When we were first introduced to the strategy, the Trojn Horse popped in my mind. I still remember the story from history lesson about guarded by its soldiers and impossible to enter Troy city and Greeks who developed a strategy to conquer the city and end the war. Greeks built a huge horse and left it in front of the gates of the city. Hidden inside soldiers creeped out of the horse during the night and open the gates for the armed forces. Strategy clearly has its origin in history, but today we use it for different purposes. When we were asked during the class what a strategy is my first thought was ‘a plan’!
Is strategy and plan the same?
According to business dictionary a plan is ‘written account of intended future course of action, aimed at achieving specific goal(s) or objective(s) within a specific time-frame. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how and by whom and often includes best case, expected case and worst case scenario’.
How to define strategy?
There are two definitions according to Clegg, S., Schweitzer, J., Whittle, A., & Pitelis, C. (2017)
Strategy= Knowledge + Capability.
STRATEGY = “developing and leveraging resources and capabilities, so that we can face unpredictable futures”
Reading the second definition the ‘unpredictable futures’ caught my attention. Every sector of creative industries faces the problem of unknown, however working in the performing arts sector links directly to many uncertainties. I asked myself a question. What would be the best strategy for a dancer?
I found an interesting concept, while reading ‘Strategy: Theory and Practice’ by Clegg et al. Authors present two strategies deliberate and the emergent strategy firstly introduced by Mintzberg and McHugh (1985). Deliberate strategy focuses on following an initial plan, approached after scanning the environment. Having a plan is important, but what if it doesn’t go according to our predictions? Emergent strategy arises during the interaction with the environment and doesn’t follow strict rules. Mintzberg and McHugh (1985),distinguish eight different strategies from planned being the most strict to imposed being the most open. In the middle of the spectrum an ‘umbrella strategy’ combines the two, ‘setting the broad goals and […] allowing experimentation to realise those goals’ Clegg et all (2017). In this context strategic planning is seen more as a problem than the solution. It enhances the importance of ‘open mined mindset’ and ability to change.
Applying this concept to my own example and analysing my journey so far my intended strategy/ plan (of being a performer) was totally different from the emergent strategy (studying business management). I also realised that a plan and a strategy are two completely different things. Plan answers questions like ‘what needs to be done, when, how and by whom’(Business Dictionairy). Usually we have plan A, but if it doesn’t work we switch for plan B. Strategy, however is more flexible and allows to follow the same direction with a different approach, stay open minded without restricting to only one solution.
***As a part of strategy learning, we were introduced to the BSG – business strategy game. I was in the group with Aman and Mustafa, two lovely and crazy people. Together we owed and managed the footwear company and deepen our knowledge in strategy. Here is a picture taken after our presentation. I’m going to elaborate on our journey more in the reflective blog.
Clegg, S., Schweitzer, J., Whittle, A. and Pitelis, C. (2017) Strategy: Theory and Practice. 2nd edn. London: Sage Publications Ltd
Business Dictionary(2018). Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/plan.html [accessed 16/12/2018]