Kennedy B. Reed, Virginia Tech
Copyright Year: 2020
ISBN 13: 9781949373950
Publisher: Virginia Tech Publishing
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Reviewed by Sergiy Dmytriyev, Assistant Professor of Management, James Madison University on 9/10/23
The textbook covers all key topics in the strategic management such as overall strategy, business- and corporate-level strategies, the analysis of external and internal environments, international strategy, organizational design, innovation, etc.... read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less
The textbook covers all key topics in the strategic management such as overall strategy, business- and corporate-level strategies, the analysis of external and internal environments, international strategy, organizational design, innovation, etc. Each sections ends with the reference list of the cited sources, and the Glossary of key terms is provided at the end of the book.
Content Accuracy rating: 5
The book is well-written which makes it an easy read.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
The content is up-to-date, with plenty of contemporary business situations and examples. At the same time, these examples are of general nature and can be used in a classroom for many years ahead, without become obsolete. Having said that, the textbook also has a number of historical examples which is a must to have in order to learn from strategic successes and failures.
Clarity rating: 5
The text is written in a more informal way than in some other strategic management textbook. This makes this textbook better perceived by undergraduate students, who are rather more excited by its interesting and accessible prose.
Consistency rating: 4
The textbook utilized common terminology and frameworks used in the strategic management field, and is consistent throughout the whole text. The only thing, sometimes I could have a feeling that there were many interesting narratives and examples, but some of them might not be well connected among themselves, which could make the reading slightly less coherent, though it wasn't a big deal.
Modularity rating: 5
Indeed, the text is readily divisible into smaller reading section since many of them start and end in a similar fashion making them standalone pieces. I didn't find many self-references which serves the modality purpose well.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
The book is well organized in terms of the sequence of introduced topics and the transitions between them.
Interface rating: 5
The textbook offers an easy-to-follow navigation structure such as a numeration for each section/subsection as well as consistent headings' styles and the use of colors and graphical designs.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I didn't find any grammatical errors or typos in the text which speaks to its high quality.
Cultural Relevance rating: 3
The textbook is full of various examples from different countries which helps keep the reader's mind open to insights from different cultural environments. Yet, I wish there would be more examples with female and minority managers - I realize that today those groups are still underrepresented in leadership roles, but the author could have considered purposefully selecting those stories/backgrounds which may appeal to and inspire different audiences.
Most sections in the textbook end with discussion questions (often provoking ones) which can help with kicking off interactive discussion in class. The key information is summarized in the form of tables or graphs that make it easy to review the summarized learnings. There are also many videos throughout the book which can help break the monotony of reading with interesting visual experiences.
To sum it up, the textbook offers a typical content for a strategic management textbook (in terms of key strategic topics, terminology, theories and frameworks, etc.), yet it does it in a more appealing way compared to some more "formal" available textbooks in the market. In addition to offering discussion questions and exercises at the end of each section, the textbook also utilizes a more accessible prose for undergraduate students, as well as provides many illustrative or summary tables and graphs, as well as short business stories and videos done in an interesting way.
I really like the textbook and this year I started using it in my Strategic Management course.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Gale, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Management, Loyola Marymount University on 4/10/23
[Note: I used the book in my Strategic Management class in Spring 2023 semester. I have, in the past, used the open textbook, Mastering Strategic Management on which this one is based as well as a commercial version of the text which was picked up... read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less
[Note: I used the book in my Strategic Management class in Spring 2023 semester. I have, in the past, used the open textbook, Mastering Strategic Management on which this one is based as well as a commercial version of the text which was picked up by a pubisher.] The coverage in the book is pretty standard for Strategic Management texts. It's a little light on implementation/execution particularly on reward systems, strategic leadership and a bit on culture. Like most of the texts, it really doesn't cover the online world. Because it was done in 2020 and used some of the materials some of the materials need newer examples--and to reflect lessons of the pandemic and de-globalization (in Chap. 9) There is a glossary but no index.
The coverage of the book is accurate in the concepts handled.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
All strategic management textbooks suffer from obsolescence--it is the nature of the subject matter and the need for ongoing revision of relevant examples. The concepts change more slowly. Use of the book requires instructors to fill that in to make the material relevant. The prior book (from 2020) was not updated for years which made it hard to use. Hopefully this one will be.
The book was extremely well-written and edited. This is remarkable since there was a team who worked on it at VPI. Kudos for doing a good job.
Consistency rating: 5
It is consistent. The framework used is very standard in strategic management texts.
The book is well done with coherent chapters and headings and subheading breaking up the text. I was able to use some of the materials out of order.
Strategic management textbooks lend themselves to a logical organization based on the analytic process common to the topic. This book is consistent with that. I did find that references and credits, which are listed in the chapter sections, are a bit distracting and would be better, in my opinion, at the end of the chapters. Likewise, I would prefer that the Exercises be at the chapter end as well. Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter are useful as well as the Takeaways in the sections.
My students and I used the PDF version of the book which is pretty standard with only limited jumps for Table of Contents. .
I didn't find any grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 4
I did not see anything culturally insensitive or offensive in the book. There is, as is typical in the texts in the field, not a lot of cultural variety. There are no Black or Hispanic business in the examples.
The book did what I wanted it to in the course. I thought that Chapter 7 on Innovation is a bit of a hodge-podge of topics and doesn't flow all that well. The Powerpoint slides that the author made available are very uneven and I wasn't able to really use them--though I didn't really need to since I have taught the course for so long. They are not the equivalent of what commercial publishers provide with their texts. I did not use the text bank that is also available.
Overall, a good quality textbook that is usable with the caveats I raised earlier.
Reviewed by Stephen Horner, Associate Professor, Allen Community College on 6/9/21
Chapter one is a good an example of the type of comprehensiveness that I like. The text addresses most of the major models and concepts within the strategy domain. It also includes examples of strategy and strategic management from antiquity and... read more
Chapter one is a good an example of the type of comprehensiveness that I like. The text addresses most of the major models and concepts within the strategy domain. It also includes examples of strategy and strategic management from antiquity and classic military history encompassing ancient, modern, and postmodern eras. In addition, the critique of strategic management is refreshing to see in an introductory textbook chapter.
I find no glaring inaccuracies.
The cross disciplinary relevance of the text is demonstrated by allusion in chapter one to strategy throughout history. The text also has relevance in terms of relating the topic to contemporary issues.
This text is written at a basic level easily accessible to the common reader and especially suited to today's college senior.
The text uses the A-F-I framework consistently throughout.
The chapter topics are organized following the traditional analysis