Sunday, May 29, 2016

Something to think about before strategic planning

The readings for this week have brought up some interesting thoughts. Many of the challenges happen in the real world and all what these articles talk about is taking a step back before doing strategic planning.

I was involved in the roadmap planning in our department. And we had the same doubt that does this planning section really worth the investment of time. In “the Real Value of Strategic Planning”, the author referred that “real strategy is made informally”...and “is made in real time”. “Companies that achieved such success used… as a learning tool to create ‘prepared minds’ within their management teams”. Instead of creating a fixed plan / recommendation to upper management, now I view this planning section more like a knowledge synchronization. During the process, I will pay more attention to the facts that limits other groups. So when things change, I can adapt my plan accordingly.

In “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy”, the authors remind us to think of the predictability and malleability of the industry before strategic planning. The way oil industry (which is relatively predictable) makes strategy should be different than internet software industry. Without warning, a new platform or standard might fundamentally change the competition. Besides choosing the right strategic style, a company should also avoid misplaced confidence, un-examined habits and culture mismatch. Given the variety of geography, a company should try different modes as well.

Core ideology is another factor should be included when doing strategic planning. In “Building Your Company’s Vision”, the author states that core ideology defines a company’s timeless character. And it is something you discover instead of inventing. Core ideology consists of two things: core values and core purpose. Core values are those the company would keep even the circumstances changed and penalized it. In the company I work for, it views people as one of it’s core value. Even during the economic downtime, the company did not lay off any pilots and truck drivers. To help cut the cost, everyone agreed to a 5% deduction in payroll. Core purpose should keep inspiring changes, like a guiding star on the horizon. In FedEx, “Purple promise” is the core purpose. No matter how technology innovates, FedEx people promises to deliver packages on time and do whatever it takes to satisfy customers.

(This is a re-write blog for the week before May 23rd )

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