In the world of corporate strategy, smart decisions fuel success. With the power of generative AI at our fingertips, the savviest corporate strategists are super charging their approach by embracing my advice to lean into a human+AI partnership. How do I recommend that they do this? Using well known frameworks, woven into large language model prompts, as their secret weapon. Then, following up the initial responses with an interactive conversation with the LLM. One prompt isn't the end of your partnership! It's the beginning.
Here are ten indispensable frameworks that, when paired with prompts in ChatGPT (or other LLMs such as Sage, Claude, or PaLM), are amplifying strategic thinking and setting the stage for market winners and losers.
Background Context -
Do this First!
Anyone working extensively with LLMs such as ChatGPT knows that providing the tool with rich background information is the secret sauce to eliciting the highest quality and most insightful responses from these machine assistants. Without this context, the AI lacks the necessary information to generate non-generic responses. Recognizing this, OpenAI recently launched the Custom Instructions feature for ChatGPT (this is an exciting update!) This feature allows users to include instructions, or context, that remains consistent across all new threads created while those instructions are in place. Doing so significantly improves the model's understanding of the situation. As a result, users experience enhanced interactions, with responses that are more tailored, relevant, and insightful, enabling more effective utilization of AI capabilities in a wide range of applications.
Sample Custom Instruction: "As you construct your responses, keep in mind that I am a corporate strategist at [company name], a global leader in the automotive industry, with focus on tire manufacturing and rubber products. We also extend our reach to diversified products, such as automotive parts and industrial items.
Our main competitors include [company name], [company name], and [company name], and we continually strive to differentiate ourselves. Our customers predominantly choose us for our product quality, brand reputation, and comprehensive after-sales services. Our current consumers tend to be less price conscious and more focused on quality. Business-to-business sales are a significant focus area. We are targeting emerging markets for future expansion opportunities. We've recently made headlines due to our efforts to develop environmentally friendly products and reduce our carbon footprint. We're facing challenges including fluctuating raw material prices and the need for continuous technological innovation to stay ahead.
Please tailor your advice to these factors, providing insights that take into account our industry's specifics, our scale, recent news items, and the evolving dynamics of the automotive sector."
Now that you've loaded the context, let's dig into specifics about using structured frameworks plus thoughtful prompts to create a powerful strategic brainstorming AI partner.
Note: All sample prompts use the paid ChatGPT-4 model plus the Web Requests plug-in. Also, loading links to specific websites such as your company's site and competitor's sites is powerful (add the Link Reader plug-in for this capability). Further, adding rich context such as public earnings call transcripts adds context (add the File Uploader extension for large documents, Code Interpreter for even larger documents, or the AI PDF plug-in specifically for PDFs).
1. SWOT Analysis - Illuminating Strategic Goals
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis lets you dive deeply into your organization, turning self-knowledge into smart strategy.
Prompt: Using the web, apply a SWOT analysis to our organization. Based on discoveries, craft plans to maximize strengths and tackle weaknesses.
2. Porter's Five Forces - Paving the Path to Success
With Porter's Five Forces, you'll get a bird's eye view of your competitive landscape, helping you carve a successful path.
Prompt: Using the web, apply Porter's Five Forces to our industry. Identify threats and opportunities, then brainstorm actions for competitive advantage.
3. PESTEL/PESTLE Analysis - Navigating the Macro Environment
PESTEL/PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal) analysis equips you to sail smoothly through external factors shaping your organization's destiny.
Prompt: Using the web, apply the PESTEL framework to understand the big-picture factors influencing our organization. Brainstorm strategies to ride the wave of emerging trends.
4. Growth Strategies - Paving the Path to Prosperity
Different growth strategies can help steer your organization towards increased revenue and profit. Choose your direction: organic growth, diversification, acquisition, market penetration, product development, or geographic expansion.
Prompt: Using the web, consider different growth strategies for our organization. Include organic growth, diversification, acquisition, market penetration, product development, and geographic expansion. Pick one that matches our vision and outline implementation steps.
5. Balanced Scorecard - Holistic Performance Measurement
The Balanced Scorecard gives a 360-degree view of your business's performance across four perspectives: financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth.
Prompt: Using the web, craft a Balanced Scorecard for our organization. How do these metrics align with our strategic goals?
6. Blue Ocean Strategy - Creating New Growth Horizons
The Blue Ocean Strategy is a call to explore uncharted market spaces. Innovate to stand out from the crowd and unlock new growth paths.
Prompt: Using the web, apply the Blue Ocean Strategy to identify untapped market spaces. Propose two innovative products or services to meet customer needs.
7. McKinsey 7-S Framework - Ensuring Alignment
The McKinsey 7-S Framework looks at seven core organizational elements to ensure everything aligns for effective strategy implementation.
Prompt: Using the web, apply the 7-S Framework to examine our organization. Spot an area for improvement to boost overall effectiveness.
8. Ansoff Matrix - Mapping Growth Opportunities
The Ansoff Matrix is your map to growth, examining new and existing products in new and existing markets.
Prompt: Using the web, apply the Ansoff Matrix to our organization. Recommend a strategic move that matches our risk appetite and vision.
9. Industry Analysis - Understanding the Landscape
Industry analysis gives you a window into your industry landscape. Stay informed about trends, competitors, and opportunities.
Prompt: Using the web, conduct an in-depth analysis of our industry. Suggest strategies to capitalize on opportunities and tackle challenges.
10. Scenario Planning - Building Resilience
Scenario planning is all about being ready for anything. By imagining different futures, you can prepare your organization to adapt and thrive.
Prompt: Using the web, dream up three potential futures considering possible industry disruptors. Based on these, outline flexible strategies to ensure resilience.
For corporate strategists, these ten frameworks are well-worn tools in your toolkit. By harnessing them in partnership with AI prompting and following the initial prompts with interactive model discussions, you're building a human+AI augmented intelligence partnership to help you to seize opportunities, navigate challenges, and make a tangible impact on your organization's success. Although these examples are targeted at strategists, the same concepts apply to anyone tackling complex problems. I encourage everyone to try it!