In today’s article I will share a brief introduction to the shaping approach to strategy and show when you should use this strategy. 

What is the purpose of the shaping approach to strategy?

  • Whenever the environment is unpredictable but malleable, your company has the extraordinary opportunity to lead the shaping or reshaping of a whole industry.
  • And your company has the opportunity to be part of a new movement and create something new and unprecedented.

In their book, Your Strategy Needs a Strategy, Martin Reeves and his co-authors,1 emphasized the importance of the shaping approach to strategy for business environments that are malleable.

A great summary of their work can be found in the Harvard Business Review 2 or in the Boston Consulting Group publications.3

Overview

  • What is the core idea of the shaping approach to strategy?
  • What are the pros and cons?
  • What is the difference to other strategies?
  • When should you use the shaping approach to strategy?
  • ⇒ Summary

What is the core idea of the shaping approach to strategy?

  • Imagine, your company gets the extraordinary opportunity to shape or reshape an industry at an early point in its development, when rules have not yet been written.
  • Imagine there is an opportunity for the industry to become large, attractive, and favorable to you. This is the core idea of the shaping approach.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros:

  • Your company has a great opportunity to engage and influence other stakeholders to create a shared vision of the future.
  • Your company can be part of a platform through which all activities can be orchestrated.
  • By scaling the platform and maintaining its flexibility and diversity it has great power to influence the future development of the industry.

Cons:

  • The company operates under a high degree of unpredictability, given the nascent stage of industry evolution it faces.
  • The company needs to manage the participation of multiple stakeholders that it must influence but cannot fully control.

What is the difference to other strategies?

  • Shaping strategies are very different from classical, adaptive, or visionary strategies.
  • They concern ecosystems rather than individual companies and rely as much on collaboration as on competition.
  • The focus is on engagement, to orchestrate the change and then to evolve.

When should you use a shaping approach to strategy?

  • You should use this strategy when the environment is unpredictable but malleable.
  • In order to succeed, your company needs to do the following:

Step #1: Engage – Create a shared vision

  • Engage other stakeholders to create a shared vision.
  • Make sure the timing is right.

Step #2: Orchestrate – Build a platform to collaborate

  • Your company needs to build a platform through which your company can exercise influence and orchestrate the collaboration.
  • It needs to evolve the platform and ecosystem by scaling it and keeping it flexible.

Step #3: Evolve – Build a new market quickly

  • Needs others to share the risk, contribute complementary capabilities, and build the new market quickly before competitors mobilize.

Summary

  • Key Point #1:Your company has a great opportunity to engage and influence other stakeholders to create a shared vision of the future and become one of the “shaper” of a new industry.
  • Key Point #2: The focus is on engagement, to orchestrate the change and then to evolve.

Supporting you

I´m available to support you by re-imagine your business and propel it to the next level. The shaping approach to strategy will help your company to create new products and ensure long-term success.

Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session:

https://nextlevelcoach.as.me/schedule.php

Coming up next month

In my next blog post, I´ll share how to use the Visionary Business Strategy.

Stay tuned!

  1. Martin Reeves, Knut Haanes, Janme Jaya Sinha, “Your strategy needs a strategy, how to choose and execute  the right approach”, Harvard Business Review, 2015.
  2. https://hbr.org/2015/06/navigating-the-dozens-of-different-strategy-options
  3. https://www.bcg.com/publications/collections/your-strategy-needs-strategy/classical

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