Q. What is the Aim or Purpose of Strategy?
A. To improve our ability to shape and adapt to unfolding circumstances, so that we (as individuals or as groups or as a culture or as a nation-state) can survive on our own terms.
INTERPRETATION. In stating the aim of strategy Boyd uses the word “shape” to describe how we adapt to new circumstances on our own terms. Within the sales and marketing organization the direct application can be found in the desire to have control over price, product cycles, growth, profits etc. The word shape used in this context is proactive, meaning we undertake initiatives that put us into a position of control.
To shape these events to our advantage and the disadvantage of our competition we need to interact with other systems (because it is impossible to determine the character or nature of a system within itself). More importantly, the harder you try to determine the nature of a closed system from within that system, the more confusion, panic and disorder will result.
When you consider the knobs and dials used to control a typical marketing campaign they tend to be inwardly focused on quantified data, primarily budgetary in content, set against a historical context. There is no means for visualizing relative, qualitative maneuvers and there is no way of calibrating current maneuvers with future opportunities - all necessary to begin shaping an opportunity to your advantage and the disadvantage of your competition.