What is strategy?
What is strategy?

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What is strategy?


Some will have an explicit mission statement setting out their overall purpose. For others this mission will be implicit. It is difficult to envisage any organisation being successful without a shared sense of purpose, however it is expressed. Effective mission statements often specify what the organisation does, for whom and how, in order to distinguish it from its competitors.

In Activity 4 you’ll start to develop a better understanding as to what mission means for a strategist.

Activity 4 What do practitioners say about mission?

Timing: Spend approximately 15 minutes on this activity.

Watch this video with Karan Bilimoria. How does he describe the role of a mission in his company?

Download this video clip.Video player: Mission
Skip transcript: Mission

Transcript: Mission

[Music playing]
Karan Bilimoria:
I was very clear right from the beginning about what I wanted to do in terms of the product. I knew exactly what this product was going to taste like. Not only did I know the taste of the beer in my mind – it was very clear what I wanted to produce as a product, although I knew nothing about brewing beer – I was also very clear about my mission, my goal.
And the mission was to brew the finest ever Indian beer, and then make it a global beer brand. And the two key words there – one is ‘finest’, and the other one’s ‘global’. So I knew that I’d have to get this product to be absolutely world-class, and the best.
So the mission is very much the what. It’s measurable. It’s something you can go back to. Our mission is the same today as it was on day one.
And I can always go back and say well, finest ever Indian beer? Yup. We’re winning all the gold medals. We’re winning all the awards. We’re doing that. We’re achieving that. Global beer brand? Yes, we’re working. How far have we gotten now in becoming a global beer brand? So it’s great to have a mission, and great to know where you’re going.
I believe, however, that equally as important as a mission – in fact, perhaps more important – is to have a vision. And in my case, our vision fell into place when I was on a course at Cranfield, at the Cranfield School of Management. And I did the business growth programme there.
You’ve got to have a role model, I believe, when you’re starting up in business. Or whatever you do in life, really, it helps to have a role model. And the closer that role model can be to you – whether it’s your father, your brother, or family member is ideal. But it can be anyone.
In my case, my role model was my great grandfather from my mother’s side in India. And his motto was ‘to aspire and achieve’.
And throughout childhood, growing up, it meant nothing to me – like most school mottos mean nothing to anyone. And it was when I was on this course at Cranfield, where the course was a mini-MBA, the business growth programme, tailored to owners of businesses. And it had all the formal strands of an MBA – finance, management, marketing. And it was structured for business.
The course was very much about where is your business today? Where do you want to take your business? And how are you going to get there? And my great grandfather’s motto fell into place for me on that course.
Where do you want to take your business? Aspire. How are you going to get there? Achieve. And I added, ‘to aspire and achieve against all odds with integrity’. And that’s our vision, to aspire and achieve against all odds with integrity. That is what we live by. That is what we breathe by every single day. That underlies everything that we do.
And it’s almost a definition of entrepreneurship, where you come up with an idea with limited resources. It’s against all odds. And you go out there, and you make it happen.
When you have a vision that really means something, that is something that you genuinely believe in, and that underlies everything that you do, it’s something that spreads across the whole company. It’s something that isn’t a motto that’s just on a board or printed. It’s something that is a living vision that everyone in the company believes in. It’s an attitude – to aspire and achieve.
And in our company, it manifests itself in so many areas, the way people come up with ideas and make them happen. And it’s all about innovation and ideas and action. Aspire and achieve. Ideas and action. Innovation – making it happen. And that’s what it should be always.
[Music playing]
End transcript: Mission
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