Strategic Planning Conferences

Carper, William B.; Bresnick, Terry A.
September 1989
Business Horizons;Sep/Oct89, Vol. 32 Issue 5, p34
Academic Journal
The strategic planning conference can be more successful than traditional methods consultants and companies use to strengthen their planning efforts. According to Thomas Naylor, the essence of strategic planning is "to provide a conceptual framework for the company's CEO and line managers to enable them to make decisions today that will affect the company in the future" (1980, p. 30). During the last two decades, corporations have tried numerous and varied approaches toward formalizing their planning efforts. Firms have been "BCG'd," "PIMS'd," and "SBU'd" to death as external consulting firms have attempted successfully to implement their own proprietary planning approaches. Still other companies have turned inward to develop a strategic planning capability by instituting an in-house planning team rather than being dependent upon external consultants. Recently, however, serious concerns have been raised about the appropriate roles and effectiveness of both internal and external strategic planners. In a 1982 Fortune article, Walter Kiechel claimed that consulting firms were rapidly losing their influence because companies had become weary of consultants coming into the firm, making recommendations based upon approaches with which insiders might be uncomfortable, and leaving the companies on their own to implement the plans that were left behind. Kiechel referred to this as the "sea gull model" of strategic planning consulting: the consultants fly in from Boston, circle the client's head, drop a strategy on him, and fly away. The internal strategic planning staff has not escaped unscathed either. A 1984 Business Week cover story described the new breed of strategic planners that has emerged in the 1980s and claimed that "the reign of the [traditional] strategic planner may be at an end." According to this article, CEOs are realizing that "planning is the responsibility of every line manager. The role of the planner is to be a catalyst for change--not to do t...


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