Robust Strategy

How Compelling, Actionable and Attractive is your company strategy?

Strategy is a set of integrated choices that a company makes to position itself in its respective industry, thereby creating a sustainable competitive advantage. These choices are backed by a set of activities or competencies that a company builds and takes to the market, which are unique and cannot be easily replicated by competitors.

While these are the basic principles of an acceptable strategy, the point that is given least attention by executives is ‘how to integrate this strategy with all the company’s stakeholders and make it more compelling and exciting for them’.

A robust strategy not only focuses on external business market, but also simultaneously builds an internal culture by both communicating the strategy effectively across the company and making it more exciting and compelling for its stakeholders to follow and execute.

In summary a robust strategy is,

  • Distinctive and unique, that cannot be easily replicated by competitors
  • Compelling and exciting for stakeholders to follow and execute
  • Achievable with clear targets and milestones
  • Sustainable to preserve competitive advantage

 

Robust Strategy Example: Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s strategy was to create a low-cost carrier service @Jerry Rice Youth Jersey that provided a unique experience to customers and which could not be easily imitated by competitors.This strategy was achievable on paper.With an integrated set of activities, such as:

Southwest was able to make its strategy distinctiveSouthwest’s strategy became sustainable as it was hard to @Ezekiel Elliott Womens Jersey imitate for other airline companies who have built competing business models and infrastructure over the years.

 Note: This is part of REALIZETM Framework. For more information please see MCI Level 3 training

Posted by: karla.gomes

36 comments

  1. Robust strategy :-

    Strategy is the set of the choices which are integrated to positioned the company in industry so has to create the competitive advantage and create the value than the competitors. The Ultimate goal of any strategy is to earn Profit which can be generated in companies balance sheet either by increasing price by being differentiator and unique Access or reducing cost by being scalable. To achieve this, there as to be Robust strategy is where there is a clear communication is clear between the individual and functional department, clarity of the role during the execution level with the accountability, sufficient financial resources, check points at various stages to keep the momentum on, and remove the organizational silos.

    The power of the Robust Strategy leads to the Leadership commitment, Alignment of the Actions to the strategy and Increase the capabilities and competencies to beat the competitors and win over the clients in order to make profit.

    Current Robust Strategy is not weak as no company can work effectively on all the 3 dimensions by being Scalable, Differentiators and Unique Access. Company can be Scalable wherein balance two Differentiators and Unique Access can be its side effects. Not doubt company like Facebook, Google or Big Giant Bank like Citibank etc. manage to do all 3 but not generally its not possible for every company to achieve all 3.

    In addition to this, the opportunities what I see is the Back up plan which I don’t see in this as what if company fails in high pricing or low cost strategy ? How the company is going to protect its face-value ? How CEO is going to face Stake holders? What will happen to future growth and profits? For E.g., For analysis of the any company if we don’t have the financial data we can also use the Porter 5 forces while strategy formulation. Current Robust Strategy is very subjective so in the same way if High Pricing or Low Cost strategy does not work then we should focus work on Objective and has to get real !

  2. Erik Suek

    Strengths:
    Simplicity. This tool helps to show people that a proper strategy is no some very far-fetched vision that only the top business minds can develop. This tool allows startups as well as seasoned business professionals take a look at their strategy and with relative ease ascertain is their strategy is a winner or a loser and what areas it could improve on. My favorite part of this tool is that it breaks down a complex idea into parts that are easy to comprehend and this was everyone in the company can understand the direction to move.

    Weaknesses:
    This tool works great to get a quick overview, but lacks in depth. It allows you to assess how the top management strategy is focused. It does not tell you how the strategy is interconnected with the culture. If it is a bad strategy mixed in with a bad company culture even by changing the strategy the company will still not improve.

    Improvements:
    It could go more in depth. IT gives a great answer to management and employees on what the strategy is and where it is focused, but lacks more depth. It could be a more compelling tool is it answered more questions on where the company could move. If the tool was able to help companies align their strategy with their culture and give more ideas on aligning the two it would be a more effective tool.

  3. 1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tools mentioned?

    Porter’s 5 Forces is a framework which provides a clear, structured, 30,000 feet view of an industry and the opportunities and challenges present in the external environment. It is an excellent starting place for analyzing the world around you and identifying any current areas of difficulty or threat. No strategic analysis should begin without a consideration of Porter’s 5 Forces.

