Strategy audit redux

The January 2011 McKinsey Quarterly featured ten questions or “tests” for a company’s strategy.  A strategy audit, if you will.  I posted about it at, but here are the questions again:

  1. Will your strategy beat the market?
  2. Does your strategy tap a true source of advantage?
  3. Is your strategy granular about where to compete?
  4. Does your strategy put you ahead of trends?
  5. Does your strategy rest on privileged insights?
  6. Does your strategy embrace uncertainty?
  7. Does your strategy balance commitment and flexibility?
  8. Is your strategy contaminated by bias?
  9. Is there a conviction to act on your strategy?
  10. Have you translated your strategy in an action plan?

So, I sorta see the point of “audits” like this, though am skeptical about whether strategies, in radically uncertain environments, can meaningfully be assessed ex ante with questions like this.

Nonetheless, the whole strategy audit thing is an interesting concept (trend/fad?) that many people appear to be thinking about.  For example, the Strategic Management Society is considering a strategy certfication (here are some skeptical thoughts and discussion on that).


3 Comments on “Strategy audit redux”

  1. srp says:

    I’m not sure those are the best ten questions to ask–I mean, seriously, “Will you beat the market?”–but some sort of checklist interrogating what you’re doing and why isn’t crazy. It’s the assumptions behind a strategy that are probably most subject to “audit.”

    One big problem is the precise definition of strategy that they mean to audit. How much detail is called for? Perhaps the Rumelt definition from Good Strategy, Bad Strategy could be used.

  2. RussCoff says:

    I use that article in class since it correlates reasonably well with the types of analyses I suggest. Its helpful for them to see that practitioners identify similar issues.

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