Strategy Definition

We are not trying to cover the multitude of approaches to strategy development here. This is not feasible. We show two concepts that provide specific additional benefits for an adaptive organization:

  1. Organizational archetypes and strategy development: 
  2. Strategic gameplay as part of Simon Warley’s mapping method.

    Simon Wardley is one of the critics who denies the usefulness of these methods. Unlike most of the others, he presents a alternative concept.

Your strategy needs a strategy

Strategies that would work in predictable environments like the oil industry have virtually no chance of working in the far less predictable and less entrenched arena of Internet software. And the skills that strategists need in the respective industries have hardly anything to do with one another. Organizations operating in one of these environments should plan, develop, and implement their strategies in significantly different ways. But research (BCG) shows that all too often they don’t.

Managers are well aware of the need to adapt their strategy development processes to their competitive environment. Yet, the study found, many rely in practice on approaches that are better suited to predictable, stable environments, even if their own environment is known to be very volatile or changeable.

What is preventing these leaders from designing their strategy to suit their situation? Perhaps they lack a systematic approach: a strategy for strategy development.

Here we introduce a simple framework from Martin Reeves that breaks strategic planning into four styles, depending on how predictable your environment is and how much power you have to transform it. With the help of this framework, business leaders can adapt their strategic style to the specific conditions of their industry, their business function or their geographic market.

strategy palette

Source: BCG

The strategy palette suggests five different strategic approaches:

  • Classic strategy: Achieving a competitive advantage through optimal positioning. Example: Shell
  • Adaptive strategy: Achieving an advantage through quick adaptation. Example: Zara.
  • Visionary strategy: inventing an industry with a certain degree of predictability, determined pursuit of an opportunity. Example: Tesla
  • Shaping strategy: Shaping companies shape or redesign an industry by influencing the development of a market by coordinating with other players in their favor.
  • Renewal strategy: A renewal strategy approach renews the vitality and competitiveness of a company when it operates in a crisis or a harsh environment.

Strategic gameplay with Wardley Maps

We introduced Wardley Maps as an indispensable tool for situational analysis.

But that doesn’t stop there: the second step, if not the core, of Wardley Mapping is the development of a concrete strategy, the “strategic gameplay”. or “stratagems”.

Most of these actions are typical business activities, but some involve deception, deception, or even things that could be viewed as an abuse of power. Wardley has one Games value system used to classify the individual actions.

Evernote example gameplay
Evernote sample gameplay.