Preparing Yourself: Audit Your Strategy
and Clarify Your Process
Your Strategy Audit
Rita GuntherMcGrath and Ian C. MacMillan.
Market Busters(Boston, MA: Harvard BusinessSchool
Thisapproach will giveyou abaseline. If you already havegood
processesin place, you should beableto zip through theaudit in no time.
If not, you may want to revisit your basestrategy.
After you’vetaken agood hard look at what you’redoing now, you’ll be
ready to start building marketbusting movesinto theway you “do
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Your Strategy Audit
Your organization probably hassomekind of strategy and istrying every day
to outpacethecompetition and satisfy thecustomers.
At therisk of asking you to repeat Strategy 101 but in theinterest of being
pragmatic and realistic, wesuggest that you audit your company’sstrategy
beforeyou start trying to implement amarketbusting move.
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What outcomerepresentssuccessfor you in thisstrategy? How clear and
well articulated isit?
Isit clear which market arenasaredesirableand undesirable? Isthe
strategic logic for thischoiceclear and unambiguous?
Hasthestrategy been translated to memorable, simplephrasesthat have
emotional resonancefor employees?
Do you haveasystematic approach to communication that ensures
widespread understanding of thestrategy?
Doesyour company haveaway of describing thestrategy to key financial
stakeholders(such asstock analysts)?
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Which customersdoesyour company seek to serve, and in what priority
order? Why haveyou chosen thesecustomers? Which customersdo you
not seek to serve? Why?
What doesyour businessdo that offersawinning proposition for
customers, consisting of greater valuethan offered by competitors, in such
away that customerswill pay for thisgreater value?
How doesyour offering add value, from thepoint of view of thecustomer?
Describethisvaluein afew sentences.
How isthebusinesscapturing valuefor your company from thetarget
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Who arethey? Areyou obtaining competitiveintel about all three
categoriesof competition? Traditional competitors? Potential
competitors? Obliquecompetitorswho arein competition with you for
something you need, likeinvestment capital or disposabletime? Istherea
clear competitivestrategy in placefor each category?
What istheform of competitiveinsulation – how do you protect your
chosen marketsfrom thecompetition?
What movesarecompetitorsmost likely to make? How will you respond?
How do you currently conduct competitiveintel? How will your leaders
get decent info about what thecompetitorsaredoing?
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Which activitiesdo you perform on your own? Would partnering create
futureliabilities: losing touch with customers: weakening your
technological or capability base?
Whom do you need in your network of stakeholdersto stay effective? Has
asolid stakeholder analysisbeen done? When wasit last updated?
Do you haveacontinuously updated list of potential targetsfor
acquisitionsor potential partnersfor alliances? Do you haveaclear
strategy for post-allianceor acquisition management?
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Company and Capabilities
What aretheuniquecapabilitiesand competenciesof your business? How
arethey being leveraged?
What businessmodel isyour company pursuing (what do you get paid for,
and how doesit fit into theindustry’svaluechain)?
How doesyour strategy processensurethat you develop new capabilities
and terminatethosethat areobsolete?
How will you build and maintain thekey human capital your business
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What aretheenvironmental and contextual issuesthat will affect the
How will outsideforces(regulation, globalization, war) affect thestrategy?
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Asyou think through theanswersto thesequestions, notewhereyou
think your company’sstrategy ishealthy and which processesyou want to
keep in place, aswell asplaceswhereyou think changesareneeded.
Bear thesein mind asyou continueto develop themarketing strategy for
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AssociateProfessor of Management
McKinsey Best Paper Award 2001
Editorial Board of: Academy o f
Management Review; Strategic
Management Jo urnal; Jo urnalo f
Directo r o f the Strategic
Management So ciety
Ian C. MacMillan
Fred Sullivan Professor of
Management at theuniversity of
Director of Entrepreneurial Research
Programsat theWharton School
Articlesin: Harvard Business
Review; Slo an Management Review;
Academy o f Management Review;
Strategic Management Jo urnal; etc.
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John Paul Gillis
First Light LLC
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