Strategic narratives in place of strategic plans

A piece in Harvard Business Review on Advances in Strategy (HBR 2002), originally published in May/June 1998, artfully describes the advantages of preparing strategic narratives as compared to traditional strategic plans. After skewering PowerPoint strategic lans, the reprint suggests an improvement.

Write a story, by first setting the stage with facts and background, then introducing the dramatic conflict of challenges and change, before closing with the resolution – what you are going to do. The three authors maintain that using this format will help you decide what must be explained to have the account make sense. “A good story (and a good strategic plan) defines relationships, a sequence of events, cause and effect, and a priority among items – and those items are likely to be remembered as a complete whole.” (id. at 66). (See my posts in 2005 of Dec. 15 suggesting law-department stratplans are oxymorons, Dec. 9 about scenario planning, and Dec. 20 on real options and planning.)

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