The problem with traditional strategic planning is that it does fit with the needs and priorities of managers and their teams. Indeed when it comes to strategy here is what you are likely to hear from managers:
Here are some of the problems that managers have with the traditional approach to setting strategy:
1. Anything that distracts from meeting this quarter’s number is to be avoided – there is little time for strategy away-days and endless management meetings. The manager and his team must stay focused.
2. Given the pressure to deliver this quarter, there is a bias towards quick fix solutions in respect of performance or growth. Initiatives with some distant promise of a payback, have little appeal. Yes, things may need to be fixed, but not this quarter and not at the sacrifice of this quarters number!
3. Besides managers (especially in large organizations) often feel powerless when it comes to ‘more strategic issues’ such as changes in process, systems and so on. If something is ‘strategic’ then it ‘is going to be slow, or difficult to change’.
4. There are dependencies on other departments or functions (from finance, to marketing), and the need for committee meetings, workshops and other time consuming activities. Addressing them can consume a lot of time and show little payback in the short term, if at all.
5. Some even go as far as to suggest that the typical ‘Type A’ manager is by nature not a strategic-thinker. They are ‘too impatient for action and results’ and that makes them weary of ‘blue ocean’ thinking, strategic naval gazing, analysis paralysis and endless discussion. Because they have seen lots of strategy discussions go nowhere they greet the next invitation to a strategy away-day with skepticism.