Designed for Volatility
The era of predictable implementation of strategic plans is gone. Organizational strategy, when conceptualized as a plan for reaching a set of goals, is often no sooner inked than some aspect of it is out of date. In fact, a staggering 60-90% of organizational strategies are never fully launched. Blame an uneasy geopolitical landscape, the polycrisis, and whatever combination of local and national upheaval is going on, for this volatility. Even the day-to-day life of organizations—staff turnover, high workloads, low engagement—can make strategies much more difficult to create and implement.
Sometimes this uncertainty calls for un-strategizing, which we describe as a deliberate act of unflinching learning, and deep listening with no immediate intent to create a strategy. While several organizational management approaches speak to this need for deep and active learning and unlearning, what is often lacking is a permission structure or mandate for organizations to fully lean into this process. Read How and When to Un-Strategize to learn more.
When strategic planning is required, our mantra is that it should be “easy, feasible, and effective.” We aim to make the process much more time and cost effective for organizations, while also creating strategies that are designed for volatility and creative problem-solving. Explore some of the ways in which we do this below.
"Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
— Gloria Steinem
How can we help?
Based on imaginative scenario planning work, and aided by GenAI, we facilitate the creation of multiple possible future states for the organization and its context. We then support the group to create multiple strategies according to these scenarios. The aim is not to attempt accurate predictions of what may happen but to challenge outdated assumptions and help create an overall strategy that is resilient through diversifying its approaches.
We use gamification along with GenAI for speeding up and improving the research and ideation process, to get widespread participation that doesn’t take up a lot of people’s time. When live facilitation is required, we pick from our extensive reflective dialogue toolbox to make the discussions so dynamic and efficient that time simply flies by.
Fixed and Flexible Components
We help groups identify what aspects of the strategy are fixed and what are flexible. For example, for some organizations the desired outcomes may be relatively fixed and the methods to get there flexible, whereas others may be more flexible with the outcomes, while adhering closely to certain approaches.