Reading: Strategy & Structure

While recently rereading Arthur Chandler’s seminal work Strategy & Structure I was caught not by the explicit content but as a conversation on strategy verses tactics.  Or more specifically for my current work strategy and (or versus) operations.  In Chandler’s work he writes a number of summaries of large-scale changes that led to decades of success for their organizations.  Some were driven by strategy, i.e. we want to get there so we’ll do this and others were driven by structure, we’d like to do this and from there we can get there.


Which leads, strategy, or structure?  Can you step back, think about where you want to go and then re-engineer your organization to help you get there?  Or do you need to get there and then adapt?


From our perspective, management consultants are often divided into two camps pure strategy – the folks looking to improve top-line revenue and increase sales – and their more operational or tactical brethren who typically seek to reduce costs working with the operations, teams etc.  It’s hard to say if one is more important than the other, it’s probably not a fair question.  Both are or can be effective depending upon the context and the outcomes.  In truth, most everyone knows that both are needed.  You simply cannot implement your ‘grand strategy’ without the operations, nor can you lead your team without a destination.  The two have to work hand-in-hand each re-enforcing and building upon another.



What drives your decision-making?