Why do growth strategies falter?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. In a panic, changing the strategic agenda is much easier than convincing other minds to follow a particular strategic avenue. Why has that particular avenue been chosen? Probably because you are accountable for the growth strategy, and it is your prerogative to analyze the options and choose among them.

However, this top-down style and the managers that deploy them are in a high risk situation. The leaders of the future understand that TIME is our most scarce resource and that unilaterally forcing an agenda is futile on a stubborn-as-a-mule culture.

Fortunately, there is a better way. The strategic process and strategizing buys time and helps bring the future closer to the present. But to change a culture, the team must be brought through the process so that they can come to share the same conclusions as you have. Recognizing that your team also has a lot at stake in the strategy process and allowing them the space to contribute creates more agile, robust and resilient strategies. Meanwhile the burden of accountability is delegated to the team and the manager is put into the facilitator role.

In his reply to this question Why do growth strategies falter? Mr. Barbour points to scenario planning as an alternative to growth strategies. The dialogue-based scenario planning process accomplishes this cultural change through a facilitated strategy development process so that the motivations behind the strategy become explicit and understood.

When was the last time you took a serious look into the future? How far did you get? The complex interdependent system we are a part of holds a different baseline scenario for each individual. Through scenario planning, we are able to talk about the future in a structured framework that unites the power of each individual’s mental model. Only as a group can we dedicate ourselves to see deeper and further into the future.

Done properly, growth strategies such as Blue Ocean and Porter’s Diamond are incorporated into the dialogue-based scenario planning process. These tactical elements contribute to bring the future closer to the present and buy time. Here are some resources to get started with scenario planning:


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