Strategic Learning LO19759

Fred Nickols (
Sat, 07 Nov 1998 06:08:13 -0500

Replying to Steven Maranville in LO19745 --

Steve writes, "I would be delighted to hear from the creative minds on
this list how strategic planning can be transformed into strategic

Actually, strategic planning is all about strategic learning.

There are those who view the strategic planning process in a pretty
conventional industrial era way, that is, as inputs, processes, and
outputs. To some extent, this is true, but that is a pretty mechanical
view of the process and is useful mainly in ensuring that the artifacts
get produced (e.g., a document called "the plan").

I view the strategic planning process as a set of patterned, recurring
conversations. These conversations have agendas, discussants,
contributors, locations, times, outcomes, etc. As a consequence of these
conversations, decisions are made and actions are undertaken.

As a staff executive charged with facilitating, nudging, and nurturing the
strategic planning process, my job is mainly one of trying to make certain
that the right people are getting together at the right time to examine
the right issues. Secondarily, I try to support these strategic
conversations with ever better information and data. For example, we are
currently modeling the impact of various options using system dynamics
concepts, methods, tools, techniques, and software (Vensim). For other
issues, we use other tools, etc. Much of the critical analytical work is
performed in and by my group.

So, I'm more inclined to think that transforming strategic planning into
strategic learning is a non-issue. Done properly, strategic planning IS
strategic learning.


Fred Nickols Executive Director Strategic Planning & Management Services Educational Testing Service Princeton, NJ 08541 609.734.5077 Tel 609.734.5590 Fax

Views and opinions expressed are those of the author, not ETS...

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