We all know the old adage: Good research makes for good strategy. Totally true. The challenge in most companies is that most people don’t know what to do with the research. That is not to sound condescending, but the question remains in many corporations, whose responsibility is it to determine what the implications are of the research? When teams do adopt the discipline of deciphering the environment, the output of this work is rarely reused within the company.
My conclusion: Companies need to integrate planning and research in less traditional ways, to create a more iterative process whereby a corporate knowledge base is developed and reused/constantly improved at all levels of the organization. In this way, the base of knowledge and conclusions receive the ongoing contributions of subject matter experts at all levels and in all areas of the company.
In this way:
– the critical issues of the company and the implications to planning are disseminated to every level of the company, supporting the balanced scorecard methodology of engaging every person in the company in the achievement of the strategy – recognizing that our best ideas come from people at all levels
– the collective best thinking in the company is used as input to every planning session at every level
– no team ever starts their environmental reviews from a blank page
– the company becomes accountable to act on the strategy gaps identified through these processes
– a corporate knowledge base will be available, and continually improved
When you look at the real planning needs of most companies, I think you’ll find that for many companies, it’s time to come at this from a different angle.