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What is strategic drift?

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Strategic drift is when a company responds too slowly to changes in its external environment. Instead, the company decides to simply continue with past strategies that have helped it prosper.

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A company may be out of touch with new technologies and current trends if it remains status quo with the strategies it has used in the past. Quite often, the older model is simply inappropriate and cannot compete with future trends.

One main reason for strategic drift is due to changes in the technological environment. There are, however, a few questions one can ask to analyze a possible source of strategic drift. For example, the analyst can compare and contrast the way in which the Internet is currently used in the company compared to a year ago. Areas to investigate are the way purchases are made; communicating and sharing information like videos; and the way business trips are booked.

Companies need to monitor both its internal and external environments. The assessments should include whether it is ahead of the curve, in pace with current technology or behind the curve. One example of a company that suffered from strategic drift is Blockbuster, as it did not transform into an online retailer and the company lost business to Netflix.

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