Does strategy stifle 'thinking'?


Do efficiency, streamlining and generic strategies prevent people 'thinking'?

"Thinking is the ability to use one's mind to create ideas, decisions and memories"
"Recall is the process of using one's mind to retrieve information previously learnt or taught"

Recently I came across two long-standing business approaches that seem diametrically opposed to one another, yet we try to run them side by side. Is this possible?

  1. Business and corporate strategy planning have been around for years, the creation of roles such as Corporate Strategy Officers (CSO) has bought this to the forefront of how businesses try to anticipate the future.
  2. Talent development, retention and mindfulness have seen rising popularity with health and welfare becoming the focus of the 21st century.

I propose with theories such as Porters 5 forces, McKinsey 7s and SWOT analysis, we are stuck in an state of limbo between age old approaches and the ability of individuals to apply them in real world problems and produce solutions that allow for flexibility and unexpected change.

Let me build on this a bit more....Using a video by Dr Derek Cabrera he refers to the existing solution to learning as the 'bandwidth solution'. We get a large pipe, fill it with information and expect individuals to create an inter-web of links and creative solutions to problems.

It is common knowledge the top consultancies companies recruit only the best candidates, they have a tradition of working with the biggest companies and guiding them through strategy management.

But......the current education system is built on recall not thinking, accompanied with the desire of businesses to continually create efficiencies and streamlining work processes, we are in danger of cementing the working population in an age of recall based on models.

Modern day graduate programmes are trying to address this issue. But how do we teach individuals new things if we are doing what we have always done or are trying to keep up with competitors. By following a market leader or competitor are we in danger of simply allowing these business strategy theories to turn individuals into 'theory compliant' solution creators?

"Business Strategy Theories + Education + Recall = Compliance + Ratification"

Thinking comes from the environment, is embedded in everyday life and derives from the culture of a business. UBER, AirBNB, Apple weren't created following business strategy theories; recruit disruptive individuals, manage them well and guide them to turn strategy into practice with flexibility at the heart of the future.