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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good Strategy-Bad Strategy: Post #5--Why?

Why So Much Bad Strategy? To answer this question the author points to three problems. 1) The unwillingness or inability to choose. To create a coherent plan to execute a strategy, you have to say yes to some things, but just as often you must say “no” to others. This gets very hard when executives have pet projects and/or resources they are loathe to give up in service of a new strategy. Unless it’s a dire state, the status quo wins every time. The “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy compelled people in Detroit to keep making big cars long after things changed, but no one could see it or wanted to react to it. 2) Template-Style Strategy: Here Rumelt does a frontal assault on the typical vision-mission-values-strategy templates used by so many consultants with companies, churches, government agencies and nonprofits. One example he uses to show the futility of this approach is Enron’s values: “Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence!” He says: “…template-style strategy frees them from the onerous work of analyzing the true challenges faced by the client.” Thus, by couching issues in the more positive terms of this model, people can avoid the very difficult issues so no feelings are hurt. 3) New Thought: For ages, people have subscribed to the notion that you get what you think about. Rumelt beats up on this idea by offering the fact that we also have to think about not-so-happy thoughts if we want to vet a workable strategy.

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