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The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning – Summary

The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning by Henry Mintzberg highlights the three crucial issues regarding Strategy and Planning. Firstly, the difference between Strategic Planning and Strategic Thinking is explained in detail. Secondly, the process of strategy-making is explained. And finally, the major pitfalls of Strategic Planning and fallacies regarding Strategic Planning are described one by one.

Henry Mintzberg

First of all, this article focuses on the differences and proves with logical evidences that Strategic Planning is not Strategic Thinking. From mid of 60’s many of scholars believe that the strategy is a plan. For others, it’s the way to some patterns which lead to response according to change in environment. For some, it is combination of plan, pattern and intuitions.

The Difference between Strategic Planning and Strategic Thinking

According to Mintzberg, planning is different to strategy. He emphasizes that it is not plan but visions behind most successful strategies. Analysis breaking goals down, set of steps formulation in a way to be implemented automatically, consequences and results of them is referred to Strategic planning. However, strategic thinking is about intuition, creativity, and synthesis which cannot be developed on any specific defined schedule.

The Process of Strategy-making

The process of strategy-making starts from capturing experiences (personal or professional), whatever any manager learns from all his sources, collecting data. Then move towards synthesizing from all learning. Finally, visualizing is the third stage when direction is cleared where the business should pursue.

Think out of the box, creativity and innovation are key factors for strategic thinkers. Strategies successful implemented when lower level staff members also have freedom to participate in strategy-making process. Top management should play the role of showing directions instead of involving themselves in day-to-day processes.

The Major Pitfalls of Strategic Planning and Fallacies

In this article Mintzberg discussed the value of commitment of an organization to its strategy-making process and planning. He highlights the intersection between office politics, planning and change management. According to Mintzberg, conventional planners always blame planning pitfall for all failures of strategies. They will point out less support or commitment from top management and from lower.

Three fallacies identified and discussed which are:

  • The fallacy of prediction
  • The fallacy of detachment
  • The fallacy of formalization

Style of Management

One of the problems is planning is a calculating style of management, not a committing. Calculating style of management is somehow similar to dictatorship style where management focuses on destination without any concern of other members. In contrast, Managers with committing style of management take all members on journey.

A New Framework of Strategy and Planning

Mintzberg introduced a new behavioral framework for planning. His belief is that planning is something which integrates our vision with operations. It would not be wrong if it is said in a manner that as per Mintzberg, strategic thinking is synthesizing, analysis and intuition. Planning is strategic programming. Plans shall be demonstrated to communicate and keep control on operations. Planners are those who can find strategy, they are analysts, and they are catalysts. He suggested that sometimes strategies shall be left as broad vision. This is not necessary to have a best way for any strategy. Strategies shall be flexible, adoptive to change and broad vision.

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