Grand Strategy

27 May

When grand strategy becomes 20% of our days work, then we become effective…

An Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, observed a 20/80 rule in economics; in that, 20 percent of all drivers are responsible for 80 percent of all accidents, only 20 percent of all people consuming alcohol, are in fact responsible for consuming 80 percent of the production. We wear only 20 percent of all our clothes regularly. We spend only 20 percent of our time coming to conclusions in a meeting and the other 80 talking about it. Of course this rule cannot apply to everything in life, but has merit.  

We must exercise our strategic power. The concept of grand strategy has recently regained prominence among international and even local businesses. As an effective business tool to mange diversity with, when looking at ways to co-ordinate multi-faceted strategies and multi tiered operations. Grand Strategy; as a principle evolved from the study of military strategy and history, where the idea has an old pedigree. In this field, grand strategy has been used to describe the overall coordination of strategies, tactics and resources in support of a military operation.

Grand strategy is a general term for a broad statement of strategic actions coordinated to achieve a main objective with.  Some have extended the concept of grand strategy to describe multi-tiered strategies in general, including strategic thinking at the level of business philosophy, to include it in business acronym. In business, a Grand strategy is a general term for a broad statement of strategic actions, combined into one purpose. A grand strategy states the means that will be used to achieve short, medium, and long-term objectives with. Many CEO’s and senior leaders in the public and private sector have seen their intellectual capital drained away, as political change, economic  eroded their strategies to insignificance. Too much change, too little maintenance of strategies, has had the effect of deflated risks; if it works don’t fix it, or change it, thus it exposed many vulnerabilities in the new age, and the leaders thinking. We have way to many competing strategies, and changes taking place, across any CEO’s contacted term, for one person in a – say – 5 year term to grasp, and work with. This is exactly why Grand Strategy was called in again. Where senior leaders – CEO’s – once again just focus narrowly and driving the effort, and not the process’s.

The question for leaders is: how do you create a lasting grand strategy philosophy and practice, and then maintain the intellectual capital you bring and have on board, and still broaden your decision making support and power to sustain a grand strategy?

Most business decisions are focused on actions and results – very few are focused on capacity and capability – then on a very limited scale do you see sustainable results and actual growth. Only if our paradigms are strategic, and we seek sustainable growth paths, that yield and build on capacity and capability, will business become holistically strategic.   We see quite the opposite, with way too much “democracy” in place that leads to bureaucracy, “strategy” informed by senior management’s authority and directive – ok go ahead, but do it this way. Many decisions and choices which are labelled as “strategic” are in fact not, they are nothing more than simple tactical and operational commands. From bureaucrats who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution. This causes anarchy.  Business and anarchy do not work well together. To thrive in business climates today, one needs to be focused more narrow, and not sweating all the big stuff, and for this to happen one needs competence and skill, there needs to be legitimate power in place and multi-operational directors, giving instructions autonomously, thereby increasing the speed at which decision-making takes place, a require process of effective leadership and managing of any enterprise strategically run, the process of operating effectively at the operational level, as well as the managerial level is a must for grand strategy to be effective.

One more article on Grand Strategy here

Read this book on strategy, it cover Grand Strategy in depth 

8 Responses to “Grand Strategy”

  1. Alex Jones May 30, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    This is why Sun Tzu remains as popular as he does when he wrote his Art of War,

    • Reinier Geel May 30, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      Yes Alex, i agree – Age old wisdom never loses it’s appeal and worth?


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