THE STRATEGY LENSES
The four lenses are introduced more fully immediately after this chapter and will provide the framework for separate commentaries on each of the three parts of this book. This section introduces them brieﬂy as follows:
Strategy as design. This takes the view that strategy development can be ‘designed’ in the abstract, as an architect might design a building using pens, rulers and paper. The architect designs, and then hands over the plans for the builders actually to build. This design lens on strategy encourages a large investment in planning and analysis before making ﬁnal decisions. It tends to exclude improvisation in strategy development and underplay the unpredictable, conservative or political
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New ideas bubble up through unpredictable and competitive processes. The variety lens therefore emphasises the importance of promoting diversity in and around organisations, in order to allow the seeding of as many genuinely new ideas as possible. Somebody with a variety lens would look for future strategies at the bottom and the periphery of organisations. They should be ready for surprises. Strategy as discourse. Managers spend most of their time talking, persuading and negotiating. They are always using language, or what is here called ‘discourse’. The discourse lens points to how command of strategy discourse becomes a resource for managers by which to shape ‘objective’ strategic analyses to their personal views and to gain inﬂuence, power and legitimacy. Treating strategy as a discourse focuses attention on the ways managers use language to frame strategic problems, make strategy proposals, debate issues and then ﬁnally communicate strategic decisions. For believers in the discourse lens, strategy ‘talk’ matters. The discourse lens tries to look under the surface of strategy to uncover the personal interests and politicking in organisations. Taking a discourse lens thus encourages a somewhat sceptical view.
None of these lenses is likely to offer a complete view of a strategic situation. The point of the lenses is to encourage