“Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.”
– Michael Porter, “What is Strategy?”
When leaders respect the principle of “fit” through the value chain, they create a whole system of competing that reinforces the competitive advantage identified in the strategy, which makes it more sustainable and harder to imitate. The linkage between strategy, the organization, and the culture of the organization is what truly creates advantage and distinction. This is what becomes the “secret sauce.”
How Does your Strategy Rate?
Does your strategy:
- Focus resources on creating advantage versus just making the operations more efficient (necessary but not sufficient)?
- Define a unique value proposition or set of benefits to stakeholders?
- Establish a way of competing that creates sustainable, competitive advantage and distinctiveness in the marketplace?
- Focus employees on performing different activities than rivals or performing similar activities in different ways?
- Force trade-offs about what the business will and will not do (leaders must deliberately reduce alternatives and forgo some features, services, or activities to ensure uniqueness in others)?
- Define the “fit” for the whole system of competing (mutually reinforcing processes, structure, and systems reduce competitive imitation; difficult to duplicate a whole system of competing)?
- Provide a framework for decision making, focused action, and disciplined execution throughout the organization?
- Define what the organization will NOT do and what it will say “NO” to as well as what it says “YES” to?
If your strategy is missing any of these elements, more clarification is needed to ensure focus.
- Organizational performance assessment
- Mission, vision, and values creation
- Competitive strategy and strategic plans created
- Strategic objectives and measures clarified
- Conduct strategic planning offsite
- Build organization transformation plans
- Strategy cascade throughout the organization
- Translation of strategy into organizational process and systems