Is the other Opinion Welcome?

Let’s continue the conversation about articulating the strategic direction for the company. There are some great models for the visioning process. They typically involve competitive research and leading industry indicators being presented to carefully selected mid and top level executives who will meet, usually face-to-face to discuss, (very little) debate, agree and finally document a set of words that capture the future state that hopefully the rest of the team that was excluded can get excited about. The goal, it seems, is to reach consensus within the day or rarely two that the gathering is scheduled for.

I’ve participated in many of these sessions and often I’m left feeling that we did not debate the end result thoroughly or I did not quite understand why some set of scenarios became “the choice”. Yes, I understand that big bucks were spent getting the “select persons” to a location so that they can hopefully fully concentrate on the task at hand and do so in an expeditious manner. However, I think we are losing an opportunity to have a broader conversation that include more of the non-key stakeholders.

The results of the last US elections have really impressed upon me that we need to actively seek out, listen and hear other opinions that do not easily mirror our own and give those voices a bigger platform so that we can process a wider range of opinions. All of the mainstream news reports were coming to the same WRONG conclusions and each program had their “same three or four” persons giving their analyses. So I am wondering if the lesson here is to make a bigger effort to hear different opinions from those who are NOT similarly socialized.

For your next the strategic planning session, how about including more of the “other” groups just so we can have a bigger sample of the non-mainstream opinions. And how about having a real debate about the opinions we want to exclude. I wonder how this would change the result.

What do you think?


The OPTIMizer, Vol 2, March 5, 2017

A blog of ideas, information and good practices that help transform operations processes and business results.