crafting & executing strategy: the quest for competitive advantage

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Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage


  • Confirming Pages



    Learning Objectives

    LO 1 Grasp why it is critical for company managers to have a clear strategic vision of where a company needs to head and why.

    LO 2 Understand the importance of setting both strategic and financial objectives.

    LO 3 Understand why the strategic initiatives taken at various organizational levels must be tightly coordinated to achieve companywide performance targets.

    LO 4 Become aware of what a company must do to achieve operating excellence and to execute its strategy proficiently.

    LO 5 Become aware of the role and responsibility of a companys board of directors in overseeing the strategic management process.

    The vision we have ... determines what we do and the opportunities we see or dont see.

    Charles G. Koch CEO of Koch Industries

    I dream for a living.

    Steven Spielberg The most financially

    successful motion picture director in history

    A good goal is like a strenuous exerciseit makes you stretch.

    Mary Kay Ash Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

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  • Confirming Pages

    Crafting and executing strategy are the heart and soul of managing a business enterprise. But exactly what is involved in developing a strategy and executingit proficiently? What are the various components of the strategy-making, strategy-executing process and to what extent are company personnelaside from senior managementinvolved in the process? In this chapter, we present an overview of the ins and outs of crafting and executing company strategies. Special attention will be given to managements direction-setting responsibilitiescharting a stra-tegic course, setting performance targets, and

    choosing a strategy capable of producing the desired outcomes. We will also explain why strategy making is a task for a companys entire manage-ment team and discuss which kinds of strategic decisions tend to be made at which levels of mana-gement. The chapter concludes with a look at the roles and responsibilities of a companys board of directors in the strategy-making, strategy-executing process and how good corporate governance protects shareholder interests and promotes good management.

    WHAT DOES THE STRATEGY-MAKING, STRATEGY-EXECUTING PROCESS ENTAIL? The managerial process of crafting and executing a companys strategy consists of five integrated tasks:

    1. Developing a strategic vision that charts the companys long-term direction, a mission statement that describes the companys purpose, and a set of core values to guide the pursuit of the vision and mission.

    2. Setting objectives for measuring the companys performance and tracking its progress in moving in the intended long-term direction .

    3. Crafting a strategy to move the company along the strategic course that management has charted and achieve the objectives.

    4. Executing the chosen strategy efficiently and effectively. 5. Monitoring developments, evaluating performance, and initiating corrective adjustments in the companys

    vision and mission statement, objectives, strategy, or approach to strategy execution in light of actual expe-rience, changing conditions, new ideas, and new opportunities.

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  • Confirming Pages

    20 Part 1 Concepts and Techniques for Crafting and Executing Strategy

    Figure2.1 displays this five-task process, which we examine next in some detail. The first three tasks of the strategic management process make up a strategic plan.

    A strategic plan maps out where a company is headed, establishes strategic and financialtargets, and outlines the competitive moves and approaches to be used in achieving the desired business results. 1

    A companys strategic plan lays out its future direction, performance targets, and strategy.

    FIGURE 2.1 The Strategy-Making, Strategy-Executing Process

    Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Task 5

    Developinga strategic

    vision,mission, and core values


    Crafting astrategy

    to achieve theobjectives and the company


    Executingthe strategy


    evaluatingperformance,and initiating


    Revise as needed in light of the companys actualperformance, changing conditions, new opportunities,

    and new ideas


    At the outset of the strategy-making process, a companys senior managers must wres-tle with the issue of what directional path the company should take. Can the companys prospects be improved by changing its product offerings, or the markets in which it participates, or the customers it aims to serve? Deciding to commit the company to one path versus another pushes managers to draw some carefully reasoned conclusions about whether the companys present strategic course offers attractive opportunities for growth and profitability or whether changes of one kind or another in the companys strategy and long-term direction are needed.

    LO 1

    Grasp why it is critical for company managers to have a clear strategic vision of where a company needs to head and why.

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  • Confirming Pages

    Chapter 2 Charting a Companys Direction: its Vision,Mission, Objectives,and Strategy 21

    Developing a Strategic Vision Top managements views and conclusions about the companys long-term direction and what productmarketcustomer mix seems optimal for the road ahead constitute a strategic vision for the company. A strategic vision delineates managements aspira-tions for the business, providing a panoramic view of where we are going and a con-vincing rationale for why this makes good business sense for the company. A strategic vision thus points an organization in a particular direction, charts a strategic path for it to follow in preparing for the future, and builds commitment to the future course of action. A clearly articulated strategic vision communicates managements aspira-tions to stakeholders and helps steer the energies of company personnel in a com-mon direction. For instance, Henry Fords vision of a car in every garage had power because it captured the imagination of others, aided internal efforts to mobilize the Ford Motor Companys resources, and served as a reference point for gauging the merits of the companys strategic actions.

    Well-conceived visions are distinctive and specific to a particular organization; they avoid generic, feel-good statements like We will become a global leader and the first choice of customers in every market we servewhich could apply to hundreds of orga-nizations. 2 A surprising number of the vision statements found on company websites and in annual reports are vague and unrevealing, saying very little about the companys future direction. Some could apply to almost any company in any industry. Many read like a public relations statementhigh-sounding words that someone came up with because it is fashionable for companies to have an official vision statement. 3 But the real purpose of a vision statement is to serve as a management tool for giving the organiza-tion a sense of direction.

    For a strategic vision to function as a valuable managerial tool, it must convey what management wants the business to look like and provide managers with a reference point in making strategic decisions and preparing the company for the future. It must say something definitive about how the companys leaders intend to position the company beyond where it is today. Table2.1 provides some dos and donts in composing an effec-tively worded vision statement. Illustration Capsule 2.1 provides a critique of the strategic visions of several prominent companies.

    Communicating the Strategic Vision A strategic vision has little value to the organization unless its effectively com-municated down the line to lower-level managers and employees. A vision cannot provide direction for middle managers nor can it inspire and energize employees unless everyone in the company is familiar with it and can observe managements commitment to the vision. It is particularly important for executives to provide a compelling rationale for a dramatically new strategic vision and company direction. When company personnel dont understand or accept the need for redi-recting organizational efforts, they are prone to resist change. Hence, explaining the basis for the new direction, addressing employee concerns head-on, calming fears, lifting spirits, and providing updates and progress reports as events unfold all become part of the task in mobilizing support for the vision and winning commit-ment to needed actions.

    Winning the support of organization members for the vision nearly always means putting where we are going and why in writing, distributing the statement organi-zationwide, and having executives personally explain the vision and its rationale to as


    A strategic vision describes managements aspirations for the future and delineates the companys strategic course and long-term direction.

    An effectively communicated vision is a valuable manage-ment tool for enlisting the commitment of company personnel to engage in actions that move the company forward in the intended direction.

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