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OpenStrategies, Performance Management

Why most public sector strategies aren’t actually strategies at all

My good friend Phil Driver’s book “Validating Strategies” is published this month and, ahead of the launch, he’s written a short article which appeared in the Guardian yesterday.

Phil says: “Almost every strategy I have reviewed fails in one of two ways:
1. Most strategies aren’t actually strategies
2. Most strategies aren’t validated”

Examples of non-strategies include:

  • “Ensure low levels of obesity amongst school children”
  • “Optimise the government’s return-on-investment from investing in … (insert your major investment of choice)”

“ensure” or “optimise” are not action verbs or strategies, they are merely aspirations masquerading as strategies.

Read the full article to get Phil’s perspective on what’s really needed if the public sector is serious about creating proper strategies that degenerate into benefits for communities.

There’s also an interesting comment on the article which ends by saying: “Unfortunately the public sector is structured in such a way that this holistic approach is nigh-on impossible particularly in multi-agency contexts.”

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