Can an Organization Operate Without a Strategy?

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Strategy is the means by which objectives are pursued and obtained over time. It’s the unifying idea that links together the functional areas of an organization. Therefore an organization cannot operate without a strategy. The essence of strategy is in choosing a unique and valuable position rooted in systems of activities that are much more difficult to match by competitors and therefore translating into sustainable profitability for the organization.

Some organizations are successful while others fail. This success might be considered as luck or they might have had the right mix of products and/or services at the right time. But even if luck lead to success, it probably would not last. Most companies which are highly successful over the long term effectively acquire, develop and manage resources and capabilities that provide competitive advantage and sustainable profitability. To do this they require strategy.

Firms practicing strategic management tend to outperform their counterparts that do not. There's a fundamental distinction between an organization that has a strategy and one that does not. Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it's about deliberately choosing to be different. An organization without a strategy is willing to try anything. If all the organization is trying to do is essentially the same thing as its rivals, then it's unlikely that the organization will be very successful by delivering the same sort of product that its rivals do and actually do better for very long. This would be betting on the incompetence of the competitors, and that's what the organization would be doing when operating without a strategy. Only strategy can create sustainable advantage. It starts with a different value proposition. A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique. The essence of strategy is that limits must be set on what the organization is trying to accomplish.

An organization without strategy would try something,...
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