Strategy, Context and Meaning

Today’s post is one of those bricolage kind of things.  This morning I was doing some stuff on LinkedIn, when I saw a brief post from Andrew Schiestel “Strategy is not a commodity and never will be”.  For some reason, this statement wired in my mind with Jaron Lanier’s belief that context creates meaning.

I’ve been trying for the past couple of years to understand why organizations need strategy.  Of course we need strategy to create a coherent direction.  However, folks like Henry Mintzberg have shown that we can have an emergent strategy and be quite successful.  So why do we need a strategy?

Strategy organizes the internal and external context of an organization, using concepts like SWOTs and Porter’s Five Forces, to help us make sense or meaning of the environment we operate in.  Strategy helps us make meaning of our context, and therefore helps us create a path forward.  It provides others in the organization with a mental model to understand the organization, its’ environment and the path that it has chosen.

That is why strategy can’t be a commodity, because it is unique for each and every organization, as the unique people in each organization are those who create meaning.  Different perspectives may create different meaning from the same basic set of circumstances.

Strategy is important because it creates a coherent direction, but also because it helps us understand our context to create meaning and purpose. What is your strategy?


2 replies »

  1. Spot on! If you don’t have a strategy (a plan) you have no direction. If you have no direction, you are not leading. If you are not leading, you might want to start asking yourself who is.

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