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Strategy

Strategy comes from French stratégie, the “art of a general” and the Greek strategia, the “office or command of a general”.

The general is the commander of an army, thus strategy is the art and science of military command.

Strategy is a set of specific choices made with the intent to win a battle.

Tactics are specific actions to achieve your strategic goals.

Alfred Chandler’s 1962 definitions of Strategy, Structure, and Tactics:

  • Strategy: The plan for the allocation of resources to anticipated demand.
  • Structure: The design for putting the enterprise’s existing resources against current demand.
  • Tactics: The efficient and steady use of current resources whose allocation had already been decided.

Fast learns, slow remembers.  Fast proposes, slow disposes.  Fast is discontinuous, slow is continuous.  Fast and small instructs slow and big by accrued innovation and by occasional revolution.  Slow and big controls small and fast by constraint and constancy.  Fast gets all our attention, slow has all the power. (Pace Layering: How Complex Systems Learn and Keep Learning)

Six significant levels of pace and size in the working structure of a robust and adaptable civilization.  From fast to slow the levels are:

  • Fashion/art
  • Commerce
  • Infrastructure
  • Governance
  • Culture
  • Nature 

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built:

  • Stuff
  • Space Plan
  • Services
  • Skin
  • Structure
  • Site

How Buildings Learn

Organizational pace layers:

  • Production and execution of plans (leverage 90 days)
  • People management and training (leverage 3-12 months)
  • Annual operating plans (leverage 1-2 years)
  • Functions and capabilities as a source of advantage (leverage 2-5 years)
  • Short and long term strategy for operating units (leverage 5-10 years)
  • Corporate strategic framework, including vision, mission, and values (leverage 10-20 years)

Presentation Elements

  • Diagnosis: what’s the current state? what needs to change? what do you want? What’s the real challenge here for you? Where are you now? Why? What is the compelling problem we want to solve?
  • Guiding principle: What better future do we seek to make? What will we do? frame the solution, shape it, compress it, give it a metaphor, make it count.
  • Coherent actions: Theory of change. What could you do? What’s the solution we envision to achieve that better future?
    • Coherent: What is standing in your way? What’s stopping you from achieving the better future?
  • Estimate impact: What’s the business case? Show me the money. expose your assumptions and model if we invest $X then we’ll get $Y in return.

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