Strategy is defined differently by leading management thinkers:

“All competitors who persist over time must maintain a unique advantage by differentiation over all others. Managing that differentiation is the essence of long-term business strategy.”

– Bruce Henderson¹

“Increased attention to formal strategic planning has highlighted questions that have long been of concern to managers: What is driving competition in my industry or in industries I am thinking of entering? What actions are competitors likely to take, and what is the best way to respond? How will my industry evolve? How can the firm be best positioned to compete in the long run?”

– Michael Porter³

“In business as on the battlefield, the object of strategy is to bring about the conditions most favourable to one’s own side, judging precisely the right moment to attack or withdraw and always assessing the limits of compromise correctly. Besides the habit of analysis, what marks the mind of a strategist is an intellectual elasticity or flexibility that enables him to come up with realistic responses to changing situations, not simply to discriminate with great precision among different shades of grey.”

– Kenichi Ohmae4

Strategy “is a rule for making decisions.”

– Igor Ansoff²

Practitioners emphasise the need for strategy to be useful to managers as they confront dynamic market conditions on a day-to-day basis:

“Strategy is most useful when used as a mental discipline by practical managers as they go about their day to day activities. This strategy is very localised, very disaggregated, and very decentralised: it is ‘Business Unit Strategy’, that is, strategy for individual business units, rather than ‘Corporate Strategy’, or ‘Corporate Centre Strategy’, which is the firm’s overall strategy co-ordinated by the firm’s Centre or Head Office.”

– Richard Koch5

“The strength of a given strategy is determined not by the initial move, but rather by how well it anticipates and addresses the moves and countermoves of competitors and shifts in customer demands over time. The strategy’s success also depends on how effectively it addresses changes in the competitive environment from regulations, technology, and other sources.”

– George Day, David Reibstein, The Wharton School6

1 Stern, C; Deimler, M – “The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy, Second Edition ” – Hoboken, New Jersey – 2006 – p.1 – John Wiley & Sons
2 Moore, J – “Writers on strategy and Strategic Management, Second Edition” – London – 2001 – p. 15 – Penguin
3 Porter, M – “Competitive Strategy” – New York – 1980 – p. xxi – The Free Press
4 Ohmae, K – “The mind of the strategist” – New York – 1982 – p. 13 – McGraw-Hill
5 Koch, R – “The Financial Times guide to Strategy, Second Edition” – Harlow – 2000 – p. xiv – Financial Times Prentice Hall
6 Day, G; Reibstein, D – “Wharton on Dynamic Competitive Strategy”- Hoboken, New Jersey – 1997 – p. 2 – John Wiley & Sons