Strategy – You Have to Think It Through (Part-1: the Strategy Choice Cascade)

In this series of posts, I utilize the strategy choice cascade as introduced by Roger Martin in the book Playing to Win (which is coauthored by A.G. Lafley) and a case study drawn from my professional experience to emphasize the importance of integrated, end-to-end think in and decision making in the strategy process.

What is strategy?

Strategy, as per the strategy cascade is about making 5 choices:

  1. What is our winning aspiration?
  2. Where will we play?
  3. How will we win where we have chosen to play?
  4. What capabilities must be in place to win?
  5. What management systems are required to ensure the capabilities are in place?

Strategy isn’t about making these choices independently however; the choices need to fit with each other and re-enforce each other. The below video provides an overview of the framework.

I like the strategy choice cascade framework; the questions bring a high degree of focus to strategic decision making, and the framework can accommodate a large variety of perspectives and tools in the pursuit of answers.

Introducing our case study – what will we learn?

The case study in the next posts will discuss the parcel delivery component of the logistics industry in the Middle East. Drawing on my personal experience, I will argue that the home-grown (regional) logistics companies largely limited their strategic decision-making to the first two questions, and that now leaves them vulnerable to potential (or eventual) new entrants such as Uber (the fact that nobody saw Uber coming makes it an extreme example. Nonetheless, it helps demonstrate the importance of end-to-end strategic thinking and decision making.

Note: no confidential information is used for building the case study. My personal experience merely helps establish the big picture. 


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