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What is Strategy?

The word "strategy" is probably the most overused and misunderstood word in business.  However, the text-book definition of the word is tight and clear.  According to Johnson and Scholes:

"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"

In essence, strategy is about answering the following questions:

  • What is the direction of the business? (Where is it trying to get to over the long-term?)
  • Which are the markets that a business should compete in and what is involved in doing so?
  • How can a business perform better than its competitors within each of its markets?
  • What are the resources required in order to be able to compete? (E.g. skills, assets,  information, network, technology)
  • What are the external (or environmental) factors that impact the business's ability to compete?
  • What are the expectations of stakeholders and how can we add value for them?

Types of Strategy Consulting

Strategy Consulting, at a broad level, essentially addresses the key strategic challenges facing the senior management team of a business in the pursuit of growth and delivering shareholder value.

Corporate Strategy Consulting

Strategy formulation typically operates at three levels in an organisation:

  • Corporate level strategy - the overall purpose and scope of the organisation and how value will be added to the different business units of the organisation (E.g. Which businesses and markets should we be in?, How can we add synergy across the businesses we are in?, How can we create a competitive advantage across the corporation as a whole?)
  • Business unit strategy - how to compete successfully in particular markets (E.g. how can we gain a competitive advantage within the markets we operate in?)
  • Operational strategy - how the component parts of an organisation deliver effectively the corporate, and business-level strategies in terms of resources, processes and people

See also:

Consultancy Services within Strategy
Strategic Planning Templates

Recommended Reading:


Perspectives and Insights

  Strategy is Dead, Long Live Execution!
  Introduction to Programme Management
  What is a Programme Management Office?
  What is Project Management?
  Change Management process
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