Napoléon Bonaparte wasn’t the first to apply strategic thought on the battlefield, but he was very close to mastering it during his numerous campaigns. While he was famous for dividing armies to make easier to conquer, his most effective strategies centered on building powerful alliances to suffocate his adversaries (Roberts, 2015). The first point to understanding strategy is to understand what a strategy is and how it is different from tactics. Tactics are knowing what the next move is when it’s obvious, a strategy is knowing what to do when the path is not obvious. Another great maxim on strategies is to ask oneself if everyone is going in the same direction, that wouldn’t be a strategy then, it would be common knowledge.
Webster’s defines strategy as a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, 2016). The business version is the plan that dictates where the company will be in the future and a signal of where to shift resources. A strategy is truly a multi-level process of how an entity can determine where they are in comparison to their competitors, where they can take a competitive advantage, and how they can win in the future (Gaddis, 2018). Above all, a strategy is the creation of something novel and unique.
No matter how a person defines strategy, its importance is unmistakable as it is the heartbeat of the organization. The lifetime of companies continues to shrink as new ideas that turn into successful products hit the market only to be followed by new and cheaper competitors. Where a product in the past would be able to carry a company for decades, companies are now lucky to get a few years of consistent revenue growth before they are squeezed out of the market. This puts the creative tension on a company to continue to innovate and reinvent their strategy instead of stagnating by remaining consistent and dying off.
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