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The Evolution of Organizational Strategy

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
October 7, 2016

A couple weeks ago, we outlined the new paradigm that is emerging within our peer-to-peer world — one in which community and collaboration reign over hierarchy and competition. We highlighted the increasingly important, and apparent, reality that we are more connected than ever before, which is enhancing our ability to activate and mobilize networks to create massive transformative change. With this new paradigm emerging, we must ask ourselves:

  • How do we as organizations make an impact?
  • In an increasingly interconnected world that demands, and is starving for authenticity, what does business strategy look like?
  • And, how do we bring it to life and how do we evaluate success?

This new paradigm also brings with it an undeniable certainty that branding, image, organizational following, and, most of all, leadership are critical to success. Any organization looking to grow, will have to address these areas and any issues within them as they construct their strategic plans for success.

In the old paradigm, we might say that strategy is our game plan to win. But “winning” denotes a zero-sum game where one party is victorious and the rest are vanquished. In the emerging paradigm, multiple groups can win simultaneously. So at Plenty, we define strategy simply as our game plan for success. Strategy dictates what we will do, and how, to create authentic, positive change in the world. 

ffective strategy has two fundamental components. The first is focus. A common strategic problem for organizations is the tendency to try to take on too many things – to attempt to be everything to everyone. However, the old adage is true: If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one. This is often the problem for nonprofits as they try to create an array of constituent services, fund and facilitate research, raise money, spark advocacy and awareness campaigns, and so forth. Similarly, many for-profits and entrepreneurs, seeking growth and a competitive advantage, mistakenly take on too many activities and markets as they try to compete for consumers, build awareness of brands, and create revenue streams with returning, happy customers.  

The second component of successful strategy is differentiation. Strategy is about being unique, about finding your organization’s special position in the marketplace, about finding the open space. Why are we here? What is the end game? Where do we stand out? What are we exceptional at? What do we love to do? Again, without the right tools and processes to ground your mission and vision, it can be extremely overwhelming to articulate why your organization is different.

Through our work with organizations and leaders like you, we’ve created Meridian, a dynamic strategy model, to help you and your organization create unique, sustainable, focused, and most importantly, transformational change. Meridian is designed to help you channel and align your passions so that you can create prosperity for your organization, your team, and yourself. To explore how Plenty can assist you as you seek to create social impact in this new paradigm, download our e-book, "Meridian: Connecting to the Heart of Strategy." 

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