The Chemistry of Strategy tm Newsletter May 10, 2012

Are your meetings truth-seeking?

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In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt reinforces the notion that we don't make decisions "rationally." The actual process we use is to unconsciously come up with a nearly instantaneous instinctive answer. If that answer is challenged, again without a pause for thought, we use our rational mind to justify our instinctive answer.

"In the same way, each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the position he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it’s so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth."

The quote from Haidt, above, illustrates why the ideal strategic planning team is a functionally diverse group of 5 to 12 people. The team should cover all aspects of the company -- accounting, sales, operations, marketing, etc. It should include the CEO, the CEO's direct reports, and the chiefs of functional areas. Typically, the planning team is made up of your direct reports, one outside consultant/partner, and one or two specialists who will strongly influence the company's future success.

Create a strategic plan with your team

"Management is doing things right,
leadership is doing the right things." -Peter Drucker

How long have you been saying that you are going to develop your strategic plan, but you haven't yet done so? Why? Perhaps it remains on your to-do list because it feels like a huge, laborious process and you haven't the time to spare to do it. Peak-performing companies have a clearly defined strategic plan…and it doesn't have to take long to create an effective one.

Your executive team costs you over a million dollars a year. Are you fully utilizing them? It's a waste of time and money to create a plan that they don't own and implement.

John W. Myrna

is co-founder of
Myrna Associates Inc


John Recommends

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg

As much as 40% of the daily routines of organizations and individuals are executed by habit.

Duhigg explains the elements of a habit and how to establish and change winning ones.

Speaking Gigs

John loves to share his insights. Email him if you'd like to have him speak at your next meeting.

True or False?

"We have a plan -- the CEO wrote it himself."



"The team got a great deal from the time invested in the process and put our team on the right path to clarify and communicate a common vision, mission, strategy."

John Vincent President, Firestone Industrial Products


Myrna Associates Inc.
421 Timber Creek Drive, Athens GA 30605-7027

Copyright 2012 Myrna Associates Inc.