What Is “Strategy?”

I thought I knew what a strategy is and you probably think you know, too.nbsp; Well, I was wrong (and so are you).  The authors of Tribal Leadership managed to surprise me with their definition of "strategy."

It so happens that I finished reading Tribal Leadership the day before I received David Taber’s latest newsletter.  The juxtaposition is interesting because in his newsletter David talks about “strategy” and one of the last chapters of the book is also about strategy–tribal strategy, to be exact.

According to David, in the book The Gorilla Game, “Geoffrey Moore makes an argument about the importance of strategy over execution.”  In that respect, David and Geoffrey agree with the authors of Tribal Leadership.

Throughout the rest of his post, David assumes the traditional definition of “strategy,” based on understanding the external environment.  As I have in the past, when it comes to strategy, most people do not take into consideration “the highest aspirations of the tribe.”

As Chip Conley points out in his book, Peak, great companies get to be great by paying attention to the highest aspirations of all their stakeholders: customers, investors and employees.

Tribal Leadership defines strategy as having five components,

  1. Core Values–What we stand for
  2. Noble Cause–What we live for
  3. Outcomes–What we want
  4. Assets–What we have
  5. Behaviors–What we will do

Start by identifying your tribe’s  Core Values and Noble Cause, then move on to define the Outcomes the tribe wants, identify the Assets it’ll need to create the Outcomes and describe the Behaviors it will have to do to accomplish the Outcomes.  Done!

Well, almost.

Combining the lessons of Tribal Leadership with those of Peak, we should also apply this model to customers and investors, not just employees.  The concept of the tribe could easily be made to include all three constituencies, but the authors of Tribal Leadership don’t take it that far; their studies are based on tribes of employees.

What do you think?  Is this really a practical thing to do in your organization?

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