    However, it is simply a snapshot in time. It does not address how the landscape is changing. It does not look internally at the competencies and capabilities of the firm, the availability of resources or any competitive advantages the firm (or its competitors) might enjoy.

    2. What are the opportunity areas for improvement to the tools mentioned?

    To improve the usability of the framework, adding a time dimension is crucial. It is vital to understand whether the current status quo is likely to remain or whether there is some factor that will change the landscape. For instance, analyzing the taxi industry in San Francisco both before and after Uber launched – it would look very different. Analysis of trends and new technologies for instance should be incorporated to use the tool to great effect.

  4. R.
    Strength and Weakness

    The biggest strength point is that you are dealing with humans. Humans have natural reactions against change. Therefore, simplicity is the key when your are trying to explain and build strategy. If you are able to break strategy into 3 main parts you’ll be able to communicate it, get alignment and foremost execute it correctly.

    I’d like to go back to the dictionary meaning of robust that I found on the net.
    The first one has to do with construction and the durability of the subject in matter. Therefore I’d suggest building a straightforward list of easy distractions that USUALLY make top management to forget about the strategy itself. Take the soybean oil producer example, when they cyclically tried to get into the precious mineral business. Hence got out of the way of traditional operations and brought noise in the strategy and company as a whole. Since one BU was pushing to compete on cost and the other on differentiation.
    This way you’d create an explicit mote for your strategy. And remind future top management to not be seduced by opportunities that the firm already had bad experiences with.

  5. R – Robust Concept

    1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tools mentioned?
    The strength is realizing that you get the best results from focusing on one area, whether it is scale, differentiation or unique access. By clarifying your strategy, you can pursue it more accurately and inspire the employees to follow it over the long term.
    A weakness is that not all employees will want to participate in the particular strategy, and this may require properly aligning incentives, or not having the employees that do not fit (Zappo’s pay employees to leave if they do not truly want to work at Zappo’s).

    2. What are the opportunity areas for improvement to the tools mentioned?

    There needs to be more specific information about how to implement a compelling strategy. Also, certain strategies are difficult or impossible for others to imitate. Bill Gates cannot create the cult of personality, the excitement, and the showmanship of Steve Jobs. Attempting to do so would be at best a waste of time. Often the choice of strategy has been determined by the company and the market.
    Also, pursuing a scale/low cost strategy has many complex elements. Amazon now uses robots in its warehouses. Walmart is redesigning trucks to be more aerodynamic. This strategy requires a deep understanding and a high level of sophistication in order to succeed.

  6. 1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tools mentioned?

    The strength of the tool rests in its simplicity, reducing strategy to two fundamental options – is the business generating revenue by charging more or charging less? The branches of low cost vs. differentiation are then logical to follow. The simplicity of the message enables it to be easily understood and communicated, and it is possible to point to several, notable companies that clearly pursue one strategy over the other.

    The simplicity also results in a key weakness; the framework doesn’t capture the complexity of strategy. For example, where a corporate strategy has developed as a reaction to competitors rather than a conscious decision to pursue a particular direction. Or, the company has developed on the basis of a strategy resulting from the pursuit of a new market or a blue ocean that is no longer appropriate for sustained growth. It might be that the strategy of the past is not relevant, or worse misleading, to inform the strategy of the future. There could also be additional layers of complexity within a corporation offering products to meet different needs, possibly under different brands, and therefore have differing cost vs. differentiation priorities.

    Additionally, there are successful companies where the lines are blurred, and they compete on both fronts. For example, supermarket retailers in the UK, Sainsbury’s, successfully compete with Tesco (cost leadership) and Waitrose (quality differentiator). As consultants, it is important to understand these grey areas and appreciate the competitive landscape, rather than try to tell the client that the situation is black and white – this will never work.

    2. What are the opportunity areas for improvement to the tools mentioned?

    1. The framework could reinforce that strategy development is a continuous effort rather than a static process. In Consulting, it is often viewed as a static shift because consultants are engaged on a project basis, with a defined start and end date. For the firm, strategy, and reflection on the appropriateness of the current strategy, needs to be something considered on a continuous basis and consultants should equip the firm with the skills and frameworks to be able to carry this on after they leave. Per Hwanho’s comment, there is a need for strategy to be flexible and responsive to external forces.

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