HBS Professor: Time to Rebrand & Reimagine Strategy

When it comes to strategy, the force should be with you, says a Harvard b-school professor:

“Talk about strategy as the animating force of a company, the energy that directs everything that a company does.”

The Strategist - Cynthia MontgomerySo says Cynthia A. Montgomery (video interview below), the Timken Professor of Business Administration and author of The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs.

Montgomery has formed new thoughts about strategy based on years of teaching and coaching global business executives.  She writes:

“I came to see that we cannot afford to think of strategy as something fixed, a problem that is solved and settled.  Strategy – the system of value creation that underlies a company’s competitive position and uniqueness – has to be embraced as something open, not something closed.  It is a system that evolves, moves, and changes.”

The professor advises executives to consider four basic questions when it comes to strategy:

  1. What does my organization bring to the world?
  2. Does that difference matter?
  3. Is something about it scarce and difficult to imitate?
  4. Are we doing today what we need to do in order to matter tomorrow?

Watch Montgomery discuss why strategy needs to be reimagined.

Here is one of her tools you and your team can put to use. 

“To visualize and record how a system of value creation backs up a firm’s purpose, I use a time-honored approach that has come to be known as a “strategy wheel.””

Diagram from The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs. Cynthia A. Montgomery.

Diagram from The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs. Cynthia A. Montgomery.

Montgomery explains:

“The strategy wheel provides a picture of how you will win.  The purpose in the center says why you exist – what you do differently or better than others – and the unique configuration of activities and resources around the rim shows what will enable you to deliver on that promise.”

Headline

Leaders must step up to the role of strategist.  That’s a central message from HBS professor and author Cynthia Montgomery.  And strategy should be embraced “as something open, not something closed.  It is a system that evolves, moves, and changes.”

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success. Contact him at hchimoff at gmail dot com.

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