Rev. Stephen O. Asaju
Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.
Strategic Management as a term and concept is not new. The term was first used in the 1970s, and it meant that a staff of strategic planners more or less thought up strategic programs and then tried to sell them to decision makers. In the 1980s and 1990s, the view of strategic planning and strategic management was much different. According to Goodstein, Nolan, and Pfeiffer strategic planning is “.... the process by which the guiding members of an organization envision its future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future.” The concept of strategic management builds on this definition of strategic planning, recognizing that although planning is the prelude of strategic management, it is insufficient if not followed by the deployment and implementation of the plan and the evaluation of the plan in action. Strategic management is a systems approach to identifying and making the necessary changes and measuring the organization’s performance as it moves toward its vision. It has been defined as a “. . . . management . . . system . . . that links strategic planning and decision making with the day-to-day business of operational management.” Consequently, the first decade of the 21st Century has experienced major modifications and paradigm shift in Strategic Management from Traditional to Post-Modern models. STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT MODEL
Strategic Management goes beyond the development of a strategic plan, which included the pre-planning and strategic planning processes. Strategic Management is the deployment and implementation of the Strategic Plan and measurement and evaluation of the results. Deployment involves completing the plan and communicating it to all employees. Implementation involves resourcing the plan, putting it into action, and managing those actions. Measurement and evaluation consists not only of tracking implementation actions, but, more importantly, assessing how the organization is changing as a result of those actions and using that information to update the plan. THE ROLE OF THE SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM
It is the responsibility of senior leadership to strategically manage the organization. Strategic management is a continuous process rather than a one-time event. Therefore, the senior leaders must become strategic thinkers and leaders of the organization and its culture, changing it as necessary. To be the most successful, leaders need to be facilitators, coaches, consultants, and consensus-builders. Transformational leadership is described by Bernard Bass as superior leadership performance that occurs when leaders broaden and elevate the interests of their employees, when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and mission of the group, and when they stir their employees to look beyond their own self interest for the good of the group. Acquiring transformational leadership traits requires hard work and dedication, willingness to take some risks, and internalizing the organization’s vision and guiding principles.
BENEFITS OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
When an organization is practicing strategic management, thinking becomes more visionary, which is characterized by: 1. Breakthrough thinking about the future; organizational boundaries are more flexible. 2. A shift in focus from the inputs that are used to run the business to the outputs and outcomes the organization desires to achieve. 3. A focus on optimizing organizational performance and process quality as keys to delivering quality products and services. 4. A move toward an organizational culture that adapts easily to change. With practice, patience, dedication, and hard work, the organizational learning that...