Henry Mintzberg (pic) is probably the world’s number 1 expert on strategic planning. And its harshest critic.
In his most famous book on the subject, The Rise and Fall of…he upset just about every business guru (and lazy manager) by demonstrating a number of uncomfortable truths:
– there’s no correlation between the quantity and quality of strategic planning and the outcome for the business
– obsessing with forecasting is a waste of time as no forecast is much use for very long or for long range thinking (most forecasts lose their accuracy quite quickly)
– “strategic” staff tends to create unnecessary work and highly political internal focus
– “thinking” separated from the organisation’s key processes is largely ineffectual
I think there’s another one: most strategic planning (including that which marketing, political and advertising folk indulge in) is misguided because it is based on a poor grasp of how things work.
In general management’s case this can be about anything (as Pfeffer illustrates in the companion piece to Mintzberg’s meisterwerk)
In marketing and communications, it tends to be about mass behaviour.
If you don’t understand how that works OR if your model’s assumptions are half-baked then…what chance do you have?
So while the old S King “where are we now, where do we want to go, etc” strategic triangle is all very well but I’d just like us to have a little think about the behaviour we’re trying to change and how it arose (if you don’t get that then how can you hope to change it?)
Maybe “how did they get to do this?”? Don’t bother with anything else til that’s cracked.
What do you think?