Business people and puzzle on wooden table, symbolizing the strategy and strategic planning as a puzzle

5 P’s of Strategy by Henry Mintzberg: A Powerful Tool to Craft a Robust Business Strategy

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Updated on Feb. 07, 2020:  We’ve stopped support of Roadmap Planner but the Roadmap feature is now available in our new goal-oriented platform – Goals by KeepSolid. This business solution provides the same opportunities to plan and execute your strategies and even more. Check out Goals by KeepSolid and stay tuned for its updates!

No businessman would argue against the importance of strategy and strategic planning in company’s success. But what exactly is a strategy and what factors should one consider when developing it?

Success is 20% skill and 80% strategy. You might know how to succeed, but more importantly, what’s your plan to succeed?

Jim Rohn

Strategy has been researched for years, both by practician business leaders and theorists. However, there hardly is a single definite answer to the above questions. Given the complex nature of strategy, the approach to defining and developing it should also be multisided.

In this article Roadmap Planner team covers such topics as the prerequisites of a strong, viable strategy, Henry Mintzberg’s model, what are the 5 P’s, how to use Roadmap Planner, and more. Be sure to check it out and start implementing the approach to your strategic planning and management to yield better results!

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Importance of complex approach to strategy, and Henry Mintzberg’s 5P model

A simplistic, one-sided approach to strategy development is unlikely to deliver great results. Besides considering numerous factors when crafting a strong strategy, you should also remember about the dynamic, ever-changing environment.

A good strategy may work out one day, but turn out to be useless the next, in the changed conditions, which are out of your control. To combat that, businesses must be quite adaptive, course-correcting strategy to meet new requirements.  

What are the 5 P’s of Henry Mintzberg

One of the frameworks that can greatly assist you was created by Henry Mintzberg. To help you craft better, more sophisticated strategies, he suggested to take into account five different viewpoints:

Mintzberg's 5P's of Strategy

This strategic framework is known as Mintzberg’s 5 Ps of strategy. These 5 Ps are not mutually exclusive, quite the contrary – they complement each other. The core idea of the Mintzberg model is – your strategy is more robust if you’ve defined it taking multifaceted approach, rather than focusing on one factor.

The 5 Ps of Mintzberg strategy theory explained

Let’s consider each of the 5 P’s of strategy by Mintzberg in detail.

  1. Strategy as a Plan

It’s probably the first thing that naturally comes to mind when thinking about strategy development. Simply put, plan is the course of action you are going to take or a guideline on how to deal with various situations. Its goal is to get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.

The importance of strategic planning cannot be overestimated. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, make sure to create a good plan and use a sophisticated tool for that, like Roadmap Planner. It helps you visualize your strategic plan and always have the big picture view of how it is going.  

The importance of strategic planning cannot be overestimated. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Click To Tweet

As mentioned, strategic planning is a crucial part of strategy development, but it alone can’t guarantee your business’ success. That’s where the other four P’s of the Henry Mintzberg’s model come in.

  1. Strategy as a Ploy

Competition in business is inevitable. Your competitor’s activities will always have a huge effect on your enterprise as you evolve in the same market. In order to stay afloat in such environment you need a ploy – specific tactics to outsmart other business players and gain huge competitive advantage.  

This perspective of Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of strategy encourages you to think one step ahead of your competitors. If you succeed in this, you’ll have high chance of taking control of significant market share for years to come. A dream of any businessman 🙂

Giphy. Jeff Probst saying outwit, outplay, outlast


What ploys you use will depend on the peculiarities of your business. Some general examples include dropping prices or exceeding in specific key areas like customer support. Analyze what strategic ploy you can implement, but don’t focus too much on your competitors, so as not to lose sight of your own strategic plan.   

  1. Strategy as a Pattern

Mintzberg’s definition of strategy also implies using the right patterns, the kind of actions that worked for you in the past. Once the working patterns are analyzed, it is then about figuring out which of them to continue or enhance and where to implement totally new patterns.

Where in the strategy process by Mintzberg you can think of a plan as an intended strategy, the pattern is the strategy in realization.

Man winning in chess symbolizing the right strategic pattern he employed

  1. Strategy as a Position

The aspect of position focuses on how the organization wants to portray itself in the market, what niche to take, how to be perceived by consumers to gain the so desired competitive edge.

The questions you need to consider when working on the position perspective of the 5 P’s of strategy by Mintzberg include:

  • What is the unique selling proposition (USP)?
  • What are the benefits of the services you offer?
  • What is the overall brand strength?

Positioning can also be viewed in terms of your sales method, your product quality, pricing, and more.

Glowing bulb symbolizing uniqueness concept and position aspect of Mintzberg’s 5 P’s strategy

According to the Mintzberg’s model of strategic management your positioning should be intentional and strategic in nature, as well as based on thorough market research. You can conduct this research using Roadmap Planner. The app provides the special strategy roadmap template designed to help you craft your perfect market research plan.

  1. Strategy as a Perspective

The fifth P of Mintzberg’s 5 P’s strategy, perspective, is aimed internally. Its focus lies on the organizational culture and the way organization views itself.

In order to bring results, perspective must be shared by all members of an organization. So the important task of senior management is to successfully communicate the company’s strategic vision and values to the employees.

One of the best ways to do it is to use visual presentation. The good news is that advanced strategy roadmap software like Roadmap Planner does have the presentation feature. Develop strategy and roadmap in the app and communicate them to your partners and colleagues in a professional way.

Business woman is presenting the company strategy with Roadmap Planner

When you can apply Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of strategy

5 P’s of strategy model can be used on various stages of your strategic planning and management:

  • Before creating your strategy, when you conduct initial analysis and gather inputs. On this stage the five P’s can help to ensure you’ve collected all the required information.
  • When analyzing suggested strategic ideas.
  • When your strategy is already developed. Verifying if it complies with the 5 P’s can help to ensure you’ve covered all the angles.
  • When analyzing plans that derive from the developed strategy. Ensuring that all the five P’s are covered in the plans does not let you deviate from the chosen course.

Man in business suit holding the cubes symbolizing the concept of planning using Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of strategy for success

Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of strategy summary

Mintzberg’s model makes you think through a variety of angles that you may not have considered otherwise. Planning your strategy from the five different viewpoints outlined by Mintzberg’s 5 P’s strategy makes it much stronger and more robust.

Combine this multifaceted approach with Roadmap Planner, the professional strategy roadmap software, and steer your organization towards a successful and prosperous future!

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