Strategy, like evolution itself, started at the beginning of time. From mankind‘s inception, people have been devising ways to outsmart and outperform each other in a game of survival of the fittest. Survival, however, has always depended on people’s ability to adapt, plan, and evolve into something stronger and better. In other words, survival depends on strategy.
Much like people evolve, so do successful businesses. Strategic planning is a process of evolution where making the right moves, with the right information, at the right time is vital to achieving strategic success. Strategy truly is a process of planning.
The Evolution of Strategy
Strategic processes all have a starting point. For businesses, this starting point derives from an organizational need to adapt, compete, and evolve within a competitive market. Early strategy innovators Henry Mintzberg and Max MacKeown, understood this and defined strategic planning as a “pattern in a stream of decisions” and about “shaping the future.” However, developing a pattern and shaping the future first require laying a foundation for success. Successful businesses pinpoint an overall vision, break down that vision into individual plans of action, and then change or reevaluate their plans based on key performance indicators. They understand strategic planning is a top down process where every level of an organization is part of the strategic planning process.
The Evolution of Tech
Understanding the strategic process and implementing it are two very different things; one requires knowledge while the other the execution of that knowledge. With the invention and launch of the first personal computer in 1975 strategic planning evolved. Today’s modern computers give organizations the ability to develop strategic planning models and develop strategy software that allows every level of an organization to view and execute a plan. Whether a dashboard, a vision statement, or even KPIs, the invention of the modern computer and strategic planning software has allowed corporations to align strategies at every level and move beyond the paper and pencil plans of the past.
The Evolution Endgame
Having the right knowledge base and the right tools to succeed are important when evaluating performance management. Equally Important to strategy is adaptability. Humans have survived by their ability to adapt and change with their environment. Rigid end goals without flexibility are as doomed to die as the dodo bird.
CEOs and managers who hold fast to end goals, without evaluating if the end goals continue to make sense, lose their ability to affect real change or to develop even stronger goals with greater viability. Strategic planning should always be a process of evaluation, collaboration, management, and adaptation. Corporations who do this will achieve a winning strategy that is truly a process of evolution and will better stand the test of time.