Strategy: What is it?

Many years ago, while writing a conference paper, “The Strategic Application of Information Technology in Business”. I decided to define strategy but, after three pages of military metaphor, found that I could NOT succinctly define strategy.

So I started looking.

Doing the right things vs Doing things right

During my search, I came across the work of Professor Malcolm McDonald from Cranfield School of Management. McDonald succinctly states that “Strategy is doing the RIGHT things viewed from the customer’s perspective!” – succinct and highly effective, YES! 

Professor McDonald defines a second dimension: “Tactics is doing things right viewed from the customer’s perspective!” – YES again.

He goes on to say that if an organization does the right things well it will thrive. If it does the right things NOT so well it will survive. If it does the wrong things it will die, it is simply a matter of how quickly – simply put the better the organization gets at doing the wrong things the faster it will die. This is the basis of my company logo—the four quadrants. IBM in the late 1980s is perhaps the all-time record holder for Die Fast performance, wiping $1 million a day off its Wall Street valuation for five years!

What is your one strategic driving force?

I then came across the work of Michel Robert of Decision Processes International, who says that every organization has ONE Strategic Driving Force and offers a process to determine this.  Again, YES! I persisted with my search and continued to execute strategic projects until eventually I concluded that “Strategy is the ESSENCE of why the organization exists and HOW it THRIVES”. I have applied that definition successfully for nearly two decades now and always find that it concentrates attention and lifts out the fundamentals of a client’s business in the shortest time possible. Frequently client personnel experience an “Aha moment” when the strategic essence is formally presented.

Taking the pulse of your organization

Once we understand the strategic essence of our organization we are in a position to understand why things are not necessarily going well and we have the basis to make informed Thrive decisions. I offer a diagnostic “Pulse Measurement” service which, among other things, determines the strategic essence in order to evaluate the factors giving rise to sub-optimal organizational performance.

StratSnap© | StratGap© | StratMatrix© |StratMap© | StratAction© | StratKPI© | StratDecision©

I have also developed a highly effective strategic planning method and associated toolset that draws on engineering and military techniques to produce measurable and actionable strategic plans quickly and accurately.

Download my checklist “The 7 Critical Components of a Strategic Plan”

The 7 Critical Components of a Strategic Plan

At present I am offering a free Strategic Planning Checklist to enable you to critically evaluate your current strategic planning approach and identify opportunities for improvement. Visit for a free copy to download.

View my Webinar “Strategy: What IS it? HOW to develop actionable plans”

I am also offering a free 80 minute Webinar at which goes into my method, tool and approach as a benchmark of what I consider to be best practice.  There is a 6 minute Executive Summary if you do not have time for the full three-part Webinar.

My Strategic Planning Suite and Training will help you get get there faster

The tool and training videos are available for purchase. Click here to find out more.

We are available to assist clients with their strategic planning requirements, including with the tool and method as well as video training material, trouble shooting services, coaching and facilitation.  Click here to book a free, no-obligation, one-hour consultation.