When I was at Northeast Consulting (NCRI), we frequently observed that it's OK to be wrong as long as you figure out that your wrong before your competitors do. Dynamic strategy setting using scenario planning is one major tool for assessing current strategy, whether it's product, business unit, or corporate strategy.
Interactive processes leading to strategy decisions are highly effective for setting goals and strategies for attaining them. Interactive processes also go along way toward aligning the company with the chosen strategy. This is because in the best circumstances, the management team responsible for implementation was directly involved in determining the strategy.
An effective corporate or business unit strategy project should, at its conclusion, leave each person knowing what they should be focused on when they come to work the next day.
But what about the day after the day after? The quarter after the quarter after?
The materials produced by participants in scenario planning projects have as much value after the project as at the conclusion of the project. Event sequences and cards on the wall can form the foundation of an effective "war room".
To be effective, a particular person has to be responsible for at least the following:
- Keeping the war room up-to-date. Stuff happens. There should be a convention for indicating which Events have happened and how the actual event corresponded to the hypothetical event. Sooner than expected?
- Communicating Event "stuff" to others in the organization. It won't help the collective knowledge base if only the keeper of Events knows.
- Soliciting input on changes to the desired scenario. Maybe others can suggest new Events that need to be evaluated. Are proposed new events consistent with the chosen scenario? If not, is there a message to the Company?
- Asking managers to assess the extent to which their goals are aligned with the strategy. If not, why not? If so, with what results?
- The War Room can be the basis of a quarterly strategy review. Is the strategy still right? Are course corrections necessary?
- Sometimes many Events happen are not consistent with the strategy. When that happens, alarm bells should go off. Time to do a serious reassessment of the strategy.