Discussion Post #3
Formulating and Implementing Strategy
Discussion Question: How might we formulate and implement successful strategies in light of the fact that a good deal of strategic planning involves the unknowable and unpredictable future?
Although the concept of formulating strategy appears obvious, the process is far from clear. In fact, much ink has been spilled in academic circles about the assumptions underlying the different approaches to strategic planning. Since these viewpoints influence how we look at and understand the various paradigms, we need to consider, on more in-depth levels, the specific practices and procedures associated with the formulation and execution of a strategic plan.
As noted in our course readings, successful strategic planning depends on effective leadership, meaningful incentives, established support systems, and the appropriate organizational structure. Donald Sull, in his 2007 article “Closing the Gap Between Strategy and Execution,” maintains that the execution of strategy is rarely neat and tidy, and as new technologies emerge, regulations change, customer preferences shift, and competitor strategies evolve, change is the norm. In this realm, “managers must capture new information, make midcourse corrections and get the timing right because being too early can often be just as costly as being too late” (p. 30). Sull’s message is clear:
Successful implementation of a strategic plan demands flexibility in order to ensure that all opportunities are maximized through the application of deliberate as well as emergent strategies. In short, the paramount goal of strategy formulation and implementation should be to match opportunity with competence.
Guidelines to Consider
* Do you think strategic planning is a rational process? Should it be?
* What is your reaction to the following statement: “A realized strategy can emerge in response to an...
References: Harvard Business School Press and the Society for Human Resource Management (2006). The essentials of strategy. Harvard Business School Publishing.
Lerner, A (1999). A strategic planning primer for higher education. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved at http://www.sonoma.edu/aa/planning/Strategic_Planning_Primer.pdf
Mintzberg, H. (1987). Crafting strategy. Harvard Business Review, pp. 66-75
Mintzberg, H. (1985). Of strategies: Deliberate and emergent. Strategic Management Journal, pp. 257-72.
Mintzberg, H. (1994). The rise and fall of strategic planning. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Sull, D. (2007). Closing the gap between strategy and execution. MIT Sloan Management Review. Vol. 48, No 4; pp. 30-38.
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