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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Focused Strategic Planning

Marakon Associates published a quick review of the Harvard Business Review article from Michael Mankins and Richard Steele of Marakon entitled "Stop making plans; start making decisions."

Their premise?

  • Most executives view traditional strategic planning as worthless. Why? The process contains serious flaws.
  • First, it’s conducted annually, so it doesn’t help executives respond swiftly to threats and opportunities (a new competitor, a possible acquisition) that crop up throughout the year.
  • Second, it unfolds unit by unit—with executive committee members visiting one unit at a time to review their strategic plans.

The solution? How to improve the quality and quantity of your strategic decisions?

  • Use continuous issues-focused strategic planning. Throughout the year, identify the issues you must resolve to enhance your company’s performance—particularly those spanning multiple business units. Debate one issue at a time until you’ve reached a decision. And add issues to your agenda as business realities change.

BOTTOMLINE: Your reward? More rigorous debate and more significant strategic decisions each year—made precisely when they’re needed. Don't make strategic planning just an annual event!

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