Strategizing Outside of Your Comfort Zone

ReinventMan MedThe whole point of having a focused strategy is to make everyone feel safe, secure and know what direction the organization is going, right?  Wrong!  In an article that challenges that thinking (Harvard Business Review, The Big Lie of Strategic Planning, Jan-Feb 2014), the author, Roger L. Martin, states that instead it should placing bets and making hard choices.  The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success. 

He offers three rules:  

Keep it simple (a one-pager addressing where you will play and how you will win)

Don’t look for perfection (place bets and shorten your odds)

Make the logic explicit (be clear about what must change for you to achieve your strategic goal)

Comfort level strategic planning usually results in adopting one of a number of standard processes, which means the strategy is based entirely around what the company can control.  However, your marketplace is not fixed – it is changing rapidly.  That means your strategy has to be flexible to address changes in the competitive environment and make course corrections along the way.  That goes way beyond strategic planning and is so much more realistic!

Ann Banning - Wright