Should I Use ChatGPT to Create a Strategic Plan for my Business?


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By Steve Williams CExP™, CMMA

Having spent over three decades doing strategic planning for some of the biggest and best companies in the world, I started to wonder what role AI was ready to play in the strategic planning process. So, I asked ChatGPT to write a Strategic Plan for a small to mid-sized company servicing a major industry. This is what I found out.

In this critique, we delve into the potential drawbacks of relying solely on ChatGPT for developing a strategic plan and highlight the importance of human expertise in the process.

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Should I Use ChatGPT to Create a Strategic Plan for my Business

ChatGPT, powered by the GPT-3.5 architecture, is an advanced language model that can assist in generating content across various domains. However, when it comes to creating a strategic plan for companies, there are certain limitations and considerations that need to be addressed. Lack of Industry-Specific Knowledge: While ChatGPT can provide general information and insights, it lacks specific industry knowledge that is crucial for developing an effective strategic plan. Industries differ significantly in terms of market dynamics, competition, and customer preferences.

Without a deep understanding of these nuances, it becomes challenging to create a plan that is tailored to a company’s specific needs and goals. Strategic planning experts possess the industry-specific knowledge and experience necessary to analyze market trends, identify opportunities, and mitigate risks. Here are some specific thoughts on why ChatGPT is not ready to take on the Strategic Planning role for Companies.

Limited Contextual Understanding:

Although ChatGPT can generate coherent text, it may not fully grasp the underlying context or intricacies of a company’s internal operations, culture, and capabilities. Strategic planning requires a thorough understanding of these factors to align goals with the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Human strategists can leverage their contextual understanding to develop a plan that considers the unique aspects of the company and its ecosystem.

Lack of Critical Thinking and Judgment:

Strategic planning involves critical thinking, complex decision-making, and evaluating multiple variables simultaneously. While ChatGPT can generate responses based on patterns in the data it has been trained on, it does not possess human-level judgment or the ability to interpret and weigh information in the same way as a seasoned strategist. This limits its capacity to assess the feasibility and impact of different strategic options accurately.

Inability to Incorporate Real-Time Data:

Strategic planning requires up-to-date and relevant information to make informed decisions. ChatGPT’s lacks awareness of market trends, emerging technologies, and evolving consumer behavior. Strategists, on the other hand, can access real-time data, conduct market research, and incorporate the latest insights into the strategic planning process.

Ethical Considerations and Bias:

Language models like ChatGPT learn from vast amounts of data, including text from the internet, which can introduce biases into their responses. These biases may inadvertently influence the development of a strategic plan, leading to potentially flawed recommendations or decisions. Strategy advisors, guided by ethical standards, can identify and address biases, ensuring a more balanced and inclusive strategic approach.

Conclusion:

While ChatGPT is a remarkable tool for generating content and assisting with certain tasks, relying on it to create a strategic plan for a company presents significant limitations. The absence of industry-specific knowledge, limited contextual understanding, lack of critical thinking, inability to incorporate real-time data, and potential biases are factors that highlight the importance of human expertise in strategic planning. To ensure the highest level of success, companies should consider experienced strategic planners that will analyze and understand the business landscape, navigate complexities, and bring the judgment necessary to develop tailored and effective strategic plans.

Steve Williams CExP™, CMAA

is a Partner at Incentica Business Plans in Calgary. He is a certified exit planner and mergers & acquisitions advisor with 30 years of senior management and executive experience. Steve has written over 130 business plans and succession/exit plans for some of the biggest best, including Fortune 500 companies. Steve is a Business School grad and Harvard educated.

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