Great points in HBR post by Professor Roger Martin Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in Canada and the author of The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.
I recently read his book and was inspired by it. He makes a few comments that are really close to my heart. He is taking CEO's, strategy consultants and corporate strategists to task for their 'one dimensional' thinking on strategy. And I couldn't agree more base on my own experience. I was a corporate strategist myself for many years and currently do strategy consulting. And it alway bugs me that when talking strategy, many a CEO seems to have come to expect (no doubt trained by using big 4 consultants for too long and/or having done a traditional MBA) there is only one right way to do it: the analytical way, rational, very much left brain driven, very methodical, deductive and compartmentalized. This is Roger's scathing critique:
"However, there as yet is no analytical tool for combining a given where-to-play choice with a congenial how-to-win choice or vice versa. That takes creative insight. But the majority of people who seek to become corporate strategists or strategy consultants do so because they are much more comfortable with analysis than what they perceive as guesswork. So they tend to become expert at strategic analyses, not strategy. That, I submit, is why CEOs and "strategists" so seldom produce good strategies. Strategy is a creative act and the way to produce good strategy is go beyond basic analysis to creatively integrate your choices concerning where you play and how you propose to win" via blogs.hbr.org
How right he is. And I mean litterary: he in essence propagetes using
the Right Brain in a strategy process, the one that drives creativity,
pattern recognition, story telling, empathy and synthesis. Synthesis
between "how to win" and "where to plan". There aren't many strategist
that do this well, but there is one firm in particular that I have
worked with closely on a number of occasions who excel at this:
Strategos - the firm founded by Gary Hamel. Big shout-out to my friends
over there! The tragedy of a creatively crafted strategy though is that
the more left-brained CEO's that Prof. Martin is accusing are on a
different wave-lenght and never firmly embrace it....
So here is the question: how should we develop our leaders, our CEO's (other than sending them to Prof. Martin's Rotman) to start using their Right Brain more and rely less on Left Brain skills when thinking about strategy. What should be changed in the curriculum of traditional MBA's? How should Leadership Development Programmes be used to make up for this unbalance? Your thoughts are much appreciated.