandishing one tool or another are unrealistic, not recognizing the value derived, limitations, contextual appropriateness and holism to deliver practical value.

Real strategy is rarely spoken about loudly other than serving a diluted / text book version, to quench the thirst of analysts. Strategy is more often a game plan residing in the mind of the leader. He may disclose / share elements of it, just as much felt necessary to carry his team along, and give them a sense of belongingness in its conception and implementation, in order to hit the long term agenda.

Can we train one on strategy? Strategy is highly individualistic driven by thinking patterns and thought processes, learnings from experiences, successes, failures and how one has sailed through. Strategy is knowledge interspersed with emotions and confidence that one can. Strategy is nothing without being different.
Strategy is impossible without a belief that something that others have not tried or done, is possible. Objective of the strategist is to reveal as little of the strategy necessary to give meaning on one's action to those he needs, to collaborate with, to achieve his vision. Stated vision is only a hazy picture of ones' mental model of strategy that may never be articulated. Strategy has many elements in the nature of intrigue, bordering on illegality, unethical and even secretive, which if revealed would derail and endanger one's goal achievement. It may not even be comprehensible to another. One can only comprehend only what is within ones' realm of perception. Sometimes there may not even be a strategy, but only a passion that carried one forward. Business school case studies on strategy tend to be more of giving a legitimate meaning to an event in the language of the strategists to sync with known theories to gain credibility among one's social and professional circles. Is it possible to give meaning to all that one does, over someones else's template?

  mangesh pansare
Manager, India
 

Pigeonholed Strategy

I did read books by Porter, on SWOT, etc., and I w...

  subramanian
Business Consultant, India
 

Pigeonholed Strategy

Thank you Mangesh. You are absolutely right. I hap...

  mahmoud
Saudi Arabia
 

Pigeonholed Strategy

@Subramanian: I don't agree with the part you ment...

  subramanian
Business Consultant, India
 

Pigeonholed Strategy

You seem to have interpreted the word game in a ne...

  Leslie
Student (University), Mexico
 

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Professor, India
 

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I believe that strategies in a competitive environ...

  subramanian
Business Consultant, India
 

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Dear Prof. @Neeran Gautam, thank you for your view...

  K.Narayana Moorthy
HR Consultant, India
 

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My thinking is that, rather than try to be perfect...

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Business Consultant, India
 

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@K.Narayana Moorthy: Yes, you are right. Strategy ...

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