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Towards the Adaptive Category Management Process

Towards The Adaptive Category Management Process

The problem with the category management process

One of the most significant problems of the category management process is the lack of adaptivity. 

Once issued and approved, a category strategy hardens over time and transforms from a managerial instrument into a constraint. It neither implies the immediate state nor responds to challenges and opportunities created in the business environment.

This post will explain the adaptive category strategy's ability to change to suit changing conditions.

The taxonomy of management strategies

As for any other important activity, there's no single strategic management approach. 

On the one hand, it relies on robust centralized management systems, where the rational analysis intends to respond to environmental and competitive conditions changes.

Therefore, the intended strategy emerges, which enables economic and process efficiencies based on the existing capabilities of a firm.

It will evolve and let go of some false assumptions and failed endeavors. Hence, the unrealized strategy will spin off the abandoned parts of the intended strategy.

Then the refined deliberate strategy will remain - the one that arises from conscious, thoughtful, and organized action on the part of a business and its leadership.

On the other hand, lower-level management can indicate alternative business opportunities and engage in unplanned actions, which require adjustments to the legacy plans and practices. 

Their new strategic inputs will form the emergent strategy. It's typically viewed as the product of spontaneous innovation and often a direct result of individual contributors' daily prioritization and investment decisions.

While deliberate strategy is the virtue of corporations, the emergent one injects the startup mentality full of gambling and innovation.

Adaptive category strategy

All that mix of strategies makes the adaptive one.

Adaptive capabilities involve quickly noticing changes in the external environment, understanding stakeholders' perspectives, and developing successful responses to demands before creating survival risks. 

This is what's expected from the category strategy. 

It must be a blend of rational thinking and creative sparks. It cruises the corporate planning highways and suddenly takes sideways to respond to market fluctuations.

Most importantly, the category strategy must be a dynamic object that obtains inputs from the market, monitors risks, and renews and revisits its course accordingly.

There are four core practices to achieve that: 
- start execution as early as possible, 
- respond to changes as they happen,
- embrace and explore uncertainty,
- involve everyone in the strategy.

Perhaps, these four points sum up the complex strategic framework explained earlier. 

Use it in your category management and master the art of adaptive strategy making.

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This post first appeared on The Good Spending, please read the originial post: here

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Towards the Adaptive Category Management Process