In the Spring 2013 Issue of “strategy + business,” the article labeled, “The Thought Leader Interview: Cynthia Montgomery” is a lively complement to her book titled, “The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs.” I’ve included some thought-provoking snippets from the piece below along with my own commentary.
“What will this firm be, and why will it matter?”
This is the key, two-part question that Montgomery uses to help an executive focus on what’s important re: strategic thinking from her studies and experience in the field. Of course, the field of strategy has a broad spectrum of content that frames the assumptions upon which the answers to these two questions rely upon. In other words, these two questions lead to a wealth of additional questions. And, often the data required to precisely answer these questions are not known and thus assumptions and/or forecasts are fashioned.
“…the courage to choose” via Jean Paul Sartre
Obviously, a well-crafted strategy involves making choices which implies an inherent decision-making capability. There are several key aspects to this. First, has the organization listed a set of creative choices in which to choose from? Second, what’s their decision-making model? And, third are the incentive structures of senior management aligned to facilitate the chosen choices?
“…the 2 schools of strategy…”
In the book, Strategy Safari (2002) subtitled "A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management" Henry Mintzberg et. al. provide a comprehensive review of the 10 schools of strategic management. And, like this book’s conclusion, I agree that CEO’s and their executive teams “need to be able to work with the entire, living beast [of strategic thinking].”
“…Building a system of advantage – a business model tailored to that purpose, where the pieces work in sync, and where the whole is more than the sum of the parts...”
The Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline is ideal for architecting this “system of advantage,” particularly now that digital technologies permeate (or should) most of an organization’s business activities (aka, processes, capabilities, tasks, routines, etc…). Unfortunately, EA has yet to be integrated into undergraduate or graduate (MBA) business curriculum. Ironically, it’s probably an ideal MBA capstone course as its primary objective is to synchronize a company’s business processes and information technologies in order to facilitate the firm’s “purpose.”
“…the CEO…”key to becoming an architect…or better, yet a steward – of organizational purpose.”
Indeed, the CEO should be considered the “steward” of organizational purpose. The Chief Enterprise Architect ought to be accountable for architecting (or designing) the business in the ideal manner in which to achieve this purpose.
@RayBordogna opines on "strategy" concepts.