Definition of strategy

Over the weekend, I spent some time Googling "strategic thinking" to see what else is out there. I was dismayed by the simplistic models that appeared to come straight out of the textbooks I rejected when I was teaching this in college. But then I realized that "simple" is not all bad. I challenged myself to come up with a definition of "strategy" that satisfied my complex understanding. Here's what I came up after a few iterations that meets my standards:
A strategy is a way to get the results you intend by accurately assuming what is feasible, selectively utilizing what is in your favor and creatively diminishing what is going against your intentions.
This definition of strategy suggests how formulation can go awry by:
  • over-estimating what is feasible with wishful thinking or a shortage of reality checks
  • under-estimating what is feasible by becoming intimidated, apprehensive or pressured to conform
  • exaggerating what is in your favor in order to boost faltering confidence or calm misgivings
  • overlooking what can contribute to your success by limiting yourself to what you can pay for, make happen or coerce out of others
  • feeding the adversity by antagonizing the opposition, neglecting preventative efforts and misreading the actual challenges
  • getting defeated by what is going against you by taking it personally, losing a broader perspective and reacting to the evidence literally

Here's an example of how these dimensions get complicated when exploring the strategic advantages of relative size and strength:
  1. Superior size beats smaller size or weakness when situations call for throwing money at a problem, outnumbering the opposition or conquering by confrontation
  2. Superior size can become a disadvantage when opportunities call for highly maneuverable, elusive or undetectable responses to prowess
  3. A show of size can represent vast resources or inflated estimates of advantage, overgrown enterprises or lethargic response capabilities
  4. A show of smallness can appear easy to overwhelm or difficult to prevent from infiltrating, undermining or corrupting the status quo
  5. Superior strength beats weakness when there is a contest of endurance or force to overcome resistance to progress, success or victory
  6. Superior strength can be defeated by apparent weakness that fuels the stronger aggressor's over-confidence, unguarded flanks or fixation on winning
  7. A show of strength can be a sign of strength or a sign of hidden weakness that necessitates over-compensating, strutting or bullying
  8. A show of weakness can indicate vulnerability or put up red flags about possible ambushes, sandbagging or baited traps
There's no easy answers to formulate accurate assumptions, selective utilization of advantages or creative diminishment of adversities. It takes all those mental states I explored for entering the realm of strategy reformulation. Conceiving of effective strategies becomes a mind game ultimately.

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