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A Definition of Strategic Management and Strategy

Strategic Management is the act of behaving and thinking strategically. This includes the management of the systems and processes by which the strategic capability of an individual, organisation or entity of any nature is formed, managed, conducted, deployed, reviewed and renewed on a continual basis

To be effective strategy practitioners must be prepared to both respond and prospond to change. We refer to this ambidextrous capability as a capacity for sponsive strategic change. As explained in our books Corporate Strategy (Remastered) I and II, an organisation must be equally prepared to adapt to change as much as it is to invent it. We have recommended therefore that practitioners embrace a perspective of strategic thinking that introduces the idea of recognising and exploiting the notions of both adaptation and invention:

We refer to the process of adaptation as a reactive or proactive response to change we can see or expect. Equally, we propose the use of the term prosponse as an appropriate reference to reactive, or proactive invented change that points us towards an envisaged future of what we “can’t see but could be”

Definition oi sponse

In the absence of a clear appreciation of the relationship between re and prosponse we explain each as follows:

  1. Response: adaptive strategic change adopted by an organisation that is provoked into an action that is the outcome of an expected, or unexpected external, or internal stimulus that occurs beyond our control; thereby initiating programmes of survival.
  2. Prosponse: an invented strategic change within our control that is evoked as a result of a deliberate intent to positively challenge or disrupt an organisations future strategic trajectory; thereby initiating programmes of thrival.

We define sponse as:

A knowledge driven change in direction that is provoked or evoked as an outcome from a change in the organisations circumstances or as a result of the identification of new opportunity that has become apparent within a systems internal and/or external environment

An illustration of four different perspectives of sponsive strategic change appear in the following matrix.

Definition of strategy

An appreciation of sponsive strategic change enables us to evolve a clear definition of strategy. It is:

A preparedness to adapt to foreseen and unforeseen change initiated as a result of factors beyond the firm’s control; and, an ability to invent acts of deliberate change created as a result of decisions taken within the firm’s control