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The Best Laid Strategic Plans

Nick Pollice, Sarah Kaplan, and Eric Beinhocker

Read Nick's full bio here.

The goal of long - term planning is not to strategize but; to prepare key minds to make sound decisions.

Background.

Most companies invest a significant amount of time and effort in a formal annual strategic planning process but, many executives see little benefit from the investment. One manager told us, "our planning process is like a primitive tribal ritual; there is a lot of dancing, waving of feathers and beating of drums. No one is exactly sure why we do it but, there is an almost mystical hope that something good will come out of it." Another said, "it's like the old communist system. We pretend to make strategy and they pretend to follow it."

Management thinker Henry Mintzberg has gone so far as to label the phrase Strategic Planning an oxymoron. He notes that real strategy is made informally, in hallway conversations, in working groups and in quiet moments of reflection on long plane flights, even on the golf course but, rarely in the panelled conference rooms where formal planning meetings are held.

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