November 10, 2015
Robert BradfordDoes your company have a great culture? How about your strategic plan? Has your company taken shortcuts in your strategic planning? Which is more important - culture or strategic planning? Please comment on our blog.


Robert Bradford

Why People Think Culture is More Important Than Strategy - and Why People Who Believe That Are Doomed To Fail

By Robert Bradford

Robert BradfordI've read a couple of interesting articles recently that assert that culture beats strategy every time. While culture is critically important - and usually part of a good strategy, nothing could be farther from the truth.

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Questions & Answers

Can we use some type of project management software to track the progress of our Strategic Objectives rather than your Action Plan format?

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Our CEO is not inclined to participate in the entire Strategic Planning process. Can we just provide a summary of results and actions?

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This column is intended to answer common questions related to strategic planning and strategy in general. In each issue we will answer questions posed by seminar attendees, our clients and our readers. Please send your questions to - Mail: CSSP, Inc. PO Box 8272, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Article Archives

Did you miss these recent articles?

Time to Set Goals for 2016 and Beyond: What Can We Learn from VW?

By Denise Harrison

As VW announced its goals, it knew that it would have to be able to meet drivers' requirements in a way that set it apart from its competition. What did consumers want?

  • High mileage
  • Low emissions
  • High performance

High mileage and low emissions without sacrificing performance, the holy grail for the automotive industry; and VW had the solution with its diesel vehicles.

Assumptions and Uncertainty

By M Dana Baldwin

Mark Twain once famously said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." This most certainly applies in strategic planning. Your vision for the future is based on your team's educated guesses (aka assumptions) about what might happen going forward, and not on certain knowledge of what will happen. How does one go about minimizing uncertainty?

What are the best strategic opportunities?

By Robert Bradford

Over the years, I've seen more than 20,000 opportunities considered. Most have been rejected for good reasons, but many have been pursued and successfully captured. Recently, I spent some time pondering which kinds of opportunities have led to the greatest successes.

Overcoming Strategic Gaps--an Optics Design Case

By Denise Harrison

Would integrated circuits be constrained by what could physically fit on a chip? Heat and size issues were becoming constraints to what was possible with traditional technology. Synopsys, a world leader in software and IP for semiconductor design and verification manufacturing, saw that its customers' applications required more and more functionality in ever-decreasing size, and understood that traditional technology would no longer fit the bill.

Using Multiple Channels Can Dilute Market Image - Lessons Learned From Goodyear

By M. Dana Baldwin

One ongoing threat that might harm a company more than it helps is loss of focus. Many very good companies make a lot of money by keeping their focus on a very limited number of products or services and on the way they go to market. When Goodyear changed how they went to market with their tires, they ended up losing focus, with results which have hurt them significantly.

The Five Pillars of Strategic Planning

By Robert W. Bradford

Strategic planning has been done many different ways. Some work, and others don't. I've heard people talk about planning processes that are deeply detailed and months long, and I've heard of planning processes that are done in a couple of hours with post-it notes and tinker toys. My own take on strategic planning is based on experience drawn from working with hundreds of companies over the years, and I've paid particular attention to three outcomes from strategic planning.

From Near-Bankruptcy to Market Leadership: LEGO's Success is All about Childs' Play

By Denise Harrison

What would you do if you were faced with potential bankruptcy, with a product line that is over half a century old? Product line extension? Expansion into new lines of business? Sell the company? LEGO was facing this dilemma in 2001. While the first step was to return profitability to the core by streamlining the business; this was not enough to position LEGO to succeed in the future.

How do companies lose their way?

By M. Dana Baldwin

Why is focus so important to success in our businesses? We've all heard of the person who wanted to clean off his desk, and couldn't imagine why it wasn't done by the end of the day. When he began to think about what he had done, he listed the following: On his way to his office to clean off his desk, he noticed that the light in the back hall was on, so he went to turn it off.

3 Cool Questions to Ask in Your Strategic Planning

By Robert Bradford

The other day, a client was chatting with me and mentioned something about my strategic planning work I'd never thought of: I ask weird questions. Not so weird, in my mind - but my favorite questions are always strategic, and always lead to excellent discussions about the sources of value in business and how you can create more.

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Strategic Thinking

Success in today's business environment requires that a company's leaders have the ability to create a vision of the organization's future direction as well as the course it needs to get there.

While various business improvement techniques such as Total Quality Management and Re-engineering are often extremely beneficial to the ongoing progress of a business, correct Strategic Focus remains the single most important element in a company's success.

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Robert Bradford, CEO
Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc.
PO Box 8272
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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