Are You Sure You Have a Strategy?

by D. Hambrick and J. Fredrickson

  • Strategy has become a catch-all term to mean whatever you want it to mean
  • Strategy can only be strategy if it’s intentional, integrated, and informed
  • Their framework for strategy design is made up of 5 elements:
    • Arenas: where will we be active?
    • Vehicles: how will we get there?
    • Differentiators: how will we win in the marketplace?
    • Staging: what is our speed/sequence of movement?
    • Economic logic: how to we obtain returns?
  • Choices about internal organizational arrangements are not part of strategy
  • The best strategists are iterative, ‘loop’ thinkers
  • Achieving market advantages doesn’t mean a company has to be extremely differentiated…it could stand out as the the most balanced (re: Honda)
  • Strategic differentiation is about making up-front, deliberate choices; differentiation doesn’t just happen
  • All 5 elements of strategy are necessary and involve deliberate choice, preparation, and investment
  • Strategy is nimble, ever-evolving, and deals with the current conditions as much as it does with future conditions

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