Sunday, June 19, 2016

Infusing Strategic Planning with Science (7 Simple Steps)

Of the papers that we read this week, by far the Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy document resonated best with me.  The publication is founded on 7 key steps that can be used as a framework for guiding the strategic planning process.  Furthermore, the authors make a number of contentions.  A few of their salient points are as follows: far-reaching / “out of the box thinking” may result in plans that cannot be executed; the status quo---rather than innovation---is supported by the strategic planning process; and that managers dread the annual strategic planning process.

While I do think that many of the steps in the suggested framework would not be considered as earth-shattering to the would-be strategist, I think that the document still serves as an excellent refresher.  For example, the approaches in steps 2 and 3 (Generating Strategic Possibilities and Specifying Conditions for Success) have several excellent tips for managing through these two critical phases.  Specifically, not shooting down ideas early in the process as well as re-packaging potential deal-breakers for a possibility into a conditional statement.  I also enjoyed the concept of re-visiting conditionals, trimming off overly-ambitious "nice to haves" and ending with a crisp list of “must haves.”

I personally found the article to be a timely read given that I will be walking into a strategic planning session this upcoming week.  The client that I will be assisting in this process manages by consensus and has a highly inclusive culture.  In my mind’s eye, I can see many cases where applying these techniques will help move manage dissonance, keep folks engaged, and move the ball forward.  Wish us luck!


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