Be Sure You Have A Strategy

How many business people have a strategy? My guess would be: Not Many.

It's not for lack of appreciating the value of having a strategy. No, it's mostly because people do not know what a strategy really is.

There is a very helpful article called "Are You Sure You Have A Strategy?" by Donald Hambrick and James Fredrickson, published in the Academy of Management Executive, 2001, Vol. 15, No. 4.

The authors remind us that the term strategy comes from the Greek strategos meaning "the art of the general." In a war, a general has an objective and a strategy for achieving it. Hambrick and Fredrickson identify several key elements of a strategy. Here's my take on their model:

- The Arena: Where will the action take place?

- The Enemy: Who are our competitors?

- The Vehicles: How will we get there?

- The Weapons: How will we win?

- The Staging: What will be our speed? What will be our sequence of moves?

- The Measure: How will we obtain our returns?

How might this apply to a job hunter?

First, a job hunter must have an Objective. Everything else in the strategy depends upon that.

The Arena is Where the job hunter wants to land. Ideally, the job hunter has identified Target Companies to pursue proactively.

The Enemy is the Self. A job hunter will defeat himself more surely than any external competitor. (More on this in a future blog entry.)

The Vehicle of choice for job hunters is Networking.

The Weapons are Self-Awareness (especially about one's own Skills and Accomplishments), Self-Belief, and Persistence.

The Staging involves Sequence of Moves as well as Speed. The warrior job hunter does not wait for the phone to ring. Instead, she makes her own moves and makes things happen, keeping a high level of activity each week of her search.

The Measure is three-fold: Interviews, Offers, and Starts. Until the job hunter gets an interview, there is no chance of an offer, and no way to start.

Now that you know the elements of a strategy, it's time to map one out. What's your Objective? How will you attain it?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, July 1, 2009


ICT said…
Study your resume carefully so that you'll be able to backup your claims to your various skills and abilities. Be logical in answering questions and apply common sense.
Terrence Seamon said…
Good point, ICT.

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