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Essay title: Strategy

What is Strategy?

Strategy is a plan, or something equivalent a direction, a guide or course of action into the future, a path to get from here to there.

Strategy is also a pattern, that is, consistency in behaviour over time

Strategy is position, namely the determination of particular markets.

Strategy is perspective, namely on organization’s way of doing things. As position, strategy looks down to the ‘x’ that marks the spot where the product meets the customer. It looks out to the external market place. As perspective, in contrast, strategy looks in, inside the organisation, indeed, inside the head of the collective strategist. But it also looks up, to the grand vision of the enterprise.

Intentions that are fully realized can be called deliberate strategies. Those that are not realized at all can be called unrealised strategies. The literature of planning recognises both cases, with an obvious preference for the former. What it does not recognize is the third case, which is called emergent strategy, where a realized pattern was not intended. Actions were taken, one by one, which converged in time in some sort of consistency or pattern. For example, rather than pursuing a strategy (read plan) of diversification, a company simply makes diversification decisions one by one, in effect testing the market. First it buys an urban hotel, next a restaurant etc., until strategy (pattern) of diversifying into urban hotels with restaurant finally emerges.

As implied earlier, few, if any, strategies can be purely emergent. One suggests no learning, the other, no control. All real world strategies need to mix these in some way to attempt to control without stopping the learning process. Organizations, for example, often pursue what may be called umbrella strategies: the broad outlines are deliberate while the details are allowed to emerge within them. Thus emergent strategies are not necessarily bad and deliberate ones good; effective strategies mix these characteristic in ways that reflect the conditions at hand, notably the ability to predict as well as the need to react to unexpected events.

What Is Strategy?

Strategy is perspective, position, plan, and pattern. Strategy is the bridge between policy or high-order goals on the one hand and tactics or concrete actions on the other. Strategy and tactics together straddle the gap between ends and means. In short, strategy is a term that refers to a complex web of thoughts, ideas, insights, experiences, goals, expertise, memories, perceptions, and expectations that provides general guidance for specific actions in pursuit of particular ends. Strategy is at once the course we chart, the journey we imagine and, at the same time, it is the course we steer, the trip we actually make. Even when we are embarking on a voyage of discovery,

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