Managers and communities have visions. There are strong strategic plans in place. And then reality hits, and the water system crashes or a tornado strikes. In the August PM article “Strategic Thinking,” author Norman Wright writes: “Then comes the dilemma. Do we ignore the latest emergency and stay focused on the plan? Or deviate from the script and address the issue?”
He offers that it is inevitable that an organization will veer off course from a strategic plan. But this isn’t due to a lack of focus. Wright urges managers to look at their work as a strategic practice, rather than a strategic plan. Strategic thinking can be more responsive to the issues and opportunities that occur day-to-day and not planned for.
Wright looks at two spheres for strategy: deliberate and emergent. Managers can consider the two formulas he has developed—usual formula for a good decision and strategic formula for a good decision—where the second formula replaces relevancy with priority.
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