Let's talk strategy

I love a good graph, maybe it's the economist in me, but things always make the most sense when you can put it in a nice visual representation of less and more. If you are further to the right then you're more of this and if you are closer to the bottom then you're less of that. Yeah, now you're starting to like graphs, too, aren't you?

One of my favorite graphical representations from grad school was the matrix illustrating the Miles and Snow Strategy Typology (I have a picture of it below).

We based our semester's assignment on this matrix- asking- "is your business more of an analyzer or are they more of a reactor in the marketplace?" We had debates on what type of business is better suited for this industry and that. It was all so interesting. Today, we're summarizing the Miles and Snow Strategy Typologies for you- so go ahead and see where your business lies and what potential strengths/weaknesses you may face as a result.


A prospector may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Learning orientation

  • Flexible, fluid, decentralized structure

  • Values creativity, risk-taking and innovation

These organizations are innovators and developers. They are always seeking to create the 'next big thing,' rather than sitting still with products that have been previously been developed and released in the market. These companies may have big wins, but also risk big losses.


An organization that identifies as a defender in the market place may look like this:

  • Efficiency orientation

  • Centralized authority and tight cost control

  • Emphasis on production efficiency and low overhead

These businesses are often found in mature marketplaces where there is less of a chance to innovate, so they primarily seek profits or revenue. Instead of investing money in new developments, this kind of an organization is going to relish in the rewards of what they have already created. This particular strategy is typically one that a business shifts to as the market matures.


An analyzer-focused organization:

  • Balances efficiency and learning

  • Tight cost control with flexibility and adaptability

  • Emphasis on creativity, research, and risk-taking for innovation

They are usually market leaders, often large organizations that will build upon others' innovations and develop new products periodically. This type of firm will generally observe the market and then seek to meet its demands as successfully as possible. Due to their large size, this type of company can be late to the market and still prove successful in the end.


Reactors will observe these behaviors:

  • No clear organizational structure

  • Design characteristics may shift abruptly depending on current needs

A reactor is just what it sounds like, they react. Companies who react to the market are almost always going to be surpassed by organizations who are able to innovate, defend, or analyze successfully.

Did you figure out which one of these matches your business the closest? Do you want to figure out how to shift or change your strategy? No worries, Out of the Box Advisors has your back! We offer specialized consultation and business advice to help you build a strong, thriving organization- let's grab a coffee and chat about it.

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