How often have you heard people say, "Our strategy is to become the biggest and the best?" This is not strategy. Strategy is not the "what." Strategy is the "how"—how will you become the biggest and the best?

Within the realm of the definition, there are good strategies and bad ones.

Good business marketing strategies help to define a company or a brand's point of difference. But that seldom happens without sacrifice, without giving up something to strengthen the chosen niche.

You can't be all things to all people—or can you?

Shareholder and customer demands have never been greater. Leaders and managers are expected to do more, to do it better, faster, and at lower costs. Strategic focus is taking a backseat because people find strategy constraining. They won't admit it, but they secretly want to be all things to all people. Hence, their quest to seek every opportunity to boost sales and profit.

Most of these opportunities fall outside of the core competency of the company and/or the positioning of the brand. The fallout? An organization taken in several non-strategic directions.

Business Models (and Core Competencies) Change

By strategy's very nature, it is constraining. That said, business models need not be static. At one time every brick and mortar merchant keen to enter e-retailing had to figure out digital commerce. Many, like Wal-Mart and Target, sourced the competency from third parties. Although late to the dance, Wal-Mart and Target are now making huge strides as their own know-how develops.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of John Bell

John R. Bell is the author of Do Less Better: The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World.

LinkedIn: John Bell  

Twitter: @johnrichardbell