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Stratification: How Strategic-Decision Processes will Create Sustainable Competitive Advantage Kindle Edition
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For the small company startup, in particular, he offers the following:
Start-up companies are often faced with difficult strategic choices. The selections they make can be critical, even destiny-changing. And yet sometimes the executives of these firms rely on intuition rather than facts. Or perhaps they are influenced in a particular direction by the ill-informed advice of an influential investor or board member. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some managers devote considerably more effort than the company can afford. Weeks turn into months of collecting and analyzing the facts while the company burn rate churns along, sapping precious resources. Still other start-up executives take little time to collect the facts and, for the sake of expediency, limit the investigation to a few relevant factors. Their “blind quadrant” deceives them into thinking the answer that emerges is optimal. Without a strategic decision process, small company executives can make decisions with business-fatal consequences.
He then goes on to describe the approach he created, the Lean Strategic Decision Model (LSDM). Despite the somewhat unwieldy acronym, the concept he describes is an important one, encompassing a straightforward but rigorous and repeatable approach to sensible decision-making that avoids the pitfalls mentioned above. The general idea is probably familiar to many, but the author’s elaboration of some of the finer points, as well as a more sensible scoring system, makes this quick and easy to read guide very valuable to anyone in a position of leading a team through potentially challenging strategic decisions.
As the author says: “It is correct to say that most strategic decisions will not impact the company’s bottom line within twelve months of the decision, much less the following quarter. Yet, unquestionably, good strategic decision-making can drive company financial performance. To use the language of contemporary strategy thinking, strategic decision-making is the fundamental dynamic capability in excellent firms…. But it is unlikely that the root cause of poor strategic decision-making is executive incompetence; more likely it is inadequate tools."
The author offers some myth busting points, and in particular the thought-provoking:
*Strategic decision-making does not require extreme detail.
*Most organizations use more resources than needed for making strategic decisions, because companies implement an inefficient process.
The description of his approach is straightforward, showing that the LSDM is able to efficiently promote in-depth strategic discussions among team members, creating an environment where free-form thinking about the company’s strategic direction is fostered.
In summary, this easy-to-read guide through a sensible and innovative approach to strategic decision-making is well worth the time spent. The only current weaknesses are that it is not yet optimized for Kindle, so that links to appendices, footnotes, etc., are not active.