How HISTORY helps a strategist?

I was asked more than few times, what is the problem our strategy is trying to solve? My reaction to the question is, if strategy is solving an existing problem, it is not a strategy, it is just a plan. Strategy in general, should not intend to solve an existing problem. Strategy is a long term plan (applicable to a person or an organization or a country and etc) to attain an advantageous position in the future.

No body preciously predicts the future, but techniques exist to approximate the future. Approximation in this case could be viewed as a mathematical problem or it could be viewed as astrological problem and the perspective is up to the imagination. The most analytical approach is to consider this as a mathematical problem. The bigger problem is to understand and frame the problem in a mathematical form. That is, identification of the mathematical model for the problem. Time series is one of the classical example. In time series, the approximation is done by understanding the patterns in the past and extrapolating it to the future assuming the patterns continues. But we all know the probability of history to repeat all the time is not so great.

Strategist have been approximating the future by studying the history and by applying their intuition. Some times they were close and sometimes they were way off. These patterns were recursively studied and the approximation improved over the time. To better understand and improve the strategic planning knowledge and intuition, study the history of Romans, Greeks, Mughals, Persians empires and cause of their kingdom expansion and reason for their regime’s failure. History channels have quite a few programs like engineering an empire. It would give an insight to the organization’s competitive strategy formation, analysis and management process. Most of these kingdom failed due to ignoring the obvious, selfish, over confident, under estimated the opponents and etc.

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