Have you ever asked someone to define a common business term such as marketing. The answers are almost always long winded rambling responses. Good thinkers, however, provide simple and elegant definitions.
HBS Professor Cynthia A. Montgomery provides a simple and elegant definition of strategy in a short article in HBS Working Knowledge. She poses four questions that every strategy must answer:
- What does my organization bring to the world?
- Does that difference matter?
- Is something about it scarce and difficult to imitate?
- Are we doing today what we need to do in order to matter tomorrow?
Professor Montgomery also makes an important point about formulating strategy. The rigorous analytical approaches to strategy pioneered by Michael Porter and other HBS faculty have placed too much emphasis on the process and perhaps inadequate emphasis on answering the four fundamental questions.
Note: Marketing--customer acquisition and customer retention--from another HBS faculty whose name I cannot remember.