I asked my colleague this a couple of days ago. To her, strategy was about planning, about predicting challenges and finding means of overcoming them.
“So, is strategy about the future, the present, or the past?”

Her answer? “Strategy is all about the future, to me.”
“A plan for the future, based on...what?”

Strategy, according to Porter, is about being different. If this is true, the future is not where we need to be looking. To be different requires intimate knowledge of yourself, your core capabilities and strategically valuable resources, and the environment in the present, not years to come.

What about the past?

Mintzberg describes strategy as a ‘pattern in a stream of decisions’.

This is why you’re in the place you are now. Understanding past and present, you can develop your aims for the future - you have the power to invent and reinvent yourself at will. You can decide the long-term direction of your company, or indeed yourself. Ironically, that’s another definition of strategy.

What, then, for the future?

We’re told to predict it. But so much is impossible to predict. By understanding past and present, we can at least be somewhat prepared for the future, if not even influence it to an extent. Knowing our strengths and assets, we know the resources that we have to hand. We can adapt and employ these at any moment - and that, in a way, is all the preparation that we need.
To me, strategy is all about the past and the present. But what is strategy - to you?