“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”

Author-educator Lee Bolman’s words sum up the importance of strategy in business. Strategy provides direction to an organization, mapping out a path to achieve business growth. The success of a strategy, however, depends on how well it aligns with business goals. But how does one assess the effectiveness of a strategy? With a Strategy Diamond framework , of course!


  1. What Is A Strategy Diamond?

  2. Elements Of A Strategy Diamond

  3. Strategy Diamond Example

  4. The Harappa Edge

What Is A Strategy Diamond?

A Strategy Diamond is a framework that helps organizations visualize their business strategy and examine how well the various elements of the strategy align with one another. Conceived by Donald Hambrick and James Fredrickson in 2001, it’s also known as the Hambrick and Fredrickson Strategy Diamond. In many ways, a Strategy Diamond framework acts as a checklist, allowing organizations to review their strategies and measure their effectiveness in a business landscape.

Elements Of A Strategy Diamond

A Strategy Diamond Model comprises five main elements. For a strategy to be effective, all of these elements must work together, reinforcing one another. Let’s look at each of the elements of the Strategy Diamond Model in detail:

1. Arenas

The first element of the Strategy Diamond framework identifies where an organization will be active. This includes geographical regions, market segments, product and/or service categories, distribution channels and customer demographics. While defining their arenas, organizations must also take into account value-chain activities and the primary technologies they’ll use.

2. Vehicles

The second element of the Strategy Diamond Model focuses on how an organization will break into its chosen arenas. This can be in the form of a joint venture, a strategic alliance or a partnership. Organizations could also opt for mergers and acquisitions, licensing or franchising to enter their identified arenas of operation.

 3. Differentiators

A wide range of factors such as price points, customization, speed of service, reliability and brand image determine an organization’s rate of success in their chosen fields of operation. In this part of the Diamond Strategy framework, organizations analyze how they’ll gain an edge over the competition—the factors that’ll set them apart and prompt customers to choose them over a competing brand.

 4. Staging And Pacing

In the fourth level of the Strategy Diamond Model, organizations determine the pace and sequence of the steps in their strategy. Available resources such as funds, workforce and knowledge base play a significant role in ascertaining the speed at which the steps will move and in what order. Organizations often consider urgent market requirements or the need to overtake competitors while making staging and pacing decisions.

 5. Economic Logic

Economic logic in a Diamond Strategy framework is concerned with maximizing profit. It assesses how an organization can generate positive returns above its cost of capital. Organizations may consider economies of scale, economies of scope or a customer’s likelihood of paying for premium services. Economic logic improves when differentiators line up well with the identified arenas.

An all-inclusive strategy ticks all the above-mentioned boxes of the Hambrick and Fredrickson Strategy Diamond. It places an organization in a position to outperform its competitors, provided the strategy is executed effectively.

Strategy Diamond Example


Let’s look at how a leading electronics brand specializing in smart watches and fitness trackers uses the Hambrick Diamond to visualize its strategy for consistent growth:

  • Arena: It identifies the youth in the US as its arena and profiles the major players operating in its target market
  • Vehicle: It establishes wholly owned stores in high-traffic, high-visibility locations within its target segment, near college and university campuses
  • Differentiators: It uses out-of-the-box design, sustainability and affordable prices as selling points
  • Staging and pacing: It intends to dominate the US market before expanding to other emerging markets
  • Economic logic: It relies on improving economies of scale to maximize revenue

This is a Strategy Diamond example. The electronics firm ensures the five elements of the Hambrick and Fredrickson Strategy Diamond align with one another to create competitive advantage and drive profits.

The Harappa Edge


Is your organization’s business strategy relevant to the current business scenario? Does it line up with your target customer segments? The Strategy Diamond framework helps answer all this and more. It’s essential for any organization looking to formulate a strategic plan to remain relevant in a fast-paced business environment. Managers need to be able to utilize the Strategy Diamond to their organization’s advantage to maximize profits and improve market position.

Harappa’s First Time Manager Program prepares early-tenure managers to take on leadership roles. Application-oriented frameworks such as the Skill-Will Matrix, Dual Concern Model and System 1 & 2 Thinking allow professionals to enhance self-awareness, take charge of personal growth and clarify deliverables.

A skill map of must-have “Thrive Skills” helps new managers develop project management skills to implement solutions and build trust. They learn to analyze problems from different perspectives, deal with conflict and manage time efficiently. They’re able to build and inspire cohesive teams, create an environment of learning for greater internal collaboration and influence stakeholders with effective persuasion techniques.

Sign up your organization today for Harappa’s First Time Manager Program and give your managers the Harappa edge!

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