M. Dana Baldwin reviews:
Preventing Strategic Gridlock
By Pamela S. Harper


Preventing Strategic Gridlock is an appropriate and helpful read to anyone who is responsible for implementing strategies. First the author defines Strategic Gridlock as "the mysterious paralysis that occurs when persistent organizational problems snarl business performance.

Next, she identifies seven hidden roadblocks:

  • "One-Size-Fits-All Thinking: The tendency to think one solution will meet everyone's needs."
  • "Management by Lobotomy: The tendency to over-rely on "organizational surgery" to solve persistent organizational problems."
  • "Act Now, Think Later: The tendency to assume you have enough information to select strategies and initiatives that meet your organization's real needs."
  • "Magic of the Marquee Thinking: The tendency to expect the organization to instantly make changes happening."
  • "Roller Coaster Thinking: The tendency to assume that introducing a rapid series of new strategies and initiatives will move the organization forward."
  • "Tin Ear: The tendency to assume there is only one "tone" of reality."
  • "Lighthouse: The tendency to assume that it's best to "stay the course" despite clear-cut danger signs."

Finally, she introduces her concepts for recognizing and correcting the situation.
She uses the term: U.N.L.O.C.K. to guide the reader through the necessary steps.
"U.nderstand the Full Challenge."
"N.egotiate Key Stakeholder Buy-in."
"L.ocate Cultural Advancers and Blockers."
"O.rganize Relevant Priorities, Goals and Action Plans."
"C.ommunicate Credibly."
"K.eep Adjusting."

There is a considerable amount of good thought and guidance in her analysis. Each chapter contains excellent examples of the problems companies have encountered, checklists for identifying problem areas, FAQs and guidelines. Multiple approaches or processes are offered to the reader, allowing the appropriate ones to be selected and applied, based on the individual company circumstances.

In summary, this book is a great supplement to Simplified Strategic Planning. It adds some further guidance and additional considerations to SSP, and will assist the reader in effectively planning and communicating plans, changes and strategy initiatives in their companies.

Dana Baldwin is a Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached via e-mail at

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