The relationship between strategy and positioning are both the result of strategic planning in which you first set the context within which you operate, and then define the ultimate position you want to achieve within this context. A strategy is your plan for how to move from where you are today, your current positioning, and where you ultimately want to be, your ideal strategic positioning.
Your Strategic Plan must facilitate strategic thinking that delivers all threes:
- Strategic context for your enterprise
- Your ideal unique strategic positioning
- Your strategy or the high-level story of how you will move from where you are today to your ideal unique strategic position.
Too often we see documents labeled “Strategic Plan” that are merely aggregated goals (the bottoms up approach) or current plans wrapped in new language but void of any new thinking. These documents fail to communicate new strategic thinking because they have not followed any strategic planning practices.
To define a truly strategic position, you must have spent time defining and compiling the market context from which you define a position. This requires conducting research on your market or at the least gathering market intelligence from folks that spent time in the market (sales and marketing). Once assembled the strategic planning team must make sense of the data and insights with strategic thinking and generate a strategic context from which strategy is based.
Creating this context naturally leads to greater clarity to set your ideal strategic positioning. With this context, you can see where you and others in your market operate today and what “space” you ideally want to occupy. This is strategic positioning.
These strategic thinking activities lay the foundation for a strategy that you can authentically call a strategic plan.
Want to learn how ready your team is for strategic planning?