Chapter 11. Strategic Gaps

While studying strategy in many organizations, Stephen Bungay discovered that, when companies approach strategy as a plan, they often fail to achieve what they expected. This failure stems from the actions taken to fill the following gaps that exist between outcomes, plans, and actions. These gaps ultimately cause friction within the organization:

  • The Knowledge Gap

  • The Alignment Gap

  • The Effects Gap

The Knowledge Gap

The Knowledge Gap (Figure 11-1) is the difference between what management would like to know and what the company actually knows. Organizations try to fill this gap by providing and demanding more detailed information.

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Figure 11-1. The Knowledge Gap, by Stephen Bungay from the Art of Action (reprinted by permission of Hodder & Stoughton)

If you’re a leader saying to yourself, “Oh, damn, that’s me,” you are not alone. These were the exact words that popped out of the mouth of a CEO when I introduced this concept to him. This issue is probably the most readily recognizable of the gaps.

We also saw this gap surface with the CTO of Marquetly. He demanded that we lay out every single detail of a not-yet-validated product so that he could feel more certain about what we were doing. A deluge of information isn’t always that helpful for upper management. You need to focus on communicating and asking for just enough information to make a ...

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