But what if it were True? – a new approach to Strategy Development

Authored bycascade

HBR has a great article in this month’s magazine on a new approach to strategy development.  While the article borrows a bit too liberally from scenario planning approaches (Shoemaker, etc.) without giving credit where credit is due, the new approach does have one great hook.

The authors point toward an approach that flows as follows:

  • Step #1 – Frame a choice into two mutually exclusive options
  • Step #2 – Generate possibilities to broaden the range of options and in so doing, “detail the advantage you aim to achieve, the scope across which the advantage applies, and the activities required to get there…”
  • Step #3 – Specify the conditions that must be true for the choice to be strategically sound
  • Step #4 – Identify Barriers – identify the conditions that are least likely to be true
  • Step #5 – Design Tests for each Barrier condition
  • Step #6 – Conduct the Tests
  • Step #7 – Make the Choice

What’s fascinating is the approach used in Step #3.

By focusing on what must be true and leaving aside whether it can be true at that moment in time, companies avoid the bitter conference room battle that erupts when someone’s pet theory about the future is attacked.

By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart

The next step from the author’s perspective is to have the tests for each barrier condition designed by the very person who felt that the condition was least likely to ever become true.

All in all a great way to approach the problem.

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