GEC Business Review
2011 © GE Consult Group
Should Corporate Strategy Be Redefined?GEC Business Review
By Kelvin WongMarch 31, 2011
The corporate strategy – is supposed to be the meaning by whichan organization achieves and sustains success. However, it rarelyrises to that level, despite an abundance of corporate strategytheories and significant researches done over the past few decades.What explains the relative failure of most organizations to createeffective strategy? Part of the problem is that corporations andtheir managers face difficulties clearly and consistently in definingwhat corporate strategy is; probably much of that struggle can betraced to their interpretation of the word “strategy” by itself.The original meaning of the word strategy derives from the Geekstrategia, which is used in the military terms and represents theability to employ available resources to win a war.This interpretation has generated problems when such concept is used in today’s business context as itimplies the existence, even the necessity, of opponents. As a result, most managers would believe that acorporate strategy implies a strong focus on competition knowingly competition occurs almost at the alllevels, most organizations concentrate their strategic efforts on constantly improving the goods andservices.In war, for instance, objectives can often be clearly defined, and so strategy is thought of as a means to aspecific end. This view has persisted in the corporate world where strategies are conceived as plans toaccomplish certain goals. Although corporate strategy can be very goal-oriented, especially in the earlystages of an organization’s development, the very nature of goals implies temporary success. In contrast,sustainable success is not, and cannot be an end unto itself or a goal to achieve. Therefore, goalorientation becomes arguably inappropriate when success has to be indefinitely sustained.Despite this, an overwhelming number of top executives and researchers make extensive use of objectives in their quest of lasting corporate success. Certainly, a number of factors contribute to this:the need of leaders with limited tenure to point to achievements, the tyranny of meeting theexpectations of the financial markets and most management teams extensively rely on forecasting andplanning.Still, the idea held by most managers that strategy itself is all about goal achievement only exacerbatesthe situation. Therefore, it is important for strategists to remember that the more specific an objective,the further away it may potentially lead the organization from its optimal big picture.