Strategy is action supported by argument. This is shaped by the kernel of strategy.
Richard Rumelt writes that the kernel of strategy has three parts: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action. Strategy may include other aspects, like a vision, goals, scope, or timespan, but these are ancillary to the core components of a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action.
- Strategic diagnosis is a clear, honest description of the challenge at hand
- Guiding policy is a general approach to overcoming a challenge
- Strategy defines coherent action -- a set of coordinated moves that enact a guiding principle
Using these key components, strategy selects a path, identifying where, why, and how resources are applied—the application of weakness against strength or to the best opportunity.
An example can be drawn from the medical world.
A doctor evaluating a patient may come to a diagnosis that the patient is at risk of high blood pressure. The doctor may then set a guiding policy advising that the patient manage the condition through dietary changes and exercise. The coherent action may then include reducing salt intake to 2500mg/day and walking for 30 minutes every day.