Saturday, May 19, 2012

Setting Strategic Direction (Part Two - Strategy)

The following is being posted as Part Two of a THREE Part series. It comes from an original article called, "Setting Strategic Direction: Vision, Strategy, and Tactics" by Stever Robbins *. The full article on his website can be seen at

PART Two - After the Vision ...

The strategy thing
Strategy links the destination (vision) with current reality. Strategy applies to the whole company, and answers the question “How will we reach our vision, given current market conditions, competitive scenario, regulatory environment, etc.?” Strategy is narrower than vision, but broad enough to guide company wide organization structure, hiring, capabilities that must be developed, and so on. Strategy says, “We’re going west, but we ran into this grand canyon. We can go around to the north or south. Let’s choose south.”

For example, a company may have a vision to “provide scientifically proven technology to solve the medical needs of consumers and hospitals.” In the 1950s, the strategy may be doing in-house research, hiring and developing scientists, and a compensation program based on discovery. In the 1990s, the same company may have a strategy of acquiring small drug-making companies and buying and protecting patents from other companies. Both strategies will reach the vision, but they are appropriate for different competitive environments, and they have different organization structures, different financing options, and different operational characteristics.

You know you have a strategy if you chose your current path from many alternatives, all of which would have reached your vision, each of which would have required hiring different people and building different systems. If you didn’t consider many alternatives, or you didn’t choose your alternative considering your competition, your vision, and your current market conditions, then you probably have a tactic, not a strategy. If you can execute your strategy with your current people, reward systems, and organization structure, then it’s not a strategy, it’s a tactic.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS on the development of a STRATEGY?  Please add your comments to this post and watch for the THIRD and final part to this series that will be coming soon!

* Stever Robbins <>  is an executive coach who helps executives and CEOs grow their business and chart their careers and lives. He is a serial entrepreneur, the author of Get-it-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More <> , host of the #1 iTunes business podcast The Get-it-Done Guy, <>  and an adjunct lecturer at Babson College. You can find him at 

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