- On Academia Versus the Practice of Strategy
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    Welcome to StrategyBest. We aim to serve the practically rigorous strategy professional in the for-profit enterprise. We will do this by integrating what is useful from academia with tried and true practice and emerging best and next practice from the strategy field. And all of this is to help drive results and performance that is the key accountability of the strategy professional.

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On Academia Versus the Practice of Strategy

This website is for strategy professionals in for-profit businesses and those advising for-profit businesses who work from a practically rigorous approach. Working from one monthly strategy or management fad to another can be very dangerous in our experience.

By strategy professional we mean anyone in industry and consulting who takes on the role or contributing to the role of formulating and executing winning competitive strategies aimed at securing desired end results. For us the key super-ordinate goal of the for-profit firm is increases in firm valuation.

In industry the group charged with strategy is usually the CEO and his or her Top Management Team, aided many times by a larger group we typically call the Growth Leadership Team. For consultants, it is usually very senior, experienced professionals and the less experienced consultants who need to be further trained in the craft.

And this website is for strategy professionals at four levels of current expertise: novice, apprentice, journeyman and virtuoso expert. As such, this website desires to aid in the growth of the practice of sound strategy by helping to train beginners in the craft of strategy and further aiding senior practitioners who must deliver results.

By for-profit businesses we mean publicly traded firms, private for-profit firms to include family businesses and major new venture startups.

The kind of strategy professionals who will value this website are, rightfully in our view, suspicious of management fads and unsubstantiated personal opinion. They look to find fact, frameworks, causal laws and evidence, where they can, to make key strategy, innovation, growth, risk and execution decisions in a timely manner that lead to increases in firm valuation.

So for us a strategy professional can be anyone who seeks to apply our evolving field of strategy to help organizations create and sustain competitive advantage and grow the value of the firm. Professionals in mergers and acquisitions, lawyers, CPAs, coaches and many others can a strategy professional in our view. And we will be of value if they desire to practice from a practically rigorous approach.

I am considered an expert in the field but I am in a continuous learning mode. All I can promise you is that I work and will work from an evidenced based approach where knowledge is cited that is thought to be authoritative. And I will cite my own work that has enough prior validity to have some measure of authority and usefulness for you. This has the best probability of providing things here that the strategy professional will find truly valuable in helping them produce desired results.

We think there is nothing better than good theory for strategy practice. But a theory for theory's sake is better left to our academic colleagues. A good theory can allow the strategy  professional to hone in on the critical and vital few root causes and dispense with symptoms. Working on symptoms can be alluring. They can promise the quick fix. They can be alluring by being popular and hip. But hundreds of favorable book reviews on Amazon can be bought so how do you decide what is authoritative? Working on symptoms to underlying root causes usually causes working on too many nice to haves and not the vital few and sometimes causes working on downright worthless initiatives.

This statement is not meant to be inflammatory - much of what academia provides at any given point in time is pretty much useless for the strategy professional who must deliver short and mid-term performance in growing the market value of the firm. Academia however can inform practice over the longer term, but it usually takes at least a decade for more theoretical notions to percolate and resonate in and for professionals. In our view Dynamic Capabilities, started in economics in the mid-1990s, has broken through and found contexts in practice where the messages are resonating. And through time other things from academia will percolate up that we will give you our opinions of and how they might be of help to the strategy professional.

This website then tries to blend the rigorous with the root- cause-practical, and to synthesize what is useful from academia with advances from practice. While much of what we provide we hope is thought provokingly rigorous and in some cases unique to us that will help you, we will try to provide it in language that is as close to common use as we can get it.

And we think you will enjoy this key feature: we will cross-pollinate what works in strategy in the established firm with what works in strategy for the major new venture startup. Each world has unique differences, but each can inform the other in very important ways.

Regardless of whether we agree or disagree, hopefully we will all learn from working in this learning and doing website based on a common ground. We hope you will find value from this website, use it and enjoy it.

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