Strategy–Art or Discipline?

posted by WMC

Valley Sunset

There’s a difference between the art of strategy and the discipline of a strategic plan.

Why is strategy an art? Because it’s debatable. Because we’re never certain just exactly what is good strategy. Because its definition changes over time. But like art, there are certain properties of strategy that stay relatively constant over time—its representational properties that aim to guide, and its expressive properties that aim to inspire.

So why is strategic planning a discipline? Because a strategic plan turns the representational aspects of strategy into more deliberate commitments to action. These pledges of time and effort can be monitored for how well they’re being put into practice. And the planning process is itself a discipline or a system for making choices. The activity of planning also acts like a training or health discipline that strengthens and broadens the cognitive abilities of its participants.

However, the discipline of a strategic plan only captures a portion of the art of strategy. Both are needed. The creative (and skillful) aspects of the art help us express and share our ambitions. The selective (and prioritized) aspects of the discipline help us spotlight and focus on what we can achieve.

Ludmila Jagiellicz – WMC Vancouver

Click here to see Ludmila’s article on LinkedIn.

The opinions represented here do not necessarily represent WMC’s views as a whole.