Situational Analysis to Perspective

To assist you in developing a more robust strategy, let us begin with a quick introduction of two distinct types of strategies - intended and emergent. Sometimes they occur simultaneously, such as when one decides to enter an emerging market. A prudent organization will, however, recognize the environment in which one is operating and consider both, scaling the strategies accordingly.

  • Deliberate strategies are seen in the more traditional format. They are carefully articulated with clear goals and measurements, and widely communicated throughout the organization before being implemented.
  • Emergent strategies are flexible and responsive. We increasingly see these strategies used when the operating environment is unstable (consider the high tech industry, particularly in its early years), too complex, or too imposing to defy. This strategy often used to respond to an evolving reality, requiring that management make decisions before full information is known. In its most extreme form, it requires a fully dynamic, engaged and adaptive environment (consider Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.).

In this process, strategy:

  • Addresses major initiatives, considering both deliberate and emergent initiative (to be adaptive).
  • Involves management, and
  • Uses resources to enhance firm performance in competitive environments, on behalf of the organization’s owners.
  • Drives and determines the organizational structure, as it adapts to the environmental changes in which it operates.
  • Considers the environment (political, economic, social, technical, environmental and legal) in which it operates.
  • Positions itself inimitably, with a distinct competitive advantage.
  • Has identified its dynamic capabilities, which will strengthen its competitive position.
  • Articulates clearly how it will compete, i.e., product/service leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy, and how it will measure its success.

“The ability to make fast, widely supported and high-quality strategic decisions on a frequent basis is the cornerstone of effective strategy.”

– Kathleen Eisenhardt