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January 16, 2012


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David Stoughton

Good analysis Mike. It's worth considering that many of foundations of business strategy are derived from source texts about military strategy. In the latter the assumption that the context will remain the same is tantamount to admitting defeat. "No plan survives first contact with the enemy" remains an essential axiom.

Perhaps the truth is that what passes for strategy in most businesses is really a form of long-range planning for which, when conducted according to the tenets of conventional project management, it is necessary to assume that conditions do not change radically (otherwise the agreed actions are clearly invalid).

Coping with a rapidly changing context through flexible deployment is arguably what strategy is really about. What's wrong here is that businesses only adopted the term, not the principles. Blame the MBA courses, which have been using case histories from stable (for which read not yet significantly impacted sectors) for years, shoring up the illusion of slow change giving time for 3 and 5 year plans to mature.

What is need is an understanding of, and ability to continuously balance, the variables rather than predefine the course of action. Formal business strategy only examines the variables in order to identify, and prescribe, actions, having done that it then incorporates the existing state of the variable into its assumptions. That is clearly a disaster.

What we're calling for is nothing short of total re-education of the teachers as well as the taught.

Michael Bayler

Hi David. Of all commentators, your reaction and builds are essential reading and represent a validation that is of intrinsic importance to the development of this thread.

Not only that, but your latter thought begins to point towards an intelligent and viable response. Let's try to keep this in motion.

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