What is strategy?
Why do you need it?
How do you do it?
The Art of Strategy provides timeless answers to these eternal questions!
You need strategy to sustainably thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world where the rate of change will never be slower than today.
Strategy is not only wars, battles and combat for power; it is individuals, teams or organizations fulfilling their purpose in situations outside their direct control, sometimes engaging with others desiring the same thing.
Preparing strategy is not only planning, data and metrics; it is choices for a harmonized direction for the organization based on regular assessments of stakeholders’ needs.
Making strategy happen is not only following a plan, checking metrics and fulfilling targets; it is initiatives, decisions and actions in a harmonized direction by everyone everywhere in the organization based on high situational awareness.
Business is not only maximizing shareholder value; it is succeeding together with your stakeholders — maximizing outcomes while minimizing efforts.
Agility is not only a ready ability to move with quick, easy grace; it is the ability to adapt to and influence situations more rapidly than competition, including timely break out of successful — but non-sustainable — patterns.
Leadership is not only for managers and people in formal leader roles; it is a service provided by — potentially all — people in the organization.
The art of strategy is to succeed — by securing harmony among stakeholders and keeping competition off balance — through evolving better capabilities to influence, adapt and map.
Strategy is vitally important for organizations. It is a place of prosperity or disruption, a path to success or failure, a matter to be carefully considered.
The five fundamental factors of strategy are:
Consider them when assessing situations.
Purpose is what keeps people united, supporting each other without fear through success and failure.
Landscape describes the environment including positions, distances, space and obstacles.
Climate describes the forces acting on the environment including the patterns of the seasons and stakeholders’ actions.
Doctrine is ways of operating, communicating and organizing that apply irrespective of landscape and climate.
Leadership is actions, decisions, choices and gameplays based on purpose, landscape, climate, doctrine and capabilities — guided by five leadership characteristics: wisdom, trust, compassion, courage and strictness.
Master all five to succeed; or else, fail.
Use the five fundamental factors when assessing situations and ask:
Who has more influential purpose?
Who has more skilled leadership?
Who is favored by landscape and climate?
Who carries out doctrine more skillfully?
Who has more capabilities?
Who has more highly trained people?
Who provides feedback more clearly?
This shows who will succeed and who will fail.
Attract and retain people who use these factors and be certain to succeed. Dismiss people who do not, or be certain to fail.
Based on assessment, develop a basic strategy. Use momentum to deploy it beyond the regular: follow the advantage and master opportunity as events unfold.
Deploying strategy is about concealing intentions towards competition:
When able, seem unable;
when busy, seem idle;
when near, seem far;
when far, seem near.
Show opportunity to lure, show confusion to capture.
When competition is secure, make preparations;
when strong, avoid;
when angry, disturb.
Engage when competition is unprepared; appear where they do not expect.
That is how to succeed — by giving nothing away beforehand.
Avoid engagement until assessments indicate certain success.
Careful assessments indicate success, careless assessments indicate failure; many advantages indicate success, few indicate failure;
if no advantages at all, how much greater the indication of failure.
This is how to determine success or failure before engagement starts.
To successfully deploy strategy, people and equipment are needed.
This incurs costs — psychological, social and financial.
Always aim for swift success. Success delayed grinds down people and wears down equipment.
A tough mission weakens people’s strength and drains the organization.
With people ground down, equipment worn down, strength weakened and the organization drained, competitors will exploit the situation.
Not even skilled leadership can make things right after that.
While it is mindless to move too fast, it is also unwise to take too long.
Organizations suffer when letting strategy deployment take too long.
Successfully deploy strategy by being aware of these risks.
treat stakeholders well and equipment carefully;
focus capabilities and save costs;
learn from successes and failures;
use competitors’ mistakes and failures for psychological, social and financial advantages, e.g. recruit their people.
Entering a new area is very expensive for the organization — psychologically, socially and financially. Most ventures into new areas fail. Investments here drain the organization and potentially leave existing areas suffering.
work and use equipment in better ways;
seek out and try new ideas from stakeholders;
use competition’s weaknesses and treat those you recruit well;
if necessary, secure additional funding from stakeholders.
Value those who do this.
In strategy deployment, treasure success and avoid long campaigns.
Master strategy to secure the organization’s safety and sustainability.