Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Value of Scientific Planning

One major mistake that many companies made is having unstructured, long-winded strategy planning meetings. These meetings are generally fruitless and bear little impact on the end goal. The Science to The Art of Strategy, however, brings a new light to formulating strategies.

The methodology that Lafley, Martin, Rivkin, and Siggelkow described in The Science to The Art of Strategy bears a striking resemblance to the scientific method.  It provides a methodology that outlines the sequential steps as guidelines to achieve a conclusion. The steps provide a mean to achieve two things: explore all possible strategies and structure problem solving.

The methodology encourages critical thinking. The team should be composed of individuals with diverse specialty and background to generate creative possibilities. The diverse skillsets encourages the team to see things in different perspectives. By thinking outside of the box, there are more options to choose from and can help construct a bigger picture. Several steps in the framework includes listing out all possibilities, including choices, success criteria, and barriers. This thorough approach can help the team attack the issue from different perspectives and stimulate collaboration.

From Can You Say What Your Strategy Is, we identify the three core pieces, objective, scope, and advantage. However, without a methodology, it is difficult to formulate a strategy that contains all three elements effectively. With a standard strategy planning process, it keeps key players in the loop. Similar to The Real Value of Strategic Planning, people are intimately involved in the process are the people who are the decision makers. An early engagement can help solidify management’s understanding of the objective, scope, and advantage of the strategy. Another advantage to structured planning session is good documentation. With a strong methodology, there are checkpoints that ensure the strategies pursued are proper candidates. This also ensures that all options are given the same careful consideration; it prevents biases that will favor certain strategies. Lastly, structure prevents ignorance. If each step is carefully followed, the choice made should be meaningful to all participants as well as the company. If there is no structured methodology, certain steps could be overlooked and result in a subpar selection.

For small companies, it could be easier to get away without a strong strategic planning methodology. However, for larger companies, particularly the ones that have large divisions, it is imperious to have a standard methodology. Without a standard methodology, it can be easy for the meeting to go awry. A scientific methodology will encourage decision makers to think logically and bring more value to the company.

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