Strategy Is More Design than Decision-Making

Strategy is often framed as a choice or a system of choices; however, rarely will anyone be presented with a clear set of alternatives that they must decide between.

It's more accurate to treat strategy as design. A strategy is not selected so much as it is constructed or orchestrated. It coordinates between different parties and activities to maximize the advantage available to the organization.

It can be difficult to perceive a design-type strategy in the actions of large, established incumbents, who typically operate under fewer constraints and get away with less coordination. Instead, look at disruptors or invaders whose actions must be more tightly integrated due to their size and market position. Of course there are significant differences between these kinds of organizations; large firms must maintain their current business model while looking for new ones--see Why enterprises can't innovate like startups.


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Citations

Rumelt, Richard. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Illustrated edition. New York: Currency, 2011.


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