We have learned that long-term objectives are not accomplished by maximizing short-term profits or gains and long-term objectives are flexible, measurable, motivating, suitable, and understandable (Pearce 2011, 181). The same would apply in the WWII long-term objective of the allies entering Berlin. One could make the argument that since the end result is clear--enter Berlin and eliminate Hitler--that a work backwards strategy would be most effective, but given a deadline that is more as soon as possible versus a specific date, a strategy that starts at the beginning and works step-by-step toward the end goal would better support a flexible, measurable, and understandable strategy for senior leaders to develop and pass on to middle and lower level leaders. A beginning to end strategy could begin with a SWOT analysis of each step of the mission, taking into account possible ally reinforcements or help to be gained on the way, anticipate possible threats and opportunities for each stage of the mission, and outline alternative plans for eliminating each threat with a clear exit strategy if opposition is too dominant. Looking at a step-by-step strategy from beginning to end will also allow leaders to more clearly explain, measure, and motivate others for each stage of the mission. As victory or success is achieved at each stage leaders can regroup or reinvest toward progressing to the final goal or grand strategy of reaching Berlin. Flexibility is also gained because leaders can establish alternate routes or plans more easily from a forward thinking strategy versus a reverse planned strategy. In conclusion, a military strategy—much like a business strategy—needs to be well thought out with decisions for every scenario and possible outcome anticipated decided upon before crossing the starting line…whether the end goal is known or not. Reference:
Pearce, J.A. & Robinson, R.B. (2011). Strategic management: formulation, implementation, and control (12th ed.)....
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