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What is the purpose of strategy?

In general, strategy explains the ways an enterprise will apply its means to achieve its ends. These ends may be a market position, the betterment of the world for the enterprise’s beneficiaries, or a military outcome.

In general, enterprise strategy should answer the question,

What must the enterprise do to continue to thrive in fulfilling its purpose?

This question may be asked of any enterprise, be it commercial, public, or not-for-profit:

  • This assumes the enterprise has some purpose - it is remarkable how many have drifted from their founder’s vision, mission and values.

  • Its primary concern is that the enterprise thrive which, ultimately, will be measured in economic terms.

  • It focuses on action - that is, the strategy must intertwine thinking and doing, which means it must explain the ways it will apply its means in pursuit of its ends.

In addressing this question, the strategist may ask four subordinate questions:

  1. What brought the enterprise to where it is?

  2. Where should the enterprise go?

  3. How should the enterprise travel?

  4. Why?

See Strategy Academy for how to craft a compelling strategy from the answers.

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