Whether in our work or personal lives, whether for an individual endeavor or to benefit an entire organization or whether collectively or subconsciously, we’ve all asked the question: What is the best approach to getting the best result? By scientific method or from years, and even decades, of experience, a host of information exists across a range of disciplines and industries offering analysis and results of asking this very question. Today, this information is commonly referred to as a best practice, “a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.”

Also consider that many endeavors are so seemingly intricate and complex as to thwart any one, consistent approach. Take the game of football as an example, where any strategy, whether offensive, defensive, or special teams, faces an ever-changing array of players, formations, and plays. The game has been played professionally for almost a century, has witnessed thousands of games, and evolved so frequently that no one strategy has ever “beaten the game.” That has not dampened the pursuit by many to find and employ the best approach to winning the game. And the same is true of many other ventures.

Like sales. In the October 8, 2017, article, “The Different Sales Approach Methods” for balance.com,
Wendy Connick describes five approaches to sales, including The Instant Buddy, The Guru, The Consultant, The Networker, and The Hard Seller.

Naturally, strategy permeates an organization at higher levels than just sales. CEOs, founders, and senior executives all approach strategy in both varied and consistent ways. This is evident in the research on these executives in the April 10, 2017, article, “The Different Approaches Firms Use to Set Strategy” in The Harvard Business Review. The authors present the four approaches utilized in strategic decision making: Unilateral, Ad Hoc, Administrative, and Collaborative.

Whether complex and ever-evolving, straightforward and predictable, a game or a billion-dollar concern, analysis of strategy in these examples leads to one nugget of wisdom: Know yourself, know your competition.

On a daily and weekly basis, professional football teams make painstaking efforts to know their next game’s competitor, studying film, devising plays and plans in an attempt to put their best strategy forward to win, knowing that any team has the capacity to beat them if unprepared. It has inspired phrases like “any given Sunday” and “it’s why they play the game.”

“There’s no one best sales approach,” writes Connick. “Your personality and background will determine which type of sales technique is most effective for you.”

In “The Different Approaches Firms Use to Set Strategy,” the authors write, “Each of these archetypes has benefits and risks, which invites a question: Where should a firm sit in the matrix? Our interview data shows tremendous variation in archetype within each industry and across firms of similar size, which suggests that the right archetype for a given firm depends on subtle features of the company and its context.”

This month’s Quality offers you the chance to know the entire industry with perspective and analysis from our 18th Annual Spending Survey, so check out Managing Editor Michelle Bangert’s article, “It’s All About Growth.” 

Enjoy and thanks for reading!