Where is strategic management headed? I have shared my views about the past, present, and future of strategic management in dozens of presentations, hundreds of discussions, numerous investment negotiations, and more.
For some reason, I have never put my thinking in simple writing. So here goes.
1. The Past
First, there's the past. The days of yore. The olden times. The once upon a time in strategic management.
Strategy updates in closed-off sessions
This was the time when a corporate or business strategy got updated by the management team in a closed yearly boot camp. At a remote off-site location, of course. Coming out of such a boot camp, the "new" strategy would take the form of a slide deck and a numerical targets spreadsheet to follow.
Limited use of market intelligence
Not surprisingly, true market intelligence – if any – was delivered by a group of consultants or acquired via advisory services just in time for the yearly strategy boot camp.
2. The Present
Then there's the present. The real world. The today.
Culture vs. strategy
As in many other fields, the discipline of strategic management seems polarized, or multipolar even.
Some still stick to the old ways, yearly clocks and boot camps and all. Some completely dismiss strategy, for example by quoting Peter Drucker for saying "culture eats strategy for breakfast".
And then there's the future. The time when today seems old-fashioned and slow. The tomorrow.
More collaboration and transparency
I am already seeing a major shift towards the continuous discussion, debate, collaboration, and transparency in strategies and decision-making overall. Also, as the pace of change in any business environment is just getting higher, organizations are adopting futures intelligence and foresight methodologies instead of traditional market research and market intelligence.
Such adoption calls for continuous and crowdsourced horizon scanning, collaborative sense-making, and transparent sharing of new insights. Making sure the new understanding reaches the right places for true impact: strategy processes, innovation projects, R&D, brand management, risk management, and more. Continuous feedback loops from weak signals to decision-making, taking action, and back. Ultimately reaching a state of real-time, agile strategic management.
Seeking new opportunity spaces
And yes, I am seeing the new rise of systematically seeking new opportunity spaces, of insightful strategic positioning, and of strategic competence building. Going from today to tomorrow will bring massive changes for strategic management.
Still time before that perfect strategy machine, though. But another thing is for sure as well: the days of yore will not be back. The ones that choose to stick in that world will get eaten by their forward-looking rivals.
These beliefs and insights are something we believe deeply in at FIBRES Online. Collaborative futures intelligence and continuous strategy work is a powerful combination.