A Handbook for Managing Strategic Processes
Becoming Agile in a World of Changing Realities
By Michael W. Lodato Ph.D.
In a very real sense, Michael Lodato has been working on this handbook for over 45 years – starting in 1968 when, as a new CEO of a small company, he attended a seminar on strategic planning at UCLA. The resulting strategy helped run the company but also served as the first template for his strategic planning methodology. Over the years, as a result of working on real issues faced by him as an executive and client corporations, the template expanded to add tactical planning and features to handle changes in the business environment that may be coming or have occurred, to quickly assess the impact of such changes on success, and to adapt to the new realities by making changes to its strategies, tactics and processes in time to avoid bad results.
In short, he added agility to the template that is the substance of this book.
This is not a text nor a book of strategic management theory. It is a step-by-step, here’s how to do it guide to achieving agile strategic management. The maturity of the strategic management processes came, not as an academic activity but from empirical evidence of what works and what doesn’t.
As you learn about the processes and read stories about how they have applied to a wide range of situations, think through how you might apply them to the situations, issues and opportunities you face. They are intended to help you unleash the talent that resides in your team and organization.
The resulting methodology includes processes that guide all the work of strategic management at all levels: from strategic, through tactical, and down to individual action items in such a way that there is a strong interdependence among hem.
The link between the business environment and strategy is a set of documented assumptions about the environment. Assumptions are management’s anticipation of future events and conditions over the planning period. They are what the management team believes about the environment. For example, what is the management team’s consensus about such things as the rate of economic growth, strategies and tactics of competitors, industry dynamics, critical success factors and so forth?
The assumptions become the basis for formulating strategy. They provide an audit trail for each strategy statement and are invaluable in exercising the control function of management.
Agile strategic management is more than a function; it is an attitude about reacting to change.