Your Strategy Needs a Strategy


For anyone leading a business or charged with developing a winning strategy, this book is for you. The world of strategy is thick with ideas and frameworks; Your Strategy Needs a Strategy will help you cut through the noise and find clarity regarding which approach, or combination of approaches, is your best bet.

The Article That Started Everything

Companies operating in diverse environments should be developing their strategies in markedly different ways. But all too often, they are not. Research featured in Harvard Business Review shows how companies can gain an edge by matching their approach to strategy to the conditions of their industry, business function, or geographic market.

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The Strategy Palette

The strategy palette proposes five distinct approaches to strategy, helping leaders to match their approach to their business environment and execute effectively, combine different approaches, and animate the strategic collage of approaches.

Learn More About Strategy Approaches

The strategy palette proposes five distinct approaches to strategy: classical, adaptive, visionary, shaping, and renewal.

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Want a Sneak Peek?

The first chapter of Your Strategy Needs a Strategy explains why strategy has never been more important and why picking the right approach to strategy for a given business environment is critical.

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The History of Strategy

Explore the history of strategic approaches and frameworks in this interactive.

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Your Strategy Needs a Strategy

by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanæs, and Janmejaya Sinha

This new book from BCG’s Strategy Lab cuts through the clutter of strategy frameworks and provides clarity on which approach to strategy and execution—or which combination of approaches—is the best bet in each environment.

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Meet the Authors

Download Our App and See the Strategy Palette Come to Life

The Your Strategy Needs a Strategy iPad app and workshop revolves around the strategy palette’s five different approaches to strategy. Building on the book, the app simulates the five business environments through the example of selling lemonade in New York City’s five boroughs. It’s a competition, and putting the right skills to use will give you the advantage as you contend against BCG Founder Bruce Henderson, who knows what it takes to win in each environment. Download the app to find out if you have the strategy it takes to beat him. To schedule an app workshop with your organization, please contact bhi@bcg.com.

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Other Resources

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy App Workshop

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy App Workshop

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy App Workshop

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy Online Learning Course

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy Online Learning Course


Professors and faculty have used Your Strategy Needs a Strategy to teach their executive and MBA students the science and art of strategy. The book is built on recent case studies, with quotes from C-level executives that make the content tangible. The teaching notes contain suggested modules, readings, and study questions for use in classroom settings.

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy Educator’s Resources: Illustrative Uses for Teaching, Harvard Business Review

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Martin Reeves on Your Strategy Needs a Strategy

In this TED talk, Reeves advocates transitioning from relying on a single "classical" approach to strategy and moving toward a more tailored approach to strategy and execution, selecting from five distinct patterns of success.

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The Biology of Corporate Survival

Understanding the principles that confer robustness in complex systems—such as tropical forests, stock markets, and even companies—can mean the difference between survival and extinction.

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Four Principles for Better Business-Building

In the 1970s and 80s, nearly half the Fortune 500 are reported to have used BCG’s growth share matrix to design and operate their strategies. Today, technology is transforming every facet of the business experience. The question arises: Is the growth share matrix still relevant?

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Sir Lawrence Freedman on the Evolution of Strategy

The professor of war studies discusses the relevance of strategy in today’s increasingly dynamic world and where the next big advances in strategy will come from.

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Flora and fauna are, in some respects, the first home of strategy. Nature displays an enormous range of strategies that have been selected over time for fitness under different circumstances, long before humans walked the earth, let alone articulated the concept of strategy or competitive advantage. Biology illustrates the need for different strategic approaches under varying circumstances and provides a rich source of inspiration for understanding the range of possible approaches.

Consider the variety of strategies employed by plant species in a forest: some exploit a narrow or temporary niche, others enter into symbiotic or parasitic relationships with other species, and yet others dominate once the ecosystem of the forest has reached a steady state.

Nature’s repository of examples and analogies can help broaden our understanding of strategizing in diverse environments beyond the classical planning-oriented perspective. We drew inspiration for the strategy palette by considering this variety of natural strategies, and we explore biological analogies for each cell in the palette.

The Strategy Palette builds on the contributions of several authors in the fields of contingent strategy (choosing strategy according to a particular set of circumstances) and meta-strategy (strategies for choosing a strategy). The following references are especially recommended for those who want to deepen their understanding, and trace the evolution, of those ideas.

  • Henderson, Bruce. “The Product Portfolio,” BCG Perspectives, 1970.
  • Lochridge, Richard. “Strategy in the 1980s,” BCG Perspectives, 1981.
  • Nadler, David A., and Michael L. Tushman. “Beyond the Charismatic Leader: Leadership and Organizational Change,” California Management Review, Winter 1990.
  • Nadler, David A., and Michael L. Tushman. “Types of Organizational Change: From Incremental Improvement to Discontinuous Transformation,” in Discontinuous Change: Leading Organizational Transformation, edited by David A. Nadler et al., 15–34. Jossey-Bass, 1995.
  • Abell, Derek F. “Competing Today While Preparing for Tomorrow,” MIT Sloan Management Review 40, no. 3 (1999): 73.
  • Wiltbank, Robert, Nicholas Dew, Stuart Read, and Saras D. Sarasvathy. “What to Do Next? The Case for Non‐Predictive Strategy,” Strategic Management Journal 27, no. 10 (2006): 981-998.

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Perspectives on Strategy and Value: Insights on creating sustainable value in an uncertain world.

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy