Study Figure 1. Take a few minutes to write down what you see.
What have you written?
If you know Uganda well, in the figure are names of two of the major cities in the country. One is the capital city, Kampala, and the other is the top town (or city) in the western region, Mbarara.
Hypothetically, road engineers were tasked in choosing the best route to connect Kampala to Mbarara of the three options – A, B, and C. The first route, A, or the ‘northern’ route, the direct route B or the ‘southern’ route? Or all three? Which one would you recommend?
In deciding the best route, the Engineers proposed that road appraisal be undertaken – by considering the cost of road construction in terms of time, money, and resources. They analyzed the social impact and the road user experience, and the overall cost in terms of time spent on the journey by road users and the cost of transport. The ‘northern’, A, and ‘southern’, C, routes were found to be financially and socially un-viable.
Such routes would not only take more than 10 hours to travel from one city to another, it cost much more in terms of initial road construction costs. Taken together, the direct route, B, was evaluated as cheaper and efficient. And that is the route that was developed.
What is strategy once again?
Strategy is choice. It is about making choices on how to win with stakeholders including customers against the competition or in case of government institutions, any entity that competes for budget allocation from the consolidated fund, is a competitor.
You need a strategy when there is scarcity and a pressing problem or challenge to be solved. If you have unlimited resources, there is usually no need for strategy. Because strategy is about winning. Gaining an advantage over and above the rest.
For example, if resource limitations are not an issue, the government or an investor does not need to spend time making a project appraisal to select the optimal route to construct the road. You just start the construction.
However, with limited resources, the focus is on choosing the most profitable, affordable, and convenient route for all stakeholders. A route that is shorter, and easy for travelers and cheaper for use in the long run.
In summary, the strategy is about choosing how to win with stakeholders specifically customers against the competition through solving the most pressing challenging using limited resources.
What is your strategy?
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.