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It is said that when the legendary college football coach Woody Hayes was asked why he preferred to run the football ball rather than pass it, Hayes replied, “Only three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad.”

As the Dilbert cartoon helps illustrate, you encounter much the same odds when your business strategy is developed exclusively by senior management.

Dilbert.com

Much like with a forward pass, three things can happen and two of them are bad.

  1. As in the case of Dilbert, the business strategy has a huge defect that the group that developed either it could not see or, because of groupthink or confirmation bias, would not see.
  2. The business strategy is sound, but because it is both unfamiliar to and lacks buy-in from anyone outside senior management, implementation fails.
  3. You get lucky, the business strategy is sound—even though it lacks diverse perspectives—and your organization is strong enough at implementation so you wind up creating strategic impact.

But why depend upon luck and extraordinary implementation for your business strategy to succeed?

By involving diverse participants in your strategic planning process, you can flip those odds. Involving the right people, and even the right groups of people, beyond senior management contributes toward creating strategic impact in three very important ways:

  1. It increases, sometimes exponentially, the number of ideas and strategies you develop and consider. And it greatly increases the variety and scope of those ideas and strategies.
  2. It helps those ideas and strategies be more thoroughly and critically refined and analyzed.
  3. It helps with implementation. A strategic planning process involving diverse participants comes with built in buy-in from the types of people that will have to understand and believe in the business strategy to implement it successfully.

It is, of course, possible to mess up a strategic plan developed through involving a broader base of people. If you lack strong strategic planning tools or if you choose or use participants inappropriately, bad things can still happen. But those two challenges can be dealt with by employing effective and tested planning processes and methods.

They do not rely upon luck and individual or small group brilliance. – Barrett Sydnor


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The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.

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  1. Creating Strategic Impact – Dilbert and D... - December 3, 2013

    […] It is said that when the legendary college football coach Woody Hayes was asked why he preferred to run the football ball rather than pass it, Hayes replied, “Only three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad.” As the Dilbert…  […]

  2. Creating Strategic Impact – Dilbert and D... - December 3, 2013

    […] It is said that when the legendary college football coach Woody Hayes was asked why he preferred to run the football ball rather than pass it, Hayes replied, “Only three things can happen when you …  […]