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