The good, the bad and the ugly

Once upon a time the bad strategy was born.
Something had gone wrong and the old family mansion was falling apart. The head of family decided to ask her closest companions to help her build a new and greater one.
They jumped at the task and picked up whatever materials were lying around. Without a particular idea of what they were looking for, they tried to create some patterns. Eventually – having identified many interesting patterns – they created a master plan including all the different patterns, so nobody felt left out. Finally, they convinced the head of family to force the plan onto everyone.
This is the bad strategy – and the typical approach in most companies. It will be fun and time-consuming, but do not expect a solid strategy.

The ugly strategy was born sometime in the mid 1900s.
The head of family had learned from the first experience and hired a team specialized in architectural wonders. They had great mansion cases, broad competencies and perfect pedigrees. This could not go wrong.
The team clarified all the problems of the head of family. They broke down the problems into different categories and prioritized based on all their experience and information. They analyzed and synthesized the knowledge into a brand new architectural wonder – a new and greater mansion. They combined the different documents into a crisp recommendation and handed it over to the head of family, who was excited beyond belief – until she realized that all that money had only bought her a piece of paper. She still needed to hire scores of specialists to translate the paper into plans and the plans into a real mansion.
This is the ugly strategy – and the scientifically correct approach, deployed by top tier consultancies. CEO desk drawers are full of such strategies, that were never implemented.


The good strategy was born in 21st century behavioural economy.
The head of family had no more room in her desk for paper plans and sought out a new method – the behavioural approach. She was surprised to learn that process was six times more important than analysis and so the mansion would be co-created in four steps with her family.
The first step involved broadening the perspective of everyone in the family on what a modern mansion could be and look like. The second step helped the family make the final decision on what kind of mansion would be the right one given the expected development of the surroundings. The third step recognized that such a process could unravel new questions to be deep dived into – but at least they did not have to go through ALL the data used in the bad and the ugly strategies. Finally, the fourth step recognized that the world changes and there is great uncertainty, so the mansion had to be built with some flexibility – a way to future proof the building.
This is the behavioural approach – minimizing classic strategy pitfalls of opportunity misinterpretation, poor design, competency misalignment, lack of follow through and disregarding external change.

This is the new way of doing strategy. Come join us.

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