Why “Strategic Management” is pure BS!

4 Mar

“In ‘Strategic Management’ class I felt enlightened. I learned a lesson: It is pure bullshit. I will never hire a consultant for my company”….. This was a tweet that I got. Just how many people working today, think the same?

Why, and how did they develop this perception?

Why people seem to think that strategy, crudely put, is pure bull…

Here is what I think…

It’s all about perception; mostly people selling strategy are not themselves sure what they are selling. Mainly because they only serve the plain vanilla flavour… by serving vanilla you can’t go wrong? Well you can. This is exactly why people today lose interest, and hope, and all direction when confronted with people that want to SELL them strategy.

Strategy is a tool; it’s not the whole toolbox…

Sometimes we tend to create the perception that; “Hay with this strategy we will solve all your problems”… its wrong, just very wrong, on so many levels…

Readymade, hot “out of the box” strategy just does not work anymore. Don’t confuse turn Key Operations, with strategy either. It is two totally different concepts.

Strategy is a plan, which can or won’t work… you take a gamble when you are only using strategy…

When in fact what you should be asking for is termed “Grand Strategy”…( more on that later).

The word Strategy today has been raped, by so many, so many times, that it’s just no good to anyone, anymore. Well at least with a plan you get something, some think. Who does not call any plan they have a STRATEGY today? Come on..a plan is referred to as a strategy today…again, my point, it’s all perception.

Therefore the word strategy used in conversation should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Because, It’s all situational, and each instance on its own merit.

The word stagey does to some extent imply planning, not just plan, and here is the distinction. Several plans make up a strategy when combined. – Yes and the detail of it, (resources, infrastructure etc.)
This is where the BS. Creeps in…When consultants sell their half baked watered down versions of the original vanilla custard pie, and want to make people believe it’s a custard slice…

Turn key operations, are out of the box ready to go strategies that have been well designed and though out, mostly tried and tested, it’s a cradle to grave concept…that you can’t get wrong, it’s the tried and tested variety, pretty much vanilla. Never the less they are not trying to sell it as the here-all and end- all. That will work for any venture type of concept – strategy. Granted a strategy never the less.

However, strategy in my mind is something that deals with the variables and unknowns of change, initiative, design, progress, all things unknown, and needs to start from scratch to be effective in the end.

It should also include the principles of design; that of pattern, business assumptions, resource analysis, market analysis etc. and elements of strategy, before it will become a true strategy. Without; a vision, mission, goals etc… it’s just a plan. Many people will sell a dream, based on a few easy steps… this is just not strategy… it’s still just a plan.

So if you need strategy, make a plan… first. And get the right people with the right toolboxes, to follow the principles of strategy and deliver Master strategy. This is what we need… when we say we need strategy…

Scroll down; Check the comments section, some lively debate has followed here…

Now – Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at Trafford;http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=339320

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14 Responses to “Why “Strategic Management” is pure BS!”

  1. Aaron Smith March 19, 2011 at 8:21 am #

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    • Reinier Geel March 23, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks! I need to get some dialogue going: your inputs are well received. I have update a post on predators tools. Send me n link to your site: the one you have left here is not active. Regards Reinier

    • Reinier Geel April 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Its all good…

  2. Watch Water for Elephants Online March 27, 2011 at 7:35 am #

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    • Reinier Geel March 27, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

      Thanks; However – Please give your views and some more input here, i do not like one way traffic, you tend to get hit :0)

    • Reinier Geel April 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Will try!

  3. Virtuagirl March 28, 2011 at 12:20 am #

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    • Reinier Geel March 31, 2011 at 6:44 am #

      Thanks: when are you coming back. There is a new article out. And please post comments! Regards Reinier

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  6. Reinier Geel April 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

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  7. chriscfox June 25, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I am not sure what the point of this rant is? Almost anything done badly is bad. Shouldn’t we rather focus on how to do it well?

    Good day Chris

    First and foremost thanks for posting, and please don’t take anything personal, i am just replying –

    You posted a comment on my blog post; I am not sure what the point of this rant is? Almost anything done badly is bad. Shouldn’t we rather focus on how to do it well?

    Chris – refreshing – but back at you, I am not sure what the point is of your rant ?
    I don’t think you understand the subject matter here; I could ask you the same thing; never the less – you are not making any debate or relevant point, you just made a statement?

    “Almost anything done badly is bad”. Let’s look and evaluate that statement for a second.

    By the way the saying is actually; If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
    Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936)

    Chesterton consistly defended the amateur against the professional or the “generalist” against the specialist, especially when it came to “the things worth doing.” There are things like playing the organ or discovering the North Pole, or being Astronomer Royal, which we do not want a person to do at all unless he does them well. But those are not the most important things in life. When it comes to writing one’s own love letters and blowing one’s own nose, “these things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly.” This, argues Chesterton (in Orthodoxy) is “the democratic faith: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves – the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state.”

    Your statement therefore has no basis, either on a mathematically, statistically, or business theory basis – so it must be your perception, and the thing with perceptions are, they are very thin when tested for substance – just one example, so if your first kiss ever was bad, then you are a bad kisser forever and what follows on too is bad -, bad lover, bad husband etc… you are doomed.

