After lunch, participants return to the lecture room to listen to a presentation on marketplace insight. They again break into their teams for four hours and document critical marketplace changes, perhaps with customers, competitors or technologies.

By Friday, the teams have finished all seven parts of the BLM and the strategy is complete.

Don't Outsource Strategy

There are many activities a business may choose to outsource, but strategy development is not one. The main task of the head of any business is to set direction and align the organization to move in that direction. It's hard to imagine a new NFL coach outsourcing strategy development.

Putting a time limit on strategy development ensures it will be completed and implemented quickly.

These strategies may not have the analytical beauty of a year-long consultant-led strategy. However, too often, data is overused during strategy discussions. Dive too deep and you miss important conceptual patterns. And will your decisions really change if you find that your market share is 18.3% versus 17.4%? Get enough data to make a quality decision and then move forward.

Finally, strategies should be living documents written in pencil and revised as the marketplace changes. Mike Tyson said it well: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

Don't outsource strategy. Make it your managers' main responsibility. Then get really good at it.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Hall is managing director of Human Capital Systems (, a firm that designs systems for improving workforce performance. He is also an instructor in Duke Corporate Education's teaching network and author of The New Human Capital Strategy. Hall was formerly a senior vice president at ABN AMRO Bank in Amsterdam and IBM Asia-Pacific's executive in charge of executive leadership and organization effectiveness. During his tenure, IBM was twice ranked No. 1 in the world in Hewitt/Chief Executive magazine's "Top Company for Leaders." Hall completed his Ph.D in industrial-organizational psychology at Tulane University, with a dissertation on people management practices of Japanese corporations.

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