The Old

The old, customary procedure of strategy development has a pure and sound logic. It has been designed to answer the question, What is it that we should do in order to achieve our goals?

The process essentially involves three stages:

  1. Where are we now? 
  2. Where do we want to be? 
  3. How are we to get there?

This process is based on Gap Analysis. Supposedly, the competitor who manages to execute it better and more wisely (and also carries out the strategy with consistence and persistence)—will be the one who achieves competitive advantage over the rest of the market.

I claim that this time-honored process is no longer adequate and is insufficient in the current competitive environment. It does not help managers steer their organizations in the direction of success and profitability. I call it “Wishful Strategizing.” Its outcome is—more often than not—failure, and the consequence is that executives lose faith in strategy-making altogether.

What is wrong with the classic process?

Before all else, its basic assumptions are erroneous:

Assumption No. 1: We know our goals

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Dan Herman, PhD, CEO of Competitive Advantages, is a strategy consultant, keynote lecturer, workshop/seminar leader, and author of Outsmart the MBA Clones: The Alternative Guide to Competitive Strategy, Marketing, and Branding (