Philosophy vs strategy

We were talking at work about strategy – and having rather a good discussion about it.  

Hmmm … enjoying a conversation about strategy. Does that surprise you?  It did me too … but if honest, the lead facilitator, who I’d asked to come along to share what she knew about strategy with a group of us who weren’t experts (and she knows an awful lot) brought the entire subject to life, and we all really got interested in it.  So much so that someone posed the question … is it philosophy, or strategy?  So I looked it up, and came to my own very humble opinion that the difference between the two might be described thus:

Philosophy – feels more like the what, the aim

Strategy – feels more like the how, your objectives and outcomes.

Not wishing to overplay semantics with these words and concepts, I came to the conclusion that what really matters is if you can introduce something into your organisation that resonates with everyone, that is meaningful and memorable.  Call that a philosophy, or values, or a mission or a vision – they might be moot points, and not necessarily mutually exclusive.  And as for strategy … our lovely speaker reminded us … strategy is just a document, yet in the meantime people are getting on, doing business.  Hmm, very philosophical.

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