How culture impacts perceptions of strategy

Strategy factors in competitive analysis, swot analysis, financials, capabilities and what have you.

Strategic planning rarely takes into account the way that culture impacts the strategizers themselves, and thus the very  act of strategizing.

So, as they say in Chatuchuk Market in my favourite city, “lookie lookie” at the following examples.

  • People who come from an “empire” assume that strategy is a tool by which they can control and shape the environment.
  • People who come from cultures with a “survivor mentality” may believe that strategy is  dangerous or futile, because is mitigates immediate threats.
  • Folks who come from merchant cultures may believe that strategies defocus opportunities.
  • Folks who come from cultures where discretion is preferred to openness may believe that an espoused and transparent strategy increases  vulnerability. “Muddy the water, and catch the fish”.
  • People who come from very conservative cultures may view any strategic exercise as “threatening”.

Next time you sit down to strategize with folks in a very global organizational configuration, you would be best to flush out some of these assumptions.

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5 thoughts on “How culture impacts perceptions of strategy

  1. But Allon, isn’t the real value in strategic planning NOT in the document/plan itself but in the process that changes/reframes the thinking?

  2. Robin, that is a pragmatic view of its value. The perception that the “process” brings value would not be universally shared. Most Israelis believe it is a waste of time because “things change all the time”

  3. I found this interesting because the traditional (Empire based) notion of small businesses is to create a business plan. Yet I have found many successful people who do not – least not in any formal way. They may create a dialogue of some kind that helps them define products, strategy and tactics but they found the formal task a waste of time – only the conversation was of meaning.

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