Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Musings On Strategy: Marshalling Your Resources

Words of wisdom from Carl Von Clausewitz and others ...



Some time ago, when I was first learning about business strategy, Mike Burdett gave me a definition of strategy as ''marshalling your resources to achieve your objectives''. It has stuck in my head ever since. Thanks Mike ...

Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war!

Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war!

He introduced me to Carl Von Clausewitz's work on military strategy. "Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war" and added in Michael Porter's definition of business strategy as market differentiation.

"Do what everyone else is doing, but spend less money doing it, or do something no one else can do!"

Mike's definition still resonates with me as it sits neatly between setting your objectives for the business (the why you're doing this in the first place) and your tactics (what you do to make this happen).

It's the 'how you do it' and that starts with identifying the resources you have available and, if necessary what additional resources you need to acquire. Watch Simon Sinke's Golden Circle video below for more on the why, how, what of inspiration.

So today, I thought I'd explore what resources you need to marshal to have a strategy. I believe they come in three main categories:

  1. You as the leader

    You bring all your intellectual, behavioural and emotional intelligence to the table. Intellectually, you bring your knowledge of your product or services and business. Behaviourally you add your skills, talents and style (the way you make decisions and act) and emotionally, you apply these in the context of your values and beliefs that underpin what is important to you in how you do it.

  2. The environment you operate in

    What is the potential and limitations of your physical environment? Where do you operate physically and on-line? Does it help or hinder you? Physical geography, neighbourhood and ambience. What about the financial, technological and social environment both specific to your circumstances and generally? How does that impact on recruitment, service delivery or access to your market?

  3. The other people

    No-one is in business alone, it always involves working with other people. Who are the other people who relate to you and your business? Are others inspired, willing and able to contribute? Who informs you, connects you, refers you or simply supports you? Who potentially is going to be affected by what you do? Colleagues, staff, referral partners, competitors and collaborators, customers/clients and suppliers. What about the role of family and friends?

My first thought in writing this is how many resources we have available to us to succeed and how, when you try to define them, you realise how easy for us to undervalue the importance of some and not even realise that others are missing in our plans.

Try this exercise:

Get a large sheet of paper (flip chart sized) and write on it your long term objective. What ultimately you want to achieve for your business. Place it anywhere on the paper that seems right to you.

Now write all the real resources you have in your business for each category on it. Place them in the spaces on the paper that seems right to you. Keep going until you really are repeating yourself.

Add an arrow from each resource. Right now, in your business, is it pointing towards the objective or in another direction. What needs to happen to get all your arrows pointing in the same direction? What do you need to add in the spaces that are left?

I'd be interested in what emerges from your findings.

If you want some help with anything I've mentioned here, why not give me a call on 07970 638857, or click here to send me an email enquiry. If I don't have the resource myself, I can certainly point you in the right direction to get the help you need.

Until next time ...


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