Today I read an article in the January – February issue of Harvard Business Review titled, “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning” by Roger L. Martin. Martin’s article outlines the differences between "strategizing" and "planning". Martin describes strategy as "scary". Martin theorizes that “spending weeks or even months preparing a comprehensive plan for how the company will invest in existing and new assets and capabilities in order to achieve a target – an increased share of market, say or a share in some new one. The plan is typically supported with detailed spreadsheets that project costs and revenue quite far into the future. By the end of the process, everyone feels a lot less scared”. Martin continues by stating “This is truly a terrible way to make strategy. It may be an excellent way to cope with fear of the unknown, but fear and discomfort are an essential part of strategy making”.
Martin describes “comfort traps” of poor strategizing approaches related to planning, cost-based thinking, and self-reference. He provides a quick checklist to help assess where your company may be with regard to strategy:
Great news for customer experience professionals – another shout-out to the importance of evaluating customer perceptions and satisfaction. Key metrics with regard to your strategy should more often be based on customer perceptions based on internal things you control such as cost.