Simulation Reflection

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This paper is a reflection on three simulations as each relates to strategic planning. The first simulation, “Thinking Strategically,” highlights the importance of environmental scanning. The second simulation, “Developing Grand Strategies,” challenged decisions made for a company which lead to effective strategy formulation and choices. The third simulation, “Creating a Strategic Road Map,” provided a simulated experience of how to build a strategic roadmap focusing on the importance and effectiveness of formulating action plans and goals. This reflective approach will convey the lessons learned relative to the importance and effectiveness of the key learning points obtained through each simulation. The challenges faced by strategic planners will be discussed from the discoveries of lessons learned in the three simulations. Environmental scanning provides the opportunity for detailed insight for a company’s current position as well as desired position in the industry. Scanning discoveries provide the company with awareness to warnings signs of external conditions facing competitors and the economy. As shown in the simulation, “Thinking Strategically,” environmental scanning encourages a company to evaluate and promote an appropriate vision and an improved sense of direction for all stakeholders. The information gathered in an environmental scan, also provides the company with future trends data. This discovery information can warn company officials of the rising or declining of trends on the horizon. The simulation used a SWOT analysis as an effective tool of environmental scanning. An analysis of strengths and weaknesses is obtained through internal sources, whereas, opportunities and threats information is obtained externally. All SWOT factors are critical for the company’s successful strategy. Analyses of each including a matched pair analysis are essential in determining the future prospects of the given industry and developing a specific industry niche. In the simulation, the bike company, BJ’s, built a business on baby boomers. BJ’s brand image is geared toward male extreme bikers. However, women comprise almost half of the biking industry. BJ’s identify key strategy concepts by the use of SWOT analysis to achieve the long-term vision of becoming the top ranking specialty bicycle retailer in terms of revenue in the next five years. The approach to increase marketing efforts towards women, including hiring female consultants, is the most logical in a global environment where women’s sports and athleticism is gaining in popularity. Scanning one’s environment creates a clearer global portrait and significantly impacts all decisions necessary for optimal business outcomes. Throughout the simulation, the primary lesson learned was the value of using various sources of information and implications that such can have on outcomes of strategic planning. BJ’s and any given company can benefit through using material pertaining to statistical studies in relation to historical data gained from previous years of operation reports. For example, industry, population, age, race, and geographic areas can separate this information and locations to assist with making well-informed decisions. The results of such analysis can provide a clear direction necessary for maximizing strategic plan designs. This evaluation will aid companies in understanding how to best hedge against competing practices by knowing the appropriate target audience and building company opportunities designed richly to attract such consumers, clients and employees. “The two most prominent sources of competitive advantage can be found in the business's cost structure and its ability to differentiate the business from competitors,” (Pearce and Robinson, Ch. 7). Without environmental scanning, strategic planners will offer information to businesses blindly. Mere internal information can be beneficial for company cultural concerns, but the external information can...
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