A Definition of Strategy
The strategy is a master game plan designed for achieving the objectives of an organization. It is a mix of competitive and collaborative actions made by the top level management for the accomplishment of goals. Execution is dynamic and flexible in nature. Strategies require deep analysis on any move or action, implementation timing, the sequence of actions, outcome, reactions of competitors, customers, and a continuous improvement model of re-evaluation.
Here is an example of operations re-active strategy from the 1970’s with Southwest Airlines. “They were not yet a year old. They were consistently losing money. They were constantly scrambling to see what they could do to save cost or boost revenues,” says Terry Maxon, the aviation reporter at The Dallas Morning News.
Desperate to keep up, Southwest’s vice president of ground operations, Bill Franklin, was tasked with finding a solution. The answer he came up with was simple: Unload and load passengers faster than the other airlines, and get the planes right back in the air.
Maxon explains the logic: “If we can turn these planes [around], say, in 10 minutes, we could pretty much keep our schedule. And the legend is that Mr. Franklin said, ‘We can, and we will.’ “
That was a competitive strategy born out of the impending demise of a company but, on a realistic analysis of what it would take to turn a profit. It worked.
Today, the task of getting in and out of the gate in 10 minutes is impossible — but back then, says reporter Terry Maxon, the 10-Minute Turn saved the airline.
“It became kind of cookie-cutter going into new markets: high frequency, quick turns,” Maxon says. “It is interesting that all these years later, they retain what they had from the beginning: Y’all get on as fast as you can, and we’ll get up and leave.”
In the business world, corporate strategies are made for expansion and growth of the entities which include merger, diversification, divestment, acquisition and many other. Strategies are made according to the present situations and conditions prevalent in the business environment, but it can’t be said that they are perfect because of the changing needs and demands of the people, strategies may fail.
A more recent example of a pro-active sales strategy is with Zappos. The power behind the Zappos brand and majority of their success is attributed to the power of fantastic customer service, which is often overlooked as a sales strategy.
Zappos’s CEO Tony Hsieh’s approach to customer service is unconventional, to say the least, but it’s working.
- Create a Culture of People Who Believe in Your Company’s Values
- Give Your Agents the Power to Impress
- Understand the Worth of Your Customers
Hsieh explains, “I think the main thing is just trust [the customer service reps] and let them make their own decisions.”
Companies, like Zappos, that are known for their customer service, are setting a standard for service that consumers expect from every company with which they do business.
Globally to locally, the market may take an unexpected turn anytime. Therefore, the strategy of the organization requires a combination of pro-active and reactive strategies.
A strategy is similar to a mission statement in that it is a blueprint of what you want to be and where you want to be. Strategies are made by the top-level leaders as they know the mission and vision of the organization clearly, so they will make strategies to take a step forward towards their mission and vision.
Joyce White Nelson’s global network of People-First professionals has guided hundreds of top entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations in building strategic outcomes. At JoyceVentures, our goal is to serve through a collaborative, process-oriented approach that will exceed your expectations. We do this through systems analysis, assessment, observation, and open dialogue to provide essential qualitative and quantitative data for decision-making and strategic results. Contact us to Discover if we align with your purpose and intended outcomes.
We love to have your input. What have you found effective or ‘not so’ effective in the development and execution of your strategy? If you could have done one thing differently, what would that be?
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