"Strategy without action is only a daydream, but action without strategy is a nightmare" Discuss the benefits of formal corporate planning in directing organisational action

Topics: Strategic planning, Strategic management, Organization Pages: 6 (1582 words) Published: November 21, 2002

This essay will discuss the benefits of corporate strategic planning. Firstly, we will look at what strategy is, and why strategic planning is important to an organisation. Secondly, what types of strategic models are used for planning, and finally given that organisations are increasingly complex and market dynamics are constantly changing is there a need for strategic corporate planning in the 21st century.

It is hard to get a proper definition of what strategy means today. Brian Huffman in his article "what makes strategy brilliant?" says many books offer theories of strategy and "that a popular book on strategic management does not define the word strategy until page 127". Huffman continues that the reason; generally definitions are overly complex. Simply, he says, at its highest level "it is a general statement of how a firm intends to win"

Here is an example of strategy in the make: "In 1999, his holiness, Pope John Paul II, launched a CD Abba Pater on which he raps, in a collaborative effort with techno and ambient musicians, the Pope goes pop" Funky Business (p 40).

Is it fair to say that as far as today's strategy is concerned, the Vatican certainly has their papal finger on the pulse! But where does strategy come from? We know that strategy is even older than Catholicism, as reference is often made to the strategy approaches championed by the military - Sun Tzu - more than two thousand years ago the Chinese warrior, Sun Tzu explored the issues of military strategy in his book titled the "Art of War". He details the use of strategic planning to be able to win without actually having to fight. "Sun Tzu and Machiavelli on strategy"

Johnson and Scholes (p163) differentiates between strategy and strategic planning "Strategy, is of course, not the same as 'the plan' - strategy is the long-term direction that the organisation is following, not a 'written document on an executive's shelf'

Richard T Pascale wrote in his article titled "Surfing the edge of chaos", that pre 1945, the commercial ethos was "buy a little, sell a little". However, post 1945, corporate strategy really started to develop as a discipline, and by the 1960s and1970's strategic concepts and techniques were being adopted as organisations began to take a more national approach to business.

Richard W. Oliver wrote in his article "The future of strategy", in the 1960s and 1970s strategic planning was considered a science. By developing rational models for decision making purposes a process for success would follow.

A brief overview of one such planning tool is the 3-D model (Diagnose, Decide and Deliver). The 3-D model follows a specific process that involves a sequence of stages: diagnose the situation, analyse the company resources to provide alternatives, set objectives, select among alternatives, implement (strategy) and control by reviewing set objectives.

An example of the types of tools that the 3-D model incorporates are as follows: management audit tool (diagnoses the situation and provides analyses of whether an organisation has the resources available to achieve the set strategic goals). SWOT analysis tool analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Product life cycle tool looks at where is it in its life cycle; introduction, growth, maturity or decline, and asks should new products be introduced before decline. The portfolio analysis looks at the position of the business and informs an organisation of its ability to grow and generate revenue and positions the business in terms of finance, resources, marketing and what is available now to face the future.

In the 1980s, alternative strategy models came in to play as market forces began to change and organisations were taking a more global and environmental approach. Linear models gave way to more flexible, dynamic models, such as Michael Porter's (the Harvard-based guru) strategic model...

Bibliography: Mark Journal of Business Strategy, July-August 2002 v23 i4 p6(4) "The future of strategy" by Richard W. Oliver.
ft.com, 2000, "Funky Business" Ridderstrate J and Nordstrom K
Journal of Business Strategy, Jan-Feb 1995 v16 n1 p16(3) "Sun Tzu and Machiavelli on strategy"
Sloan Management Review, Spring 1999 v40 i3 p83(1) "Surfing the edge of chaos" Richard T. Pascale.
Ivey Business Journal, Jan 2001 v65 i3 p64 "The failure of strategy: It 's all in the execution" Eric Beaudan,
Business Horizons, July 2001 v44 i4 p13 "What Makes a Strategy Brilliant?" Brian Huffman.
Journal of Business Strategy, Jan-Feb 1995 v16, p16 "Sun Tzu and Machiavelli on Strategy"
Pearson Education, 2002, 6th Edition "Exploring Corporate Strategy" Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes
Management Review, April 1997 v86 n4 p8(6) "the essence of strategy" Tom Brown
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