Marriott Alumni Magazine

Summer 1985 Exchange

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STRATIFIED PLANNING: THE CLUB SANDWICH MODEL Lynn McClurg Consider the club sandwich. It has a top and a bottom with various layers in between- turkey, lettuce, cheese, perhaps bacon and several other items. A toothpick holds the parts together. Now consider the two typical corporate or institutional planning strategies, often called "top down" and "bottom up" planning. Both have significant problems. Planning done by top management exclusively often doesn't meet the needs of those at the operational level. Executive-level managers just aren't exposed enough to the layers below them. Those at the operational level, on the other hand, frequently don't see the big picture clearly enough. Their planning often fails to fit well into the overall organization. That brings us back to the club sandwich, an apt metaphor for a synthesis of these two flawed approaches that yields a successful strategy: stratified planning. This kind of planning is done by managers in each layer, or stratum, of an organization but is guided by clear, general principles that apply to all. We (in BYU's central administration) are using this approach to guide planning for the emerging University Information System (UNIS). The unique feature of this approach is analogous to the toothpick in a club sandwich- in this case several toothpicks. These are the philosophical statements framed by top management. Just as toothpicks run through every layer of a club sandwich, these guiding philosophies, or planning criteria, should run through every stratum of an organization as managers make long- and short-range plans. One toothpick in a corporation's sandwich, for example, might establish whether the corporation intends to be a technological leader or to be a conservative actor in using technology. Another company may consciously 8

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