You cannot rely on tools only to devise corporate strategies. For making corporate strategies visionaries are required who recognize patterns. Because no one has seen the future and for making future driven strategies vision is very important. Let us take an example of CEO of GE Mr Immelt, he has changed the paradigm in which GE operated. He is investing in future centric businesses.
Now, visionary does not necessarily point out to a newer set ‘pattern recognition’ – THE next tool for strategies. In fact occasionally people need to drop the tools for formulation of business strategies also. So, the important part is – learning when to drop the tools, willingness to drop the tools and being ready with alternative plan of action. The alternative plan of action is not to find another tool for handling the situation but to analyze the situation and being on your toes to think fast, think creatively, out-think others and look into all aspects of situation to react effectively.
There is an anecdote which helps learn the concept well.
The short story is – in a wild fire, 17 firefighters had made a plan on dinner table on how to do their work (tomorrow 10 AM). Next day at 7:00 AM they found that the fire is beyond their planed actions and anticipation. They could
i) try fight the fire and possibly die, or
ii) run for their life.
Many decided to run, the team leader told them – “Drop the tools”, no one heard. Only 3 survived in the accident – 2 who inadvertently got into a cave when one fell down and 1 the leader who DROPPED his TOOLs. He did this because he had heard past experiences of fire fighters.
At times you have to leave your tools and that is important. Strategy is similar, in cases you have to drop the tools and work. The challenge is to know when to drop the tools.
You know, this works for meditations too. The Buddha when he was asked what he did to reach enlightenment, used to say – I stopped ‘doing’ and that’s how I reached enlightenment, in fact everyone is enlightened (yes! I have heard that Buddha said everyone is enlightened). I recollected few expert management consultants have told me in general that at times one needs to drop his tools. So mystical lesson, simple yet so difficult to implement.