When is the last time you heard the word “strategy” or “strategic?” They are common words and largely misunderstood. While strategy is certainly important, it’s means more than just “long-term” or “impactful.”
I teach an introduction to strategy to 400+ sharp, ambitious business students each year. We read, discuss, debate dozens of companies, industries and unpack these 175 key questions. I was asked to put together a 1 hour video on some of the basics of strategy in 2019 and this is what I came up with.
What Do these icons mean?
It’s hard to explain anything simply, and “strategy” is no different. To help anchor the discussion, I’d like to offer you these 6 icons which represent many of the core concepts of strategy:
- Virtuous cycle: a set of activities, not just one thing, that gives a sustainable competitive advantage
- Choice: it requires trade-offs; you cannot be all things to all people; strategy = what you decide NOT to do
- Diminishing returns from best practices; yes, you need to be efficient (like everyone else), but that’s not enough
- Economic moats (preferably wide, and deep) which keeps others away from your profits (treasure)
- Strategy without implementation = just an idea; it requires commitment, execution, flexibility, process
- Corporate strategy = where to compete (e.g., geographically, value chain)