Strategy is about gaining a unique position.
Often strategy is mistakenly focused on the next steps that are needed such as “open new markets”, “expand into China” or “build a strong brand”. These are objectives and are only part of the strategy rather than the strategy itself.
A simple test for your strategy is, does my strategy describe how I/we become unique or maintain our unique position?
Examples of great descriptions of strategies for businesses are, ‘the only Hong Kong wine merchants of Chilean wine*’ or ‘the largest art auctioneers in the Czech Republic’.
Examples of great descriptions of personal strategy are, ‘the most prolific adventure sports writer’ or ‘the first African in space’.
The way to check your strategy is to ask if you are the only one in the world who has your strategy. If not, then what’s the point? You’re swimming with the sharks and climbing into water where there is probably already a feeding frenzy. You may as well go and work for the other guy who has your strategy already.
Marty Neumeier best describes having a unique strategy in his book Zag (when everyone else is zigging you need to zag). W.Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne take a more academic approach in Blue Ocean Strategy. You’ll find a short video summary of the book on the Incredible Strategies page.
* When your strategy gets copied this position will move to ‘The first Hong Kong wine merchants…’
Photo: Source Mike Berceanu Photographs Sharks