Strategy Is Great, but What about Planning?
As you may have realized, this understanding of strategic planning does away with the “planning” in its name almost entirely, but, at the end of the day, strategy and planning don’t really have anything to do with each other. As we explained above, strategy is more theoretical and abstract. It asks leaders to formulate what they believe will happen in their market and to identify the opportunities that provide them with the greatest benefit if those predictions come true.
Planning and all its variations, on the other hand, focus on concrete things that can be controlled, like costs and value streams. In simplifying strategic planning to mere strategy, it realizes its purpose as a guide through future uncertainty instead of a ruler to measure every inch of progress.
That being said, a company can’t and shouldn’t do away with planning altogether. Plans are still critical for evaluating profitability and outlining what needs to be done in the weeks and months to come.
The meticulousness of strategic plans was intended to bridge the gap between higher-level strategy and day-to-day planning. If we do away with this kind of strategic planning and just focus on strategy, how can we make sure our plans and strategy are aligned going forward?
Filling the Gap Between Strategy and Planning with LeanPPM
At Meisterplan, we believe that Lean PPM is the solution here. We’ve written a whole lot about Lean PPM. How does this concept fit in with this new conceptualization of strategy, though? Luckily, it’s pretty hand-in-glove. The diagram below will help make this clear:
Strategy sits on top of the decision-making process. As you can see, it has a one-way relationship with the decision-making stage. This is because strategy is a process focused on the external.
When steering a ship, the looks at the water around him. Based on the horizon and the tack of the wind, he relays orders to the rest of the crew. They then make decisions on how to tie the sails, which to unfurl, and so on and so forth.
The goings-on in the ocean around a ship should influence how a captain navigates. In the same way, executives and stakeholders need to steer their company based on the realities of their market. This is the crux of the relationship between strategy and decision making.
This integrates a dynamic, emergent strategy approach into the equation. It is not about strategizing once every few years and checking now and again what the strategy was. It requires business leaders to have a pulse on the world and the market, to adapt their strategy as circumstances change and to pass this information on to decision-makers.
Although this isn’t as much time and effort as the traditional slog of strategic planning, it is nevertheless intensive and time-consuming. The best way to make time for strategizing is to reduce the effort needed on the planning side of things. The easiest way to do this? Using a software that creates transparency and facilitates emergent planning processes.