When reading ‘Bringing Science to The Art of Strategy’ by Lafley, Martin, Rivkin and Siggelkow (2012), I considered three statements to be synergetic and very important to the success of strategy possibility generation. First, the article states that the whole reason of strategy possibility generation is to avoid falling in the trap of investigating the own company data, related for instance to a declining market share or profit, but instead pay attention to facilitating exploration of alternative solutions.
The second statement is that there should always be multiple possibilities generated by the strategy teams, as a company should always consider itself as facing a choice. Adding the status quo to the list of possibilities will not only provide a reference on which to assess the impact of the other possibilities, but it can also be extra insightful to investigate further how the status quo pans out in the future and make it subject to potential doubt.
The third statement is that in possibility generating teams, there should always be one or more operational level managers. Including the people who will have to work with the solutions, will not only increase the knowledge on what can and can’t be implemented from the lowest level point of view, but it also increases acceptance and initial knowledge of the potential solution, as the lower level manager was included in the process from the beginning.
The end of the third statement touched upon what I aimed for in the first paragraph as ‘very important in successful strategy generation’: Acceptance of the potential solution. In one of my earlier courses at CMU, I was taught that any consulting recommendation’s success is dependent on two main factors: Quality of the recommendation and Acceptance of the key stakeholders. I believe that this should also be applied to strategic possibility generation. You can make the most effective and creative strategy in the world, but if you do not get your colleagues or employees on board for this strategy, it will never see the light of day, or will never reach its full potential.
Coming back to the statements introduced before, not just the third, but all statements link to the concept of increasing acceptance. Providing multiple options for solutions will make stakeholders pick a preferred solution, causing them to be a lot more supportive of that solution and trying to convince others of its potential, when it is picked to be implemented. The process described in ‘Bringing Science to The Art of Strategy’ can thus be seen as increasing the possibility of achieving high acceptance, and therefore success of the strategy’s implementation.