Strategic Thinking Guide. Strategy as a discipline is a source of many misunderstandings and arguments in organizations around the world.
It seems that man, since ancient times, has associated the strategy with mystical and esoteric rituals reserved for a narrow circle of selected and enlightened individuals. In the Ancient era, the Greeks traveled to the Prophet Sibyl in Delphi, however, to advise her before leaving the battle. Many leaders and managers alike today behave, by prophesying their prophets in the form of non-transparent bundles of fundamentally meaningless data embedded in various tables and reports of the MIS (Management Information Systems). Many of them comfort and find relief in numbers, forgetting that they do not differ from the ancient Greeks who listened carefully to Sibila’s messages from Delphi.
But the strategy should not be overwhelmed by mystics, as the quality strategy sets clear features: clarity of thinking and balance of knowledge that are equally based on intuition and rational analysis – in the context of incomplete information and complex circumstances. For the strategy, it is important to state how it is implemented in the social context, in the organization and its competitive environment, therefore, we have to admit it, in a very uncertain context that defies rational analysis. In this regard, I argued that physics as a science with only three laws explains 99% of the occurrence, while at the same time 99% of the management’s law at best explains only 3% of the occurrence. Although the context for implementation of the strategy is obviously uncertain and complex, the basic purpose of this text is to show that creating a strategy does not have to be so turbulent. The following is a clarification of the approach to strategic thinking.
It’s actually about a well-known process when a group of wise men gather to analyze the available data, after which they decide why, where and how to compete, how to be different and how to function differently on the opportunities and threats of the environment. The described approach – which we often come across in the EU – is being developed in the labs of large consulting firms, and in particular advocates the approach that “… strategy must be based on logic and rational analysis, and experience and intuition should be rejected.” However, with the emergence of continuous, rapid and extensive business environment changes, the value of the strategic planning process is increasingly questioned as practice shows that mere analytical analysis of data, which is always more or less deficient and incomplete, does not lead to quality strategies. Truly successful strategies can not be “planned” because they unexpectedly “sour” somewhere in the system. Asking a planner to create a quality strategy is the same as asking a mason to make Michelangelo’s sculpture. Experience tells us how traditional processes, despite elaborated rituals, are by themselves rarely when they result in quality strategies. Although some criteria and indicators help to ex ante evaluate quality, the real strategy rating is only possible ex post. The aforementioned awaits the “small secret” of the strategic industry set up by leaders, managers, economic institutes and faculties, business schools and advisory firms: the fact that robust and concrete theory of generating successful strategies, and the practice of not talking, just does not exist. Where do they come from? How are they born? Why are they born? How to back them up? Answers to these essential questions nobody knows! The approach to the strategic thinking I also write does not deliver the final answers. However, by returning to the individual, his dreams, his aspirations, his passions, his feelings and knowledge, I clearly point out that it is high time in the context of the strategy to leave obsession with analysis and realize that numerals are only a mere approximation, though useful, but only if we accept them as they are, simplified images of reality, not solid and rigid “laws”. It is a long time to reject the idea of how the strategy is reserved for “those at the top” and in the process of intensive dialogue and confrontation on strategic issues involve as many people as possible. Because, we will only be awake from time to time and through where they “spring up”.