Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Kind of Strategy

Today, I threw away all the business school frameworks I learned about strategy. In the trashbin includes Porter's 5 Forces, the VRIO framework, the 3 lenses and most endearingly, that Strategy is Love. I'm done with Strategy.

Let me suggest the school of common sense, instead.

Step 1: What do your customers fundamentally ask for.
Step 2: Try to do things which they ask for.
Step 3: Plan ahead for what they might ask for.

It's really all that it takes.

2 comments:

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

I hate strategy frameworks. But then, think about it - most of them are already innate. When you're saying you're reducing it to those 3 points - well, I'm sure you're already thinking "what can I do with my partners to achieve these goals?" and "what will the competition do?"

The 5 forces were always laughable to me. Like inventing North, South, East and West. Sure. there they are. now what?

Capt. BS said...

Awesome. All this time worrying that I somehow needed an MBA to understand all of the strate-gery that professional-management types are always bandying about, and thinking I was crazy that the very notion of "strategy" seems to have become hyper-commoditized through a neverending stream of books, lectures, models, frameworks, and so forth... It's refreshing to feel vindicated by smart people with the aforementioned qualifications.

I've found that the models and frameworks are useful for their simple grains of truth, and nothing more. They typically boil down to a few points similar to the ones you've summarized here, and are along the lines of:

1. Give your customers what they're asking for, and continually make incrememental improvements (bigger/faster/cheaper/more efficient) to those offerings.

2. Anticipate/offer your customers what they're *not* asking for to lead them toward new products/markets.

3. Always assume that someone else will (eventually) succeed in emulating your current products/services and in displacing you in the market. (In other words, "DOOM" is spelled C-O-M-P-L-A-C-E-N-C-Y.)