Consider your organization or an organization you have worked for in the past. What is/was their strategy? Is/Was it a sound strategy? Do/Did they have a competitive advantage? Do/Did they have a sustainable competitive advantage? Is/Was the organization adhering to their strategy or deviating from it? Where are/were they strong? Where are/were they weak? If you were President of the organization, what recommendations would you make to ensure success with this strategy?
NOTE: I have often heard people say, we need a new strategy. It is IMPERATIVE to understand that changing the strategy is a LARGE and CUMBERSOME undertaking. What they really meant was we need to adjust our tactics in carrying out the strategy. It is important to understand the difference between tactics and strategy. Most of the time, organizations do not change their strategy, they just adjust their tactics. If they do change their strategy, it is not done is a couple of weeks. It usually takes up to two or three years to see the benefits. Discussion Board 1
The strategy of a startup company I worked for 20 years ago was extremely narrow, and focused on a very niche market. The strategy was actually more emergent than intended as it was not the “result of careful deliberation” (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington, 2008, p. 400), but rather was the outcome of ideas and plans that developed over time. The intent of the company was to develop software for the hospital food service industry to assist in ordering goods, preparing menus, and maintaining real-time inventory. The strategy was not robust, and without in-depth development, it was not sustainable. The strategy did not include a plan for determining specific target customers, methods to penetrate the market, how to identify and establish relationships with Key Opinion Leaders who would beta test, adopt, support and/or provide feedback on the product. The strategy did not specify why the product would be desired by consumers; also, the need the company was planning for the product to fulfill was not confirmed. Extensive market research was not conducted, and potential and existing competitors were not identified. This company consisted of a group of software engineers who believed in an idea but did not have the business savvy to understand the need for a strategy, and did not possess the ability to develop one. Therefore, the actual strategy was randomly developed. Strategy developed in this reactive manner is a hindrance as it does not allow the organization to shape its future (David, 2013).
“The concept of a strategic customer is helpful because it focuses consideration on who the strategy is targeting” (Johnson, et al., 2008, p. 229). However, the company, in terms of competitive advantage, had entered into a new market space in which they assessed there were no competitors. This was not based on research or an industry analysis; it was an assumption, which turned out to be somewhat erroneous, and as a result, there was understanding for the creation of a differentiation strategy to “achieve competitive advantage by offering better products or services” (Johnson, et al., 2008, p. 229). While no direct competition existed at the time, there were other companies working to develop similar software, although none had as yet been released or progressed beyond beta testing. Competitive intelligence was not diligently pursued, putting the company at a significant disadvantage when attempting to determine messaging, product positioning, and pricing. Everything considered, the company was at a competitive disadvantage because of untrained leadership, an undefined strategy, vaguely directed tactical implementations by various departments, and a lack of sufficient funding. Without a sound business strategy, the company floundered from the beginning and rather than develop a plan and work in support of it, the company co-Presidents were distracted by any new opportunity that would bring in short term...
References: David, F. (2011), Strategic Management: A Competitive Advantage Approach, Concepts and Cases, Pearson Prentice Hall 14th Edition.
Fann, G., & Smeltzer, L. (1989), Communication attributes used by Small Business Owner/Managers for Operational Decision Making, Journal of Business Communication, 26 (4) p305-321.
Worth, J. (2013), Growth spurts, Entrepreneur, 41 (4), p72-72.
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