Monday, July 13, 2015

Choose a Vision and a Strategy

Two articles from this week, “Building Your Company’s Vision” and “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy” indicate that an organization should make decisions and define goals at the start of their strategic planning, but while the first article claims that values should be defined and the style of strategy be adaptive, the latter emphasizes the need to pick a strategic style and stick with it based on industry and resources.
In “Building Your Company’s Vision,” the authors state that, “core ideology is unchanging while the envisioned future is what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create” (Collins & Porras). They argue that if our values and principals should be fixed and our strategies are ever-changing, this will breed success.
On the other hand, the article “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy” emphasizes the need to pick a style of strategy based on your industry. For example, a technology company might be choose a more visionary style because they find success through emerging technologies and being a step ahead in their field, while non-profits might choose a classical strategy, knowing that it would be difficult to change their company and that risk is not as critical, or practical, in terms of their own success.
The Collin’s article recommends by default that organizations always opt for an adaptive style – that they should always adjust to their environment and market. I argue that Collins has the first half the puzzle right – that before we embark on achieving our goals, we should commit to our values and purpose if not only so that everyone in the organization is on the same page. Like the balanced scorecard, these values and purposes guide us in our decisions and support our strategy, which is where Collins gets it wrong. Like Reeves et. al. recommend in “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy,” defining the type of strategy an organization pursues is just as important as the strategy itself. (Reeves, Love, & Tillmanns). We cannot trust ourselves to think in the moment and always do what is best to achieve our vision, mission, and goals, but instead, must plan ahead to ensure our strategic style will support these things.
Again, I will point to my own organization’s strategy planning process, which began by defining our missions, vision, and values. These items gave us a common reference for what it is we do, who we serve, and what our goals are as an organization. While we are always open to change, we have defined a strategy to achieve the goals we set out to do through our strategic planning process. Our organization’s goal is to be leaders in our field. We have chosen a visionary style in order to find efficiencies through new thinking and creative problem solving. This has been the message from the start – that we should think outside of the box and not always stick to industry norms to achieve our goal. This message of style give us direction and a common understanding of how we will all work to achieve our goals.

While defining values and vision is incredibly important in the strategic planning process, defining how we will achieve these goals is equally important. Collins and Reeves both recognize the need to lay groundwork, but Reeves follows through by saying that in order to reach our goals, we must say how we will do so. We need to define our vision and our strategy.

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