    Come on Chris; make an effort when you leave comments, to at least make it relevant. Apply your own advice here –
    Shouldn’t we rather focus on how to do it well? So how would you do it well? Without having started badly here?
    Given the same medicine?

    Chris replied;

    Fighting talk – I like it!

    Your “put back at you” is a fair challenge – mea culpa. Let me restate my comment more clearly as a question:
    “What is the point of your rant?”
    You clearly have something to say about a subject in which I am intensly interested. But I don’t understand what it is and I would genuinely like to know.

    The Chesterton quote is interesting but not what I meant.

    Your post appears to me (correct me if you disagree) to take the line that lots of people do strategy badly. So what? Lots of people do lots of things badly. Is it not better that they at least try (as the Chesterton quote suggests), and better still if they learn to do it well. I don’t get how your post proposes to improve the situation.

    Your post appears to go a step further and say that because lots of people do strategy badly that strategy is a bad thing. That seems wrong-headed. But perhaps I read too much into your tone (or my perception of it).

    If you are interested in my own views on the subject, try:
    http://strategiccoffee.chriscfox.com/2010/03/reasons-why-strategies-fail.html and then
    http://strategiccoffee.chriscfox.com/2010/03/strategic-learning.html or in fact anything else on my blog that takes your fancy.

    Kind Regards,
    Chris

    Reinier then replied;

    Chris “Fighting talk” – not my friend, I believe conviction is strength, and saying it like you mean it…gets the point across…oh, and makes for some interesting debate…wink

    I like this piece of advice for bloggers; “I must respect the right of people to have an opinion and voice it. If I say/write what I want, I must, therefore, be able to hear/read what I don’t want. And I should be able to take it with class! After all, the comment section on my blog says: “Leave a comment”, and not” Leave a good comment”, therefore more than ever all comments are welcomed.”

    Back to our rant

    You said; Your post appears to me (correct me if you disagree) to take the line that lots of people do strategy badly.

    No – to recap, the whole post revolves around this point; “In ‘Strategic Management’ class I felt enlightened. I learned a lesson: It is pure gagga. I will never hire a consultant for my company”….. This was a tweet that I got. Just how many people working today, think the same?
    My point is lots of people get to do the text book strategy thing first in life – with no practical reference points – it’s like teaching someone to be a formula one driver, and he/she has never driven a car yet. They have no point of true reference.

    We need to be exposed to raw strategy, on the ground, the nuts and bolts of it, before we teach people the theory, they only get to know strategy for the first time – from the blue prints– I call it the plain vanilla flavour of strategy. Text book and class room strategy…only. Now, if this first introduction is BAD, then everything else is bad hay? Or is it?

    Many get disillusioned in this fashion too – in the class rooms of university, and life, some by lecturers others by consultants alike – and then they try and hammer, and shape a distorted thing into place for every situation themselves – and call it strategy.

    This then becomes their strategy, not everything labelled strategy is, which then normally requires a strategy to fix it.

    Mostly these culprits are consultants, and educators. They themselves don’t know strategy any other way, but the MBA text book way, and by doing so, they tend to ruin the usefulness and worth of strategy for others in the process, because they can’t connect people with tools.

    Where – the “lame men” – are themselves trying to understand it better…and not seeing it work. Then we lose the usefulness altogether. Because they- the so called specialist – can’t make strategy work every time, if they only use the MBA textbook – with case studies etc. everything in life has limitations…

    There is a new school of strategy emerging; it’s far reaching, and has become sociological.
    Sociological refers to the study of the origin, development, and structure of human societies and the behaviour of individual people and groups in society – it is an inclusive way of doing strategy, and not an exclusive. Inclusive – everyone is doing it, exclusive – only the CEO and his Consultants – get to do strategy the rest must follow – the plain vanilla way…

    . I don’t get how your post proposes to improve the situation.

    With Master strategy – or grand strategy

    It is not one thing but many strategies combined, becoming inclusive, get my book, and give it a read. It’s the sum of the parts that creates the whole…concept. Concept thinking is the new way of doing strategy from the ground up. This is my point, we sell strategy as vision, mission, goals as the only way to do it right.

    Your post appears to go a step further and say that because lots of people do strategy badly that strategy is a bad thing. That seems wrong-headed. But perhaps I read too much into your tone (or my perception of it).

    That was done intentionally, to evoke the way many disillusioned people feel, they feel lost to the process of strategy, and we just can have that, again my point. Like the MBA student that tweeted this message as a point of departure, that Strategic managing is pure BS. It got my attention, and yours, and i am sure so too many others. We just can’t have him, and others thinking this way, or share such a perception, when we need all aboard. This becomes a corrosive perception… that must be corrected, and this my friend was the whole idea behind this bad rant – wink.

    If something is bad and done badly, then it’s not to say it’s all bad. It could very well just be that people got the message wrong, saw it as a “rant” – rambling, in the wrong context, same as that student saw strategy, he did not get the gist or idea…that is life, we all see things from different perspective, and we articulate it like wise -not everything is always clear cut, straight forward, or put to the point and on the money – is this bad, or is this just the way things start out?

    We have to figure it out

    We have imperfection everywhere, is that so BAD?

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