Everything you're learning in this course, indeed in any course, related to leadership, management or business will be for naught if you do not understand your organization's strategy. You can use all you learn about planning, leading, organizing, and controlling, implementing each brilliantly, and succeed without knowing your organization's strategy if you're lucky. Or you could brilliantly lead people in a completely different direction than your organization intended. I once joined a team developing a new retail concept. The team had completed nearly a year of development work, and was close to its first store opening when its leader quit, and I came in. I worked very hard to catch up, and eventually became skilled at facilitating the team's work, negotiating for needed resources , and overcoming obstacles. After I'd been with them for about a year-and-a-half, and we'd open three sites, the division president secretary came to me with a folder that said strategy. She said she'd been cleaning out her boss's office found the folder, and thought I might want it. The document inside presented a brilliant strategy for our new concept, providing both big picture, and detailed views. It looked like it an amazing retail concept, and it had nothing in common with what we had created. I had taken my predecessor's plans, and implemented them to the last detail, completely, and accurately, but so what? That plan not only did not lead us to the strategic goal, in some cases, it was at cross purposes to that original goal. It had not occurred to me to ask, "What is our strategy?" It did not occur to the president to share his strategy with anyone. He wrote it out, put it in a file, and seemingly forgot about it. By the way, that company went bankrupt. I never have joined a team since without asking, "What is our strategy?" Or, "What is it we want to accomplish in the long-term?" I've never launched a new team without starting with either developing the strategic goal, and plan with the team, or if the goal is already set, ensuring all members buy into it, and understand it. If you do nothing else, as a result of this lesson, at least do this, ask, for any initiative you're working on, for any project you begin, for any major task delegated to you, ask. What is the goal? Does the implementation of this project, initiative or task support my organization strategy? Talk with senior leadership, say you would like to understand the strategy, so that you can do your best work to ensure it comes to fruition. If you're the leader, then please collaborate with those who report to you to design a strategy, and ensure all employees know it, and are working toward it. I've taught a full semester course on strategy, and we have just this one lesson. For our purposes, I'll give you the very basics you need to manage well. We'll learn about strategic analysis , and competitive advantage. I hope to give you some of the language strategy, so that you know what questions to ask, and can understand the answers given. If you want a great primer on strategy, I strongly recommend the book The Art of War attributed to Sun Tzu or Jessica Hagy's version The Art of War Visualized.