If your organizational development is like that in other companies, your managers go through intense training in various disciplines and in various aspects of your business. When it comes to strategy, however, there is no clear path. You can teach theory and methods but you can’t teach thinking and experience.

When the military trains officers, they don’t just lecture about guns and giving orders. They make them go out and practice it, in a safe but realistic way, through mock battles. That’s the only way to learn.

The most-critical component of strategic thinking is realizing that your logic does not apply to others. Your spreadsheets and trend lines analyze in a vacuum but you don't compete in a vacuum. Your competitors and customers aren't bound to behave as you wish.
This concept may be obvious in the classroom but it's not obvious in practice. In fact, it comes as a surprise to executives who think their strategy has been carefully thought out and will not fail. No one adopts a strategy expecting it to fail, yet strategies fail.

SYNC Strategy
The rationale behind SYNC
Do you know why smart strategists choose strategies that fail? Because they believed their strategies would succeed, and they were wrong.

No executive-development program explicitly teaches future leaders how to systematically confront competitive reality. Companies hope and presume their rising stars will acquire this skill with growing experience. Many will. But experience is the most-expensive way to learn because it takes a long time, it’s ambiguous, and it’s done with live ammunition.

Most important, experience is the most-expensive way to learn because it’s too late.

In SYNC, your rising stars get their surprises where surprises are cheap, fast, clear, and safe. Isn’t that what you want your company’s future leaders to learn, and isn’t that how you want them to learn it?

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." — Derek Bok, president of Harvard University from 1971-1990

Practice and gain experience
where it's safe