A Simple Definition of Business Strategy

August 12, 2011

Strategy Concepts

What is a Business Strategy?

Nearly every written work I can find that has this title of “What is Strategy?” will have in the first or second sentence, “Well, there are many different definitions of strategy . . . “.  And, you know what, the cliche’ is true.  There are many definitions.  I like simple (you may sense a theme very soon).  And so what I have landed upon as a definition of strategy is the following, and this is what I teach and coach (I did not coin this phrase, I just like it).

Strategy is an integrated set of actions to . . .

Why do I like this definition?  Well, it’s simple with two easy mental triggers –  integrated and actions.  Integrated reminds me that what we want from a business strategy is to have alignment, to have coordination, to have all the resources of the organization (even if it’s just the owner and our kids) focused and working together.  Essentially, that all the priorities are the same and the direction is the same.  All together on the same bus.

But, the second key word, Actions, really tells the tale of strategy.  Ultimately, what we want from strategy is clarity on the actions we need to take.  We build a strategy so we can get to action; to get moving!  We don’t want a strategy just for the sake of saying we have one.  We want one to give us direction and a basis for our actions.

It is intentional that I leave the end of the definition open.  This is because I think there is some customization required for each of us.  What I mean by that is, if I were to write the following (note, paraphrased from another example I found) “Strategy is an integrated set of actions to gain a competitive advantage by exploiting core competencies in specific product markets “.  huh?  Maybe that’s too vague for some of us or too ‘corporate’ (even for me); maybe someone here just wants to think, “Strategy is an integrated set of actions to maximize my business”.  That is probably aligned to “maximize corporate value” or something, but more specific.  Just considering StrategyDIY, I think “My Business Strategy is an integrated set of actions to build a successful online business”.  I can work with that.  At the end, it may not matter how the definition finishes; for me, the critical pieces are the triggers – Integrated and Actions.

How would you customize this definition for your business?

Let me know in comments below.


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