Strategic Learning LO19785

Richard GOODALE (
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 07:41:56 -0000

Replying to LO19772 --


Just so they don't try to take back my diploma, let me re-iterate that the
"mechanistic" approach to planning which HBS taught in a course 30 years
ago was not called and was not intended to be "strategic" planning. I
think they've improved their strategic thinking capabilities a bit at
Harvard since those ancient days I was there.

If the people you talk to see strategy as a "mind numbing annual ritual,"
my guess is that either: their organisation is still working with 30-yr
old concepts of what planning should be, or; management has the concepts
right but has failed miserably to communicate those concepts throughout
the organisation. No one at any level in an orgnisation that understands
strategic thinking would ever dissociate strategy from their "real work."

All the best

> I agree with both of your conclusions that strategic planning SHOULD BE
> strategic learning. Nevertheless, I continue to hear managers say, "Our
> strategic planning process is a mind-numbing annual ritual that we endure
> so we can get our real work done." Rather than strategic learning, this
> sounds like learning to go through the motions.
> IMHO, strategic planning should foster reflection (strategic thinking)
> about how the firm can best gain competitive advantage. Richard (LO19754)
> describes the traditional Harvard Business Schoo model of strategic
> planning. This model, though, seems to represent what Fred (LO19759)
> refers to as a "mechanistic" approach. It is this approach that seems to
> inhibit learning through a "paint-by-the-numbers" mindset.
> Reflection appears to be the key to any learning--including strategic
> learning. Therefore, the central concern of strategic processes ought to
> be the enabling of reflective thought. I am intrigued with Fred's concept
> of strategy-making as "conversations." I would like to hear more about
> these practices and others that facilitate strategic learning. Thanks for
> the discussion on this issue.


"Richard GOODALE" <>

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