The term “strategy”, coined from Ancient Greek to describe the planning of military operations for the purpose of victory, has been exhausted over recent years.
In the classic era, generals would turn to Athena – the goddess of war – for guidance. Often overlooking Athena’s powers of justice and wisdom, commanders sought her in order to overwhelm their enemies because victory meant gaining access, and ultimately control, over more human, material and technological resources. Thus the victorious were enriched by the losses of the defeated – a zero sum game. Over time, mastery of war games became intuitively associated with success and thus compelled modern-day business intelligentsia to adopt those concepts, despite incompatible objectives.
War objectives are based on the fundamental assumptions that sources of wealth are subject to a ruling class and that an entity can gain ownership of those resources by removing this ruling class. To draw a parallel with business means to make the assumption new customers may be won by putting presumed competitors out of business; surely a viable strategy in the short-term. But is it sustainable?
Economists use the concept of opportunity cost to describe customers’ purchasing decisions because the relatively fixed supply of money worldwide limits buying options. So the game is still sum zero, since commerce is naturally finite, but the approach to taking a larger portion of the proverbial pie is different. Corporate strategies conceived to win or enlarge the pie unfortunately ignore the effects of synergies among stakeholders in a marketplace. Thus these paradigms, oriented towards profitability rather than prosperity, ultimately constrict company growth.
Prosperity-based decisions must consider the market environment as an ecosystem; a place where customers, suppliers and competitors have a stake in the survival of their environment and have, at some level, some common goals.
At what level is there harmony in a market ecosystem? How could such synergies have a positive and lasting effect on an organization’s prosperity? Only by answering these questions can an enterprise expect to succeed.
GCS helps you answer these questions by studying and advising on the factors of brand coherence and the effects of information technology on your markets.