There are pluses behind a portfolio approach – hedging being a major one; albeit thin spread of resources is a grave minus. Thus, without arguing on this front, it is proposed herein that there ought to be a Strategy Portfolio for any enterprise/ business unit. It is suggested that there be a Quad split of strategic thought.
The analogy being referred is that every organization, so long as it is adding value in socio-economic context, ought to survive indefinitely, and so stay afloat like a ship. Aries de Geus in his The Living Company has paraded inspiring stories on firms with a longer than 200 years life so far. It is said, of Fortune 500 companies, 95 percent have a life shorter than 50 years – plagued by irrelevance or messy succession planning. Survival, they say is the new profit. What point in being a Lehman, howsoever great at some point in history, but now sitting wound up, and that too ignominiously.
Therefore, firstly, a prime strategic focus has to be on staying afloat, keeping the ship the organization is, above water. This implies, not a fear psyche, but a conservatism filter applied to every intended plan/ project/ action – would we be jeopardizing existence itself of the firm. This entails having systems that scout for firm annihilating risks and builds counters to those.
Now, we are cognizant of the fact that, a stagnating firm, like a stationary ship, is a sitting duck for competition. It ought to display growth. This targeted growth for a firm has been, on a strategic focus plane, banded into three slabs: Move, Surge, and Quanturge.
Needless to say, every firm should register an 8-10% growth (assuming the industry median is this); so to say it is Moving along, and not being left behind. Its resources and systems are geared to match the growth of most of firms in that industry.
Thirdly, every firm ought to invest part of its emotional energy, time, and other resources in trying to get a 30-40% annual growth; this is what is called Surging. You surge ahead of competition.
Lastly, every firm should have a strategic focus, on attempting to get a disruptive kick, a growth of say 1000%, a quantum surging or Quanturging. It has to have some of its resources diverted towards seeking such a massive growth, wherein it can challenged industry definitions, business models, customer and value chain assumptions.
Surely, every initiative clubbed under any of the three banners, viz. Moving, Surging, or Quanturging, needs to be evaluated for not putting in peril the staying afloat concern. Further, the proportion of resources to be allocated across the aforestated three banners, would emanate from aspiration and risk aversion of the guiding stakeholders.
Now what pathways, depending on allocated resources, are imaginatively drawn up, again is resident on strategy stretch or leveraging approaches. Nevertheless, any enterprise, no having this strategy portfolio, may find itself not afloat even over a period of time.