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strategy as revolution

day two of hogwarts management camp and i find myself reminded of what it really means to be a leader – to take responsibility for ones actions. This remembrance came about as part of a homework assignment last night. We were given an article called “strategy as revolution” by Gary Hamel – originally printed in the Harward Business Review in 1996 (July-August edition).

Hamel’s central thesis is that strategy development must be seen as a revolutionary action within an organisation and goes onto list 10 attributes of such a action. His premise is that revolution is what is required in an age when incremental change is not enough to secure a position in the market place. Radical views are what are needed in order to find and establish new marketplaces. He uses examples such as The Body Shop and Ikea.

We summarised the attributes as imagination, subversion and power to the people. Essentially these summarised the notion that strategy comes from across the business not the top…indeed the upper echelons are singularly ill placed to develop strategy when radical thinking is required as they are so invested in the status quo. The subversive element is to signify the need to question the norms, challenge the status quo. Hamel sees imagination as a key element to successful strategy development – one must be able to imagine different worlds, different futures and different pathways to really be able to radicalise thinking. Finally, Hamel argues (care of Alan Kay!) that it is changing perspective that frequently is the catalyst for reconceptualisation. It is the change that allows us to really question norms as the norms suddenly become clearer to identify when viewed from different perspective.

While this was all great, the most important element that I took from the element is that strategy is my responsibility. I choose whether or not I play a part in strategy – and I do that by choosing not to voice my viewpoint, not to challenge other viewpoints and by accepting the norms around me

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