Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Survey of Strategic Planning

An authoritative professional journal for our discipline, Strategy & Leadership [] started life as Planning Review, a publication of The Planning Forum, The International Society for Strategic Management and Planning. When The Planning Forum morphed into the Strategic Leadership Forum, the journal was redubbed Strategy & Leadership. It is now published by Emerald Group Publishing in the UK []. On a recent visit to their site, I came across an article that I found to be a great reference for our profession Strategic thinking: the ten big ideas, Robert J. Allio, Strategy & Leadership , Vol 34 Issue 4, pp. 4-13, ISSN 1087-8572.

In this article, Alio evaluates many of the strategic management methodologies that have been used in the past several decades (the basic tools for managers). He has chosen to include:
  • Long-range planning
  • Strategic analysis
  • Quality
  • Portfolio theory
  • Scenario planning
  • Resource allocation models
  • Leadership craft
  • Metrics that matter
  • Strategic alliance
At first glance this seems to be a strange amalgamation. The list goes from the generic (long-range planning and strategic analysis) to more targeted methods (quality, portfolio theory and scenario planning) to pieces of the process (resource allocation to strategic alliance). Nonetheless, it is well researched and based on Alio's 40 years of consulting experience with large organizations. It is definitely worth a look - to gain an overview of the field for the novice and a trip down memory lane for the seasoned planning professional.

The part that caught my attention was the section on Scenario planning and I was glad to see it on the list. Since my first introduction to scenarios as a Corporate Planner in the world's second largest technology organization nearly 20 years ago, I was and continue to be hooked on the process. Alio includes a brief, precise history of the process and, most strikingly to me, claims that "Some form of scenario planning is now a staple of every contemporary strategy formulation process." Would that it be so. The first time I had an inkling that scenarios were at all ingrained in thought leaders' mental lexicons was at the World Futures Societies annual conference in Toronto in 2005. In nearly every session I attended, the speaker referred to scenarios, assuming that the listeners were as familiar with the process as they were with breathing.

So as a starting point for this blog, take a look at this article. It's a good source for establishing a basis for dialogue and exploration into new methods and new applications of old methods. If the link to the article is not working for you, send me an email and I'll forward you a copy.

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