The message of this book is that doing a good job of managing inherently requires good strategic thinking. Today’s managers have to think strategically about their company’s position and about the impact of changing conditions. They have to monitor the company’s external environment and internal capabilities closely enough to know when to institute strategy changes. They have to know the business well enough to determine what kinds of strategic changes to initiate. Simply said, the fundamentals of strategic management need to drive the whole approach to managing organizations.
The chief executive officer of one successful company put it well when he said: In the main, our competitors are acquainted with the same fundamental concepts and techniques and approaches that we follow, and they are as free to pursue them as we are. More often than not, the difference between their level of success and ours lies in the relative thoroughness and self-discipline with which we and they develop and execute our strategies for the future.
The advantages of first-rate strategic thinking and conscious strategy management (as opposed to freewheeling improvisation, gut feel, and hoping for good luck) include (1) providing better guidance to the entire organization on the crucial point of “what it is we are trying to do,” (2) making managers and organizational members more alert to new opportunities and threatening developments, (3) helping to unify the organization, (4) creating a more proactive management posture, (5) promoting the development of a constantly evolving business model that will produce sustained bottom-line success for the enterprise, and (6) providing managers with a rationale for evaluating competing budget requests—a rationale that argues strongly for steering resources into strategy-supportive, results-producing areas.
Trailblazing strategies can be the key to better long-term performance.