The Subtle Art of Strategy: Organizational Planning in Uncertain Times


Strategy- and the planning that created it- has too often failed to deliver its promised results. The reasons for this failure are many and varied, but include an over-reliance on the next big thing in strategic methodology, a failure to recognize and deal with the total change that strategy requires in an organization, and an inability to deal with uncertainty. Wilson argues that strategy is a subtle and demanding art, far more than it is a science or a methodology.

• To succeed in dealing with complex, interacting forces inside and outside the organization, strategy must:

• Deal with the totality of the organization in the context of its total environment (not just one function or one facet of the organization)

• Learn to harness the power of opposites (the sometimes conflicting objectives of the organization, e.g., the long term and short term; vision and execution; economic constraints and social responsibility)

• Deal constructively with pervasive uncertainty in its future

• Develop a strategic vision

• Create a culture that fosters a strategic mindset throughout the organization.

Without constant change and adaptation, a strategy will fail. Continuing success depends, therefore, upon constant learning from customers, competitors, changes in our environment, and our own mistakes.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 2003


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