The Organizational Strategist

October 17, 2009

Market Leadership Requires Enduring Strategy

Filed under: Strategy — Tags: , , , , , , — Whit @ 5:03 pm

Strategy, according to a highly respected and well known professor of mine, Richard Osborne, who is well known as “The Gorilla”, is defined as “the alignment of resources and capabilities to win in the market.” I immensely enjoyed his class on managerial consulting while studying for my MBA. The definition has served me well for many dialogues, modeling, and then planning the implementation of the strategy.

An enduring strategy requires making that alignment of resources and capabilities effective in the market environment and a lasting advantage over whatever competition is fighting over the same market. Major companies, like IBM and Google, are showing that their strategies are paying off for them, even though many companies are suffering from the present economic challenges. The Associated Press posted that Google and IBM third quarter results were good, each in their own ways. Google’s search based ad clicking and IBM’s technology services have been very lucrative for their organizations. The core business derived from the capabilities and resources of Google and IBM are winning in their market spaces right now.

There is much that can be discussed on strategy. The competitive analysis and market forces in play are often discussion points that contribute significantly to a firm’s strategy. Understanding the most profitable market segments to capture is a tantalizing pursuit. However, these endeavors alone will not ensure a lasting win in the market. They are very helpful and important to win in the current market environment, but the path to create that win is vital for the ongoing success of an organization. Building and developing the organization’s combination of resources and capabilities to be unique and/or very difficult to replicate paves the way for maintaining market leadership.

We can see that IBM and Google have been winning in their markets with the ability to prosper as they have. IBM, for instance, has its strategic partnerships and service contracts. Google has its data capabilities and search algorithms. There are many more aspects of each company that are strengths and aid in the success of their respective organizations. Yet, in each of those examples of organizational resources and capabilities, other organizations would find it remarkably difficult to duplicate. The partnerships and contracts with IBM serve as an ongoing source of business and barrier to other companies. Replicating the data storage/retrieval techniques and technology would require major brain power and funding to undertake.

Strategy is a major interest of mine. I have found that having a diverse background helps with the situational understanding, formulation, and implementation of strategy. I’m always interested in learning more and collaborating. Readers, what areas are of most interest? Which challenges might be helpful to explore?

The link for the Google article can be found here:

The link for the IBM article can be found here:



  1. I believe the definition of strategy the “alignment of resources and capabilities to win in the market” is an efficient one. I totally agree on your observation that having a diverse background adds very much into the whole cycle from understanding through implementation. In support of these views, it is a must that strategy has to be generated and owned not by only a few top-seated people but the whole organization. This widely-known but seldom-ignored fact could make a winning point, or, if you like, a differentiator.

    Comment by Ersin Eker — October 18, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Ersin. Out of curiosity, which aspects of having a diverse background do you think are the most helpful to have? What kind of experiences, roles, involvement or other aspects would be key in creating a great differentiating factor?

      Comment by Whit — October 24, 2009 @ 1:14 am

  2. Whit,

    Good thoughts on what strategy is as well as examples. For me the major part of strategy is strategy implementation, numerous studies and countless outcomes show that there is a real Jekyll and Hyde relationship when it comes to strategy and its benefits. This is primarily because the implementation of most strategic plans is not overly successful on a percentage basis.

    In our business we have focused on moving from a strategic plan directly to specific actions and have created our own manifesto on the subject: This manifesto has become the backbone of our strategic planning implementation product called RapidInfluence I’d be interested in seeing your thoughts on the implementation side of strategy.


    Ed Loessi

    Comment by Ed Loessi — October 20, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Ed. It’s very true that implementing a strategy is a very major aspect of it. I’ve heard that as much as 70% of consulting projects fail. Strategy is vital to an organization and the manner that it is implemented can have lasting effects whether they be good or bad for the organization.

      I do have future blog posts on implementing strategy and other projects. Generally speaking, I see that engaging and following through with stakeholder groups as a key aspect of that. The effectiveness and timing of that often reflects how well the intentions of a strategy or other vision are carried out. In implementing strategy, I see Organizational Development techniques as an effetive means to get the job done. Whole systems involvement, root cause analysis and more are some points that I plan on writing about in the future. Stay tuned!

      Comment by Whit — October 24, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  3. Ooh it’s nice
    That’s what I was looking for to read
    It’s awsome to know and read it
    thanks you!

    Comment by Maria Caol — March 28, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad that this was a helpful article to you.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Whit — March 28, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

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