Course and Direction

The Path to Strategic Success

Center for Simplified Strategic Planning

October 23, 2018

Often when people embark on strategy planning, they want the process to be simple and linear.  Some want the answers to be obvious.  So why is strategy planning messy? Please continue reading our blog.

Denise Harrison

Strategy Planning is Messy

Denise Harrison

“Strategy planning is messy” declared one CEO as a team member expressed a desire for a more linear approach. The team member was frustrated, because he couldn’t see the end game. The CEO went on to say, “It’s okay that it is messy.

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Questions & Answers

Managing the distribution channel is critical in our business. Where should we capture information on this?
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What’s the difference between strategic competencies and the strengths of a company?
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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?

Finding Strategic Issues that Lead to an Actionable Strategy

By M. Dana Baldwin
Finding Strategic Issues that the team must resolve to produce an actionable Strategy is key in Simplified Strategic Planning. We find Strategic Issues with multiple diagnostic exercises. One is an exercise we call “Winner’s Profile”. We do it for a couple of reasons.

How Generic Strategies Kill Your Profit

By Robert W. Bradford
One of the ways of thinking I’ve encountered in strategic planning is based upon the desire to make things easier. For example, companies automate processes to make things easier. Furthermore, since automation tends to simplify operations, more reliable equipment can replace highly variable workers – at least in theory. Consequently, this can “make things easier”. Likewise, we make our product design and marketing efforts easier by making product and service offerings “one size fits all”.

Differentiating a Price Sensitive Product to a Value-Added Product

By Denise Harrison
When you’re selling price sensitive products, find a way to add value, so your customers will pay a premium. Understand your customers’ needs and preferences, however, and understand what you can do to improve your products and services.

Standard Textile was faced with this dilemma – in particular, hotels and hospitals kept going with the vendor with the lowest price. How could they break the cycle?

Why is Commitment Crucial to Strategy?

By M. Dana Baldwin
Why is commitment crucial and how does an organization get and keep it?

Commitment means that senior management and key personnel throughout the company buy-in to driving the company forward to reach its objectives. Therefore, they have committed to the success of the company. Furthermore, they execute the strategies of the organization as effectively as possible. Finally, their actions reflect the level of commitment they have and inspire those around them to excel.

The Fear of Being Different

By Robert W. Bradford
Being different is one of the keys to profitability, however, it is also one of the most feared strategies. Clearly, there are very few success stories about companies that behaved just like their competitors. This may be because managers feel unusually vulnerable when considering a strategy that builds true distinction for their brand. In so many cases we’ve seen, the courage to build true distinction comes when it seems like the only option.

Beat the Competition with Process Technology

By Denise Harrison
Aircraft engines: how did GE beat the competition? Mohammad Ehteshami was faced with a seemingly impossible task. He needed to significantly increase the value of the next generation of GE jet engines. Mr. Ehteshami had years of industry expertise and he and his team set up to achieve the objective. After failing multiple times, a junior member of the team suggested using additive technology as a possible solution.

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