Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

How Do the Subject Matter Experts (Porter, Mintzberg, & More) Define Strategy?

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, KPI Compilation: 800+ Corporate Strategy KPIs (186-slide PowerPoint presentation). This presentation is a comprehensive collection of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) related to Corporate Strategy. A KPI is a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, or process in meeting objectives for performance. KPIs are typically implemented [read more]

Also, if you are interested in becoming an expert on Strategy Development, take a look at Flevy's Strategy Development Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

* * * *

Strategy is about the methods used to attain goals.  It’s the “how” of achieving goals—desired future conditions and circumstances towards which effort and resources are spent until their achievement.

If Strategy has any meaning at all, it is in relation to some aim or end in view.

Strategy is 1 of the 4 dimensions of an enterprise structure:

  1. Goals of the organization.
  2. Resources at our disposal.
  3. Strategies for achieving above-mentioned goals –i.e., the methods used to deploy the resources.
  4. Tactics—i.e., the ways in which the deployed resources are used.

Strategy and tactics – integral part of Strategy Development – bridge the gap between goals and the methods used to achieve those goals.  These 4 dimensions of enterprise structure relate to one or both of the 2 domains; Policy and Management.  Policies determine the goals of an enterprise, whereas attaining goals is typically a matter of Management.  Tactics belong to the managers; strategy is the combined realm of the governors and managers; whereas resources are controlled jointly.

The employed resources through use of Strategies and Tactics give us “certain” conditions.  Inspecting them in light of the “desired” conditions enables us to determine future employment of the resources and thus emerges a pattern of actions and decisions which makes Strategy an adaptive and evolving view of what is required, to achieve goals.

We take a look at various perspectives on and definitions of Strategy, as explained by 8 of the most impactful and renowned Strategists in modern times.  Familiarity with the perspectives of these strategists enables us to develop a more holistic and thorough understanding of the topic, helping us improve our strategic thinking, decision making, and analytical skills.  All of these experts agree on the fact that Strategy is a means to implement a policy or a view envisioned by those who matter.  Let’s see how the following strategists define Strategy:

  1. Michael Porter
  2. Henry Mintzberg
  3. Treacy and Wiersema
  4. H. Liddell Hart
  5. George Steiner
  6. Kenneth Andrews
  7. Kepner-Tregoe
  8. Michel Robert

Let’s break down how a few of these renown strategists define “Strategy.”

Michael Porter

Michael Porter, the father of modern Business Strategy, views Competitive Strategy as “intentionally opting a collection of activities that are dissimilar to the competitors in order to provide a unique mix of value”– i.e. Competitive Advantage.  Porter states that Strategy is about:

  • A competitive position.
  • Differentiating yourself in the eyes of the customer.
  • Adding value through a collection of activities different from competitors.

Henry Mintzberg

Mintzberg is credited with co-creating the Organigraph.  He has written extensively on management and business Strategy.  His contribution to Organizational Theory in the form of “The Organizational Configurations Framework” is a model that describes 6 valid organizational configurations or Organizational Design.

Mintzberg argues that the contrast of changing realities with intentions necessitates accommodation, generating Strategy.  According to him Strategy is a combination of:

  • The Perspective – Vision and Direction.
  • The Position – Decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
  • The Plan – a means of getting from here to there.
  • A Pattern in actions over time – for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a “high end” Strategy.

Treacy and Wiersema

Treacy and Wiersema’s Value Discipline Model talks about 3 different value disciplines: Customer Intimacy, Product Leadership, and Operational Excellence.  Their research on market leading organizations reveals that they outdid their competitors through mastering 1 of these 3 disciplines.

Treacy and Wiersema assert that companies achieve leadership positions by narrowing, not broadening, their business focus on any one of the following:

  • Operational Excellence – lead the industry in terms of price and convenience and is based on the Strategy of production and delivery of products or services. It implies world-class marketing, manufacturing, and distribution processes.
  • Customer Intimacy – Long-term customer loyalty and customer profitability is based on the Strategy of tailoring and shaping products to the increasingly fine definitions of Customer-centric Design.
  • Product Leadership – concentrates on quick commercialization of new ideas. It hinges on market-focused R&D as well as organizational nimbleness and agility.

Interested in learning more about the 8 definitions of Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 8 Perspectives on Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

144-slide PowerPoint presentation
Frameworks are powerful tools Strategy Consultants leverage to address their clients' business issues in an organized, thorough, and efficient fashion. In this presentation, we provide primers to 20 consulting frameworks used by Strategy Consulting firms. These frameworks have been categorized [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Strategy Development?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Strategy Development. Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

"Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

For effective Strategy Development and Strategic Planning, we must master both Strategy and Tactics. Our frameworks cover all phases of Strategy, from Strategy Design and Formulation to Strategy Deployment and Execution; as well as all levels of Strategy, from Corporate Strategy to Business Strategy to "Tactical" Strategy. Many of these methodologies are authored by global strategy consulting firms and have been successfully implemented at their Fortune 100 client organizations.

These frameworks include Porter's Five Forces, BCG Growth-Share Matrix, Greiner's Growth Model, Capabilities-driven Strategy (CDS), Business Model Innovation (BMI), Value Chain Analysis (VCA), Endgame Niche Strategies, Value Patterns, Integrated Strategy Model for Value Creation, Scenario Planning, to name a few.

Learn about our Strategy Development Best Practice Frameworks here.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

153-slide PowerPoint presentation
[NOTE: Our Hoshin Kanri presentation has been trusted by an array of prestigious organizations, including industry leaders such as Apple, Boeing, Shell, Cummins, Johnson Controls, Telefónica, Discover, Stryker, Thales, Saint-Gobain, AGCO, [read more]

324-slide PowerPoint presentation
306-slide PowerPoint presentation

About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Connect with Flevy:


About Flevy.com   /   Terms   /   Privacy Policy
© . Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.