A grand strategy is a plan of action that has far greater scope and duration than a normal strategy. These may take many years to implement requiring a stable strategic direction. A grand strategy includes all the options available to a planner using all available powers under their control or influence. The term grand strategy extends from military and political strategy but is also commonly applied to business. The following are illustrative examples of a grand strategy.
Intelligence & CounterintelligenceThe pursuit of information and design of information flow to your adversaries. For example, an executive team that maintains a close eye on competitors in multiple industries with a program of competitive intelligence. It is also common for a firm to seek to misinform competitors such as a firm that announces vaporware designed to strike fear into the hearts of the competition.
Developing influence over others without any need of direct power over them. For example, a government that develops deep infrastructure ties to neighbors to create an environment of stability and economic cooperation whereby conflict is unthinkable.
Strategic CommitmentGrand strategy is often far longer term than a regular strategy and requires a consistent strategic direction that spans years or decades. For example, the American strategy of containment during the Cold War whereby power and soft power were used to stop the spread of communism. It can be argued that this strategy remained in place for several decades in a reasonably consistent form.
PropagandaGrand strategy may seek to influence all stakeholders in a strategic situation. In the case of government, this may be described as propaganda. Business influence may be described with marketing terms such as brand image. For example, an industry with a poor environmental record may spend decades attempting to improve its image with marketing techniques.
Research & DevelopmentDeveloping technologies that change your strategic situation. For example, a technology executive who sees a way to completely disrupt an industry to replace all existing competition with a new type of product or service.
Moral WinsWinning hearts and minds by doing the right thing and being on the right side of change. For example, a firm that makes a sacrifice now to get on the right side of a sweeping social change.
All OptionsGrand strategy is associated with actions that are normally considered off-the-table. For example, a business grand strategy may include approaches such as layoffs, divestiture, consolidation, mergers and liquidation that the firm doesn't normally consider a strategic option.
NotesPolitical ideologies can be viewed as grand strategies as they can provide a consistent strategic direction over significant spans of time.
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