Strategy is our methods of advancing competitive positions toward long-term goals by adapting to changing conditions.
There are at least ten different schools of “strategy” as an academic discipline, but they all focus on at least one part of the previous statement. Since I focus on the practical, everyday use of strategic thinking, I usually try to define my simply and clearly terms clearly.
A competitive position is defined by being at a certain place and time with specific resources, skills, decision-making capabilities, and goals. For purposes of analysis, we break positions down into five components: mission (the goals), climate (the time, emotional resources), ground (the place, physical resources), command (decision making character), and methods (skills).
The long-term goals are also known as the strategic mission. This mission can literally be anything. It provides simply a direction for movement. Some call this the strategic vision.
The methods of strategy are an adaptive loop of looking for opportunities to advance and exploring them. This method is sometimes called the “progress cycle” and follows the pattern of:
- See your competitive situation
- Listen for opportunities
- Aim at the best opportunity
- Move to explore that opportunity
- Claim a new position when discovered.