Daily Management Review

Ways to Improve the Strategic Planning


In most companies, the process of creating a standard strategy includes three mandatory elements:

1) You are waiting for the annual report and then make plans and revise strategy;

2) You are coming from a SWOT analysis;

3) You start the process with a long and painful exercise trying to put into words the mission, vision and ambitious goals of the organization.

It is all familiar, soothing sessions. Moreover, practically useless. Let's look at each of them separately.
I tested and know for sure: competitors will not wait for your annual report, and attack before; customers will not wait, and flop over to competitors; and new technologies also will not wait – they will jump over you and your products.

The strategy is not subject to bureaucratic, anti-market timing. Choosing a particular strategy, you must first determine what factors of the market - customer preferences, the behavior of competitors, your own capabilities - strategy depends on and continue to diligently monitor them.

While these market factors do not change, there is no reason (even harmful) to change the strategy. Nevertheless, as soon as one of your parameters pledged in calculations will lose credibility, the strategy will have to be reviewed and corrected. And do not expect your task hours, do not play into the hands of their opponents.

Most often, discussion of the new strategy starts from its analysis. But there are no advantages, weaknesses, opportunities and threats "in general".

Your benefits are meaningful only in the context of a particular choice: "where to play and how to win» (WTP / HTW), and in this context most of the weaknesses, opportunities and threats should be seen. So, analyzing before learning the full balance of WTP / HTW is boondoggle. As a result, SWOT takes much time and money and did not convince - and generally not useful. Remember the last time you read SWOT analysis, you suddenly grasped a brilliant idea? Not? That is because this analysis is spreading for miles in width, and only penetrates into the depth of no more than an inch.

Time for this analysis come when you define your opportunities "where to play and how to win" and hence will generate inverse calculation. In this case, the analysis will be precisely aimed at the barriers that stand in the way of your strategy, and will study a mile in depth and only centimeter - wide.

Usually right after the SWOT analysis developing strategies team starts preparation of the manifesto, the mission statement and the company's future. Again this is turning into a protracted painful process, team members wholeheartedly argue about the choice of words and fight for the "ideal" statement.

Unfortunately, making the statement, this application for Win, will not work unless you have decided – again - "where to play and how to win." Carefully selected words in the manifesto on the future of the company having not yet made a choice WTP / HTW is a crazy waste of time.

Dreaming itself is not bad. Of course, you can make a sketch of your policy statement before you seriously set up to choice WTP / HTW. However, more than an hour to spend is not necessary, you will hone and improve your manifesto as will choose the battlefield and rules of the game, select and exclude the possibility and determine the appropriate management system in a particular situation.
If your process of developing a strategy based on these three components, you will notice a significant progress as soon as start with the decision "where to play and how to win."

Defining a strategy is not limited to the construction and execution of a causal chain, from initial market factors and existing opportunities to the correct position in the market. No, it is a constant choice and risk. You have to bid to get where you want to go. Lay this understanding in its process of identifying and creating strategies.

Original by Roger Martin