When is something so baked into your culture that you no longer need to put it into your strategic plan? This post will put some light on this question or it may create more thinking than answers.
When your strategy is so ingrained into the culture do you still need to list it as a strategy in your strategic plan? I’m talking fully baked in, that the concept has become part of the DNA of the entire organization, like a chocolate chip cookie can’t be a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips. Does Nordstrom’s have to say that they will be known for exceptional service in their strategic plan each year or is it so ingrained in the culture that it does not have to be said any longer. Does Nordstrom have to identify measurable objectives that align with that strategy any longer? If you don’t include it as part of the planning process do you become like these large enterprises that loose their way until one day someone recognizes the path was lost for focusing only on money and the strategy became how to we make more money. Do you disconnect from the customer so much that they would no longer miss you if you vanished as a company? How many of you would miss Kodak if it disappeared as a company today? How did they miss the strategy to change as the market changed? Did they not even ask the question early on as the digital camera came into market? If they missed, why were they the ones that hold some of the best patents in the digital camera market in which many of the other competitors are paying them today? (See Patent Fights)
If you do not keep asking the question do we have the right strategy? Might you find yourself in unwanted and crowed markets with too much competition. If you are Nordstrom and decided that you were already meeting your best customer service strategy, how long would it take before someone would catch up to you? Or what if you continued to pursue this strategy and the world (OMG I hope not) no longer valued that strategy, how would you respond? For example if you were Kodak and your strategy was to be the number one film maker in the world and no one wanted to buy film what kind of strategy would that be?
A strategy is about making a set of decision based on the current and ever changing facts of the environment that you operate in as an organization. As markets are changing so fast how can you not always reconsider the strategic planning process when your future predictions are not being met my the strategic plan. And how can you as an organization become so inflexible to imagine that however the market changes you are not going to follow. And conversely how many of you operate in a market environment in which an annual evaluation is not enough to check to see if your strategic plan is correct. If you don’t label it, measure it then you’re apt to not evaluate it in your process of strategic planning. As your strategic planning just let’s you stay with embedded assumptions based upon cultural norms you may find that it is those norms that prevent you from the change you need as an organization.