Strategy and execution are the 2 critical elements that drive a business. However, leaders often struggle even with defining—let alone devising and executing—an effective strategy. Many of those who are responsible to deal with it fall short of describing how they typically employ it. This failure takes its roots from the fact that there is no clear path associated with strategy.
Strategy is about making sound decisions about unforeseen problems. It’s about selecting the right options—about matters that are often quite ambiguous today but have great significance in the future—based on thorough contemplation, detailed analysis, and creative ideas. Broadly speaking, strategy encompasses these 3 main elements:
- A vision and direction
- A certain position or pattern
- A deliberated Strategic Plan to achieve strategic goals and vision
Great strategists execute their plans, analyze the results, evaluate their actions, and perform course correction based on the outcomes. They are not afraid of even revamping their approach entirely. Senior leaders should clarify their understanding of the concept of strategy and draw attention to the importance of differentiating between the 3 distinct types of strategies before formulating their own course of action:
- General Strategy
- Corporate Strategy
- Competitive Strategy
Let’s delve deeper into the 3 types of strategy.
General Strategy indicates how a specific objective will be achieved, with well-thought-out plans. The focus of this type of Strategy is on ends (objectives and results) and means (the resources we have to achieve the objectives). Strategy and tactics combined bridge the gap between ends and means; where Strategy deals with deploying the resources at our disposal while tactics govern their utilization. A pattern of decisions and actions marks progress from the starting point to achievement of objectives in General Strategy.
Senior executives need to deliberate on the following questions before devising their General Strategy:
- What do we do?
- Why are we here?
- What kind of business are we?
- What kind of business do we want to become?
- What is our purpose? What are the results we seek?
- What is our existing Strategy, is it explicit or tacit?
- What Strategy and plans may bring about the results we want?
- What resources we have at our disposal?
- Are there any constraints in terms of resources that limit our actions?
Corporate Strategy describes what a company does, the purpose of its existence, and what it aims to become. Corporate Strategy focuses on choices and commitments concerning the markets, business, and the organization. Corporate Strategy classifies the markets and the businesses in which a company will operate. This type of strategy is typically decided in the context of defining the company’s mission and vision.
A detailed assessment of the existing strategy, market, competition and environment is critical for devising the Corporate Strategy. Strategists indicate that there are critical elements that should be factored in while formulating Corporate Strategy. These elements include product or service offerings, resources, marketing and sales approaches, manufacturing capabilities / capacity, customers, distribution channels, technology, type of market and its requirements, and revenue and profit goals.
While formulating Corporate Strategy, senior executives should consider and seek answers to the following questions:
- What is our existing Corporate Strategy?
- Is our Corporate Strategy explicit or tacit?
- What are the critical assumptions that make our existing strategy viable?
- What is going on in the market—in terms of social, political, technical and financial environment?
- What do we seek to accomplish in terms of our growth, size, and profitability targets?
- What markets we are eyeing to compete in?
- What businesses we intend to operate in?
- What locations and geographies will we compete in?
Competitive or Business Strategy specifies for an enterprise the core reason on which it contests its rivals. It depends on an organization’s competences, advantages, and disadvantages compared to the market and the rivals.
Interested in learning more about the General, Corporate, and Competitive Strategies? You can download an editable PowerPoint on The 3 Distinctions of 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
“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”
– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)
“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
“Several times a month, I browse FlevyPro for presentations relevant to the job challenge I have (I am a consultant). When the subject requires it, I explore further and buy from the Flevy Marketplace. On all occasions, I read them, analyze them. I take the most relevant and applicable ideas for my work; and, of course, all this translates to my and my clients’ benefits.”
– Omar Hernán Montes Parra, CEO at Quantum SFE