The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Chapter 8: Strategy development
Latin American companies have been developing increasingly sophisticated mechanisms to build their strategies. Based on experience, if you had asked in the 1990s how many companies had gone through a formal process to develop strategy, the answer would have been no more than 40 percent. However, by 2013 the figure was easily over 60 percent. Traditionally, by the end of the last century owners and managers did not have an explicit, but rather an implicit, strategy, which meant that they did not share what they saw as the strategy of their companies with anyone else. That was done mostly to avoid showing to others the main strategic routes the company was following, to keep them secret even within the organization and hidden from its top executives. Thus strategy development very rarely considered participation from a broader management team, let alone those from lower organizational levels. The definition of strategy was generally vertical, with lower-level executives and other employees simply acting as per directions from above. Also, in most cases decision-makers were just a few, typically one to three (Ickis, 2000). As an example, in the 1990s a South American businessman, when asked about the desired level of involvement from his executives in a process to develop his business strategy, said: ‘I would like to do it only between you and me, Mr Consultant.’
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