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Part II

Designing Strategy

49

Exercise 1: An Action Plan for Robin Hood

INSTRUCTIONS

Read the "Robin Hood" case below. Look at Robin Hood and his band of Merrymen as an organization. Think of their activities and the issues that they face using manage­ ment and business terms such as leadership, recruitment, revenue generation, expan­ sion, diversification, competition, and the like.

1. Identify elements of their organizational strengths and weaknesses. Examine the exter­ nal environment and identify opportunities and threats they face. Enter the items identi­ fied in the appropriate places in the TOWS matrix in Figure 7.1 that follows the case.

2.

Next, one by one, match the elements from the "Internal" axis (S or W) with ones from the "External" axis (0 or T) and write them as action steps (that is, actions the organization can undertake) in the inside boxes labeled SO, WO, ST, and WT . A brief example is given in the chart in Figure 7.1 to illustrate the process. Then answer questions 1 and 2 that follow.

ROBIN HOOD

I

t was in the spnn" 'Of the second year of his insurrection against the High Sheriff of N' tnng­ 1
.
ham that RobIn Ilvod took a walk in Sherwood Forest. As he walked, he pondered the pro­ gress of the campaign, the disposition of his forces, the Sheriffs recent moves, and the op­

tions that confronted him.
The revolt against the Sheriff had begun as a personal crusade. It erupted out of Robin's conflict with Ihe Shenff and his administration. However, alone Robin Hood could do little. He therefore sought ,il,eS. men with grievances and a deep sense of justice. Later he welcomed all who came, asklllg lew questions and demanding only a willingness to serve. Strcn"lh, he be­ lieved, lay in numbers.

He spent the first year forging the group into a disciplined band, united in eruruty against the Sheriff and willing to live outside the law. The band's organization was simple. Robin ruled su­ preme, making all important decisions. He delegated specific tasks to his lieutenants. Will Scar­ lett was in charge of intelligence and scouting. His main job was to shadow the Sheriff and his men, always alert to their next move. He also collected information on the travel plans of rich merchants and tax collectors. lirtle John kept discipline among the men, and saw to it that their archery was at the high peak that their profession demanded C;carlock took care of the finances, converting loot to cash, paying shares of the take, and findlO!' \wtable hiding places for the sur­ plus. Finally, Much, the Miller's son, had the difficult tash ot provisioning the ever increasing band of Merrymen.

The increasing size of the band was a source of satisfaction for Robin, but also a source of concern. The fame of his Merrymen was spreading, and new recruits poured in from every cor­ ner of England. As the band grew larger, their small bivouac became a major encampment. Be­ tween raids the men milled about, talking and playing games. Vigilance declined, and discipline

in Gopinath, C. (2005) Strategize! experiential exercises in strategic management.

50

Session 7

Generating a Plan of Action: SWOT Analysis

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was beCOmlll): harder to enforce. "Why," Robin reflected, "I don't know half the men I run into these days'
The growing band was also hl glilrung to exceed the food capacity of the forest. Game was becoming scarce, and supplies h.lJ te> be obtained from outlying villages. The cost of buying food was beginning to drain the band's fmancial reserves at the very moment when revenues were in decline. Travelers, especially those with the most to lose, were now giving the forest a wide berth. This was costly and inconvenient to them, but it was preferable to having all their goods confiscated.

Robin believed that the time had come for the Merrymen to change their policy of outright confiscation of goods to one of a fixed transit tax. His lieutenants strongly resisted this...
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