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Agile strategy is supported by four types of value propositions

An organization’s stakeholder value proposition is an important part of strategy, along with a firm’s vision and mission.  

The classic definition of strategy is this:  A set of choices to achieve a competitively advantaged market position that delivers added value.[1] Strategies help organizations perform activities that outperform those of rivals, or help firms perform similar activities but in different ways to gain competitive advantage.

A strategy sets the stage for an organization’s deployment of resources to provide value to stakeholders and/or gain an advantage over competitors.[2]

During strategy discussions, the customer value proposition is typically explored,

The customer value proposition outlines the unique mix of product and service attributes customer relations and composite impact that a company wants to offer. It defines how the organization will differentiate itself from competitors to attract, retain and deepen relationships with targeted customers.[3]

Here are three additional stakeholder groups

Three additional stakeholder groups are essential for shaping targeted, more robust value propositions that enhance an organization’s competitive advantage: Owners, partners, and employees.[4] 

  • The owner value proposition describes the value the organization aims to provide for its owners to justify participation in its ownership.
  • The partner value proposition outlines the benefits the organization aims to provide to those who contribute to the org customer value proposition, such as suppliers, distributors and wholesalers.
  • The employee value proposition recounts the set of associations and offerings provided by the organization in return for its employees’ work, skills, capabilities and experiences.

Good strategy questions for your value proposition break-out discussions

When structuring a value proposition discussion, here are excellent questions that could be posed in a break-out session focused on each of the four audiences (customers, owners, partners and employees):

  • What does our organization do for (customers – owners – partners – employees) that no one else can?
  • What benefits do we bring to our (customers – owners – partners – employees)?
  • How do our organization and products/services make (customers’ – owners’ – partners’ – employees’) lives better? 
  • How can these benefits be conveyed so that our (customers – owners – partners – employees) understand why they should do business with us instead of someone else?
  • What value does our organization have in the mind of our (customers – owners – partners – employees)?

Answers to these focused questions can be frequently reviewed and updated as needed. That way, your value propositions for each stakeholder group will remain market-driven and crisp. This ultimately will result in timely and competitive messaging, products, and services developed for each group.

[1] Porter, M. E. (1996). “What is a strategy?” Harvard Business Review (November-December): 61-78.

[2] International Association of Strategy Professionals (2022). Body of knowledge, 3.0.

[3] Kaplan, R.S. and Norton D.P. (2000). “Having trouble with your strategy? Then map it.” Harvard Business Review, September–October.

[4] Hadaya, P., and Gagnon, B. (2017). “Business Architecture: The Missing Link in Strategy Formulation, Implementation and Execution.” ASTATE Publishing, Montreal.