Too many companies still follow a “Plan-then-Do” approach to strategy: The organization works tirelessly to create its best forecasts about the future market and competitive landscape. Leadership then specifies a plan that it believes will position the company to win in this predicted future. This approach may have made sense when first popularized by GE and others in the 1970s, but in today’s fast-paced world, the “cone of uncertainty” surrounding future market and competitive conditions is too great for companies to prescribe every element of a multiyear strategy. The Plan-then-Do approach is obsolete – even dangerous.
Today’s successful companies close the strategy-to-performance gap with a new strategy approach best described as “Decide-Do/Refine-Do”. This agile, test-and-learn approach is better suited to today’s tumultuous environment. It also helps bridge the chasms that exists at so many companies between great strategy, great execution, and great performance.
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