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When developing a strategy I believe you need an argument. Actually good strategy needs two arguments.  Strategy needs an argument that explains the underlying thinking behind the strategy. Argument as in explanation.  Good Strategy needs an argument amongst the management team.  Let me explain…

Strategy needs an argument to explain the strategy

Strategy needs an argument in the sense that it needs a clear explanation.  Often strategy gets boiled down to a strategic objective or plan.  That is not enough.  It needs a well argued explanation for the strategy.  A proper argument.

One thing we noticed that successful Chief Executives do is create and talk about a compelling imperative for change.  In the compelling imperative, they make the rational and emotional case for change.  This is not simply a burning platform (a horrible metaphor) but a genuine explanation of why change is needed.  An explanation that is well argued and easily communicated.

The same is true with our strategy tablet and models of strategy.  Each should start with a view of what is going on, what is going wrong (or will go wrong) and the underlying reasons.  Only then does the strategy make sense.

This is about treating people as sensible intelligent adults.  Giving them the information to make decisions. (See our Communicating and socialising strategy zone).

Strategy needs an argument amongst the management team.

Before you present your argument, you need a different arguement.  I often joke that my role with management teams is to help them leave the room all telling the same story.  To achieve that, I say I want them to have a good argument amongst themselves.  Have a good argument now, get the differing opinions ideas and thoughts out on the table and we can resolve them .  Leave those arguments unsaid and those differences will leave the room.

Another way of looking at this is that quick consensus leads to poor decision making. It is not just me saying that.  Here is a quote from a well renowned management thinker and writer:

“If you have quick consensus on an important matter, do not make the decision. Acclamation means nobody has done the homework”. Attributed to Peter Drucker

Here is a longer article about the value of dissent in a management team

Conclusion: Look to have arguments about your strategy – deliberately.

So, as you develop your strategy look to develop arguments amongst your management team and develop a sound argument for your strategy. In that order.  That way you as a team will leave the room, telling teh same story and being good at making the same arguments with their staff as they tell teh story.

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Or to discuss how to have a good argument with your strategy, you can give us a call.