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“Strategic planners pride themselves on their rigor. Strategies are supposed to be driven by numbers and extensive analysis and uncontaminated by bias, judgment, or opinion. The larger the spreadsheets, the more confident an organization is in its process. All those numbers, all those analyses, feel scientific, and in the modern world, “scientific” equals “good.”
“Yet if that’s the case, why do the operations managers in most large and midsize firms dread the annual strategic planning ritual? Why does it consume so much time and have so little impact on company actions? Talk to those managers, and you will most likely uncover a deeper frustration: the sense that strategic planning does not produce novel strategies. Instead, it perpetuates the status quo.”
So starts the Harvard Review article (Sept. 2012), “Bring Science to the Art of Strategy.”
I agree entirely with their analysis of the problem; however, I agree less with their solution to the problem. In my view strategy needs logic and magic; the weighting of which depends mostly on the level of change the strategy will require in technology and changes it will require in people.
In a more predictable market where there are few changes required in either technology or people, a weighting towards logic may be appropriate; however, in a less predictable market (and today most are) more magic is required. Today the environment for most strategy processes is requiring a more “Magic” (sometimes called Wicked) approach; despite this, most strategist rely on the “Classic/Management” approach described above.
In my experience most New Zealand organisations rely far too much on the logic approach. As a result, many strategic workshops are boring, and not nearly as successful as they could be. We need a new model of strategy.
Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or +644 570 0727 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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