Far too many strategic plans are lacking in vision and not strategic at all: they are merely straight line extrapolations of the past and present into the future. This type of planning is not only ineffective it can be a prescription for failure
As Gary Hamel has stated, “many times what prevents companies from imagining the future and discovering new competitive space is not the unknowability of the future, but the fact that managers tend to look at the future through the narrow aperture of existing served markets”.
In other words, limiting and outdated mental models can prevent managers from seeing and seizing upon the possibilities that exist.
Real strategic planning is about positioning the organization for a future which will be different from the past.
To create an effective strategic plan you need:
Strategic planners with open minds and mental maps that are not limited by past experience and present success.
Strategic planners with the necessary creativity to envision a future much different from the present reality and an understanding of the opportunities and threats that such a future holds.
A deep understanding of all the current and possible future developments that impact the operation with respect to:
- Political Environment
- Economic Environment
- Social Environment
A clear determination as to where to allocate improvement effort resources between benchmarking and leapfrogging:
Benchmarking is useful when trying to close the gap between your operation and that of the leader.
Leapfrogging requires more creativity in order to determine how you will become the leader.
An appreciation of the probability and impact of contingencies with questions such as:
How would new international trade agreements affect us?
How could technology leapfrog our products/services?
How could competitors attack us?
What would we do in the event of a supply disruption?
Why might our customers move away from our products/services?
How would we respond to a prolonged recession?
Where could major currency fluctuations hurt us?
An accurate assessment of current capabilities and a concise determination as to what new capabilities must be developed and which current capabilities need to be strengthened.
An accurate assessment of the resources required to move from the present position to the desired future position.
An awareness of the concept of sociotechnical management with an understanding of the human aspect of strategy implementation and the change management effort required for support.
At Nightingale Associates we realize that you possess the expertise in the operation of your enterprise.
Our role is to provide support and assist in the development of your strategic plan by:
1. Facilitating in strategic planning discussions.
Often times assumptions are taken for granted which should be questioned. Blind spots can prevent us from seeing opportunities and threats. A focus on best practices can prevent us from focusing on superior alternatives.
2. Providing critical input.
Providing critical input regarding the current and projected future environment.
It is our sincere belief that the strategic planning process can be made more robust by providing a perspective from outside the enterprise.