Jim Novo wrote:

“The people that come to the party with relevant facts are the people who get to contribute to Strategy. That’s not to say that all Strategic decisions are fact-based, but these decisions begin with facts.

So, if R & D and the CFO have relevant facts, they get to play. If Marketing does not have relevant facts, they don’t get to play.

If Marketing s not involved in the Strategic decision making, they end up being “handed” problems rather than having a chance to solve them.”

Strategy formulation, from the C-suite, ought to be informed with facts. Ideally, there’s a mix of aspiration and forethought involved in there. So resolved:

Yes, analytics should play a role in the formulation of strategy.

What of strategy ‘on the way down’? Something has to connect the 500,000 foot view with the 10,000 foot view. What is that glue?

I’ve been fairly frustrated, with creative strategy in particular but also other types of things that are ‘strategic’. It’s disjointed. It could be summed up with the meme:

1. Identify key market segments
2. Engage them
3. ?????
4. Profit!

My previous solution was to simply GAS the ambiguity. The KPI identification process, all called the Goal Alignment Strategy (GAS), would rapidly focus attention down to the tactical level. The GAS is successful, and it can be a very painful process for others.

For one, when confronted with a practical question, it’s far easier to reply “that’s tactical” or “you don’t get it”, than it is to really answer the question. Effort must be exerted to ensure that you’re not seen as questioning somebody’s belief system, you’re just trying to understand why they believe a sequence of choices will result in positive return.

The word GAS contains ‘strategy’. Some have argued (weasel words!) have argued that GAS is really a tactical exercise. Of course, there seems to be a civil war over the definition of ‘strategy’ and ‘tactic’. The word ‘tactic’, as enunciated by some people, is pronounced like they’ve just eaten a cigarette whole. Ownership of the word ‘Strategy’ is sometimes jealously guarded. Ambiguity persists. I think it’s a very small debate, and I don’t believe anybody can ultimately win it.

Good strategists are abductive thinkers. They ask ‘what’s possible’ and then construct a narrative around their opinion. Good C-suiters are abductive thinkers too. They should ask ‘what’s possible’ and then construct a narrative around their opinion. That’s very different from the exercise of a Goal Alignment Strategy. To be sure, you there’s a lot of abductive thinking that must go on in that construction, but it’s by and large a deductive exercise.

I’ve spent time in this space talking about the ‘library of smith’. The library in which all business plans exist and we just assume that a business is a turing machine that is capable of competently executing those instructions. Now, more than ever, I’m truly seeing this gap between the out-of-space strategic thinking, which is great and needs to be done – and strategic translation – as being so important.

I think that strategic analytics can help on both sides.