What to Do When Strategic Goals Conflict

by Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville

Strategy is the practice of translating your organization’s vision and purpose into a set of specific goals, and then developing plans and actions to achieve them. As such, strategy is all about choices—what to do and what not to do; where to invest and where to pull back; how fast or slowly to proceed; how much risk to take.

On paper, this looks like a rational and straightforward process—just lay out the possible goals and plans, analyze the pros and cons, and make your decisions. The reality, however, is far messier. Sometimes the goals that emerge will require resources and skills that don’t exist on your team; at other times the various goals—each of ...

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