Hey Michael and Mark,

Another good way to look at a strategy and to tell whether what you're putting to paper is a real strategy is to reverse it and if it still makes sense, then it's a strategy.

For example: if you're thinking of a strategy and you come up with: "We are going to sell more" reverse it. "We're not going to sell more."

That doesn't make sense. Why would anyone not want to sell more?

Now, if you said we want to only sell our products only in high-end grocery stores that's a strategy because if you reverse it "We want to sell in mass-market, average priced stores" it still makes sense.

dmbaldwin's picture

Here's the way we address strategy in our organization. A strategy isn't selling more widgets than last year, it's selling more widgets by ...
It's the "by" where the strategy is. Everyone wants to sell more widgets, but when it comes to strategy it's in the "by". And you know what? When you look at it from that perspective it can be really hard to craft strategy, or it jumps out at you and you're ready to go.

I deal in the business of seeing people's lives change, so for us strategy is really amorphous. We have a hard time working and verbalizing this, but we are making progress.

Those are my observations anyway.



Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Strategy is a messed up body of knowledge. I like Jack Welch's approach, and yet the vast majority of companies never execute whatever strategy they espouse.

I agree with Dave on the fine point of "by..."


hugof's picture

Hi Mark,

I haven't read any of Jack Welch's books, but what does he say about strategy?


Jeff777's picture

Dave and everyone else,

The past few years I have had the privilege of helping some business owners come to grips with matching their Competitive Advantage with their Business Strategy and Dave’s comments about using the word ‘[b]by[/b]’ is in my opinion the key.

For example a Motor Mechanic may say “we are going to attract more office based customers for our service centre BY offering a FREE pick up and drop off service”

A Household Furniture Removalist might want to link their Competitive Advantage to “we are going to attract more female decision makers in the home removal and relocation market place BY offering 3 days of restaurant meals for the whole family immediately after they move with us”.

Or a Dentist may list her CA as “we will gain a bigger slice of the emergency denture repair market BY saying “we will repair all denture breakages within 40 minutes of the repair is FREE”.

One additional thin g to consider is that a business needs (in my view) to have several Competitive Advantages for each of their product or service offerings.

For example, a motor mechanic may have several products or services e.g.

• 24 hour breakdown attendance
• Vehicle servicing
• Mechanical repair
• Air conditioning servicing
• Coolant repair and maintenance service
• Cleaning and detailing of vehicles
• Wheel alignment

For each of these products or service offerings they will capture more of their target market share if they link their service offering to a Competitive Advantage.

My last words on Strategy in any business sense is that it must be Sustainable – the goal posts always move and a business owner needs to ensure that their Competitive Advantage is SUSTAINABLE.

Jeff (The Business Doctor) Miles