Your Change Needs a Strategy – One Page Article Summary 

Martin Reeves, Simon Levin, Jack Fuller, Fabien Hassan – BCG Henderson Institute

In today’s world of constant change coupled with industry disrupters writing new rules, creating your future strategy is not necessarily a linear approach.  I’m finding more and more clients wanting to strategically plan for the next year or two rather than commit too far out. 

The approach you select really depends on where your company is at – particularly when you consider how certain you are about the target end state and the specific actions required to achieve it.  Unfortunately, these two things are not always so clear.  In an article entitled “Your Change Needs a Strategy” by BCG Henderson Institute, the authors use a creative approach to describe 5 strategies that reflect the “landscape of possibility” taking into consideration “clarity of ends (target end state)” and “clarity of means (actions required to achieve the end state)”.  Below is a short synopsis:

Clarity of Ends

Clarity of Means

Definition

Planned itinerary

High

High

A clear vision with a precise plan to move ahead

River crossing

High

Low

The desired end state is clear but how to get there is less certain, so you need to “cross the river by feeling for the stones”.  Strategy execution requires experimentation, evaluation and possible adjustment of the approach to get to the desired end state

Hill Climbing

Low

High

Instead of aggressively working toward a clearly defined direction, a “series of good next steps” are explored to move ahead.  Keeping the direction loosely defined  allows the business to take advantage of opportunities, while still making progress

Scouting and Wandering

Low

Low

While this may sound like no strategy, this approach can be used when a company invests in small experiments with the aim of discovering a direction for change that the business as a whole may pursue

Escape the Swamp

Medium

Medium

This strategy is driven by the need to move away from where you are.  The only clear goal is that substantial and urgent change is needed

Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may want to use more than one of these approaches rather than the traditional “planned itinerary” to set your strategy.  Regardless of the approach you take, ensure your organization does set a “living strategy” and puts in place a measurable action plan that is regularly reviewed to ensure it happens.  As said by Lao Tzu, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – I wish you good luck.