Strategy Toolbox Project
If you think about the tools we discuss, they are in-depth exercises in structured thinking designed to help
organizations arrive at lowering risk inherent in strategy. For example, the strategy statement helps refine an
organization’s strategy, blue ocean helps define a new uncontested market space, the value pyramid helps assess
customer value, the execution radar helps us understand execution challenges, etc. There is no one strategy. Strategy
is contextual, and very personal. As I have suggested throughout the semester, each of you is at a different point in
your career, at a different organization, and in a different industry. One classmate might be trying to assess evolving
customer value, while another classmate might be trying to improve execution. Both efforts are strategy.
Accordingly, each of you will be using different tools that we have discussed in the near term, but one thing I can
promise you is that these tools are the most widely utilized strategic tools, and you need to understand how to use
each of them. In that our class time together is only 8 weeks it is difficult to dive deep into any one tool. However, I
need to know that each of you understand that each unique strategy context requires a different tool. This
assignment is meant to demonstrate that you understand the “right tool for the job”. I need you to demonstrate the
proper context and strategic implication for “pulling the tool out of the toolbox’ i.e., when, and where to use them.
Pick a tool from each week to better understand in your own professional context. Week three, week five, and week
eight do not offer a choice, you must do the tool listed.
• Breaking down a strategy; please use Porter, Montgomery, and Rumelt’s concepts to examine a strategy that
you have seen firsthand
• Use Collis and Rukstad’s concepts to craft a strategy statement
• Use the Five Forces Model to breakdown an industry of professional interest
• Use the Value System Analysis to breakdown an industry of professional interest
• Apply the Business Model Canvas and Value Pyramid to context requiting a better understanding of value
• Compile a competitor analysis using the positioning quadrant and strength evaluation
• Use the ideas from competing on resources, capabilities, and competencies
• Find a blue ocean for an organization that you are familiar with and is currently in a red ocean
• Use the ideas from selling strategic issues to pitch a new strategy
• Leverage 7-S Model to assess an organization’s ability to roll out a strategy
• Offer an application of the double loop management with SMART
• Find a strategy that failed due to execution and apply the Neilseon, et. al and Sull ideas to explain the failure
• Prepare a strategy radar for a strategy execution you were involved in
• Explain how you have seen COVID affect the strategic process in your organization
There are three critical parts:
• Strategic context – With each tool, identify a strategic challenge that you have faced in the past, currently
face, or expect to face in the near future:
o A past challenge might have been a disastrous strategy rollout, i.e., execution that you always look
back at with regret!
o A current challenge might be a misaligned product or service with customer value that is causing
issues in the organization!
o A future challenge might be a new strategic initiative that is being planned and needs to be staged!
Offer a tool that you believe might have helped in this context.
• Strategic implications – Explain why you believe the tool might have helped. For example, “Boy, when I
worked at ACME Computer, I wish I knew how to better assess industry structure.” Or “Wow, I wish I knew
how a competitor analysis do when I was in sales.” Alternatively, if you are applying the framework/tool to a
current or future situation, then hypothesize as to the possible outcome. Offer a grounded, thorough
explanation drawing from the readings for the implications.
• Visualization – Illustrate a visual that summarizes the tool usage – in many ways, it should expand on the
previous step. If you are reflecting on a past context, then visualize the framework in the past, and the
implications of using the tool; if you are examining a current or future context, then offer a visualization that
predicts the strategic implications of using the tool.
Keep in mind, I am not looking for a full-blown competitor analysis or blue ocean project – I am looking for you to
demonstrate when you would use the tool, how you might apply it, and the results from the application. When you
use the tool in your career, then you will undertake a huge project or call a consultant to do it for you!
FORMAT AND GUIDANCE
If you think about it, you are writing a mini, 2-page paper for each tool, then pulling them together in a single final
paper. This design is purposeful. You should be working on the two pagers throughout the eight weeks, not in the last
week. This exercise is intended to get you to distill your semester-long strategic inquiry into your own personal
context. You are taking an MBA course to help in your professional development. Accordingly, this project should be
a deep reflection on your past, current and future career, and help you bring a different strategic perspective. Why
else take an MBA if it doesn’t help you in your own career, and the way you look at things?
• 2 pages for each tool – no more – the entire paper should be no longer than 16 pages.
• Single spaced, 12-point font
• Look at the examples I posted – again, they won’t help the content because that work was personal to those
folks, but it will help you with an approach.
• The final product is due Week 8 – in assignment drop box.
If you do one tool, a week, then you will be in great shape at the end of the semester. I am happy to review draft
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