Five minutes on … Strategy, what strategy?

Do you have an approach that puts your people at the heart of the strategic intent?

the pitfalls of strategic planning process as you may know it …

  • underlying view that systems think, not people; that strategy can be programmed and people merely inserted into the process ie obsessive rationality vs seasoned judgement
  • traditional methods like competitive analysis foster imitation and caution; while new competitors move in, redefine and reinvent market
  • what has been missing: how to create (and form) strategy; no amount of going through systematic motions using formulae, models, information collected and analysed, implementing and evaluating is a substitute for non-linear thinking
  • locks in existing strategies: easy to ignore or dismiss new emerging opportunities
  • separates formulation and implementation: isolates planning function and process from people who will carry it through
  • detached, analytical (and often little more than flesh on financials); when what is needed is emotional commitment to change and business development; strategy should come from deep inside the organisation and its people
  • biased to incremental change, when sometimes quantum leaps in thinking and action are needed
  • generic strategies, so popular over the past decade, are not really so: worked out by academics as after-the fact case studies
  • unpredicted events generally overtake ‘5-steps into the future’ plans; no amount of adding detail to process or more inputs into model will predict discontinuous change
  • detaches planners; cut off from direct personal access to information; ‘hard’, quantitative data on its own lacks richness and context

what to put in its place?
Essential for line managers to re-take control. Strategy has to become immersed in and part of commercial reality. Doesn’t mean doing everything, but owning the process.

Some ideas:

  • create a process of learning-formation: reconnect thinking and acting; make process sporadic and dynamic; combination of analysis, intuition, learning
  • only role of ‘planners’ should be as catalysts, helping managers plan, stimulating thinking, not doing it for them; used as expert professionals, consultants, or facilitators
  • managers don’t just take on role of strategy planners, but become definers of corporate purpose: creating an organisation with which members can identify and share sense of pride
  • start new planning department from scratch with a difference: focus first on getting planning process as part of management process, then a lean staff of one or only a few

Strategy shouldn’t be a dirty word.

It’s the starting point for any organization; from which the business plan, governance, the operations and financial models should flow. This should be true for all organisations. What is sometimes overlooked is that it should be done with the staff not on the staff, and that comes back to managing change.

Contact all about talent and we can help you review your business strategy.

This entry was posted in JIT: Business development, Strategy, The leadership toolbox. Bookmark the permalink.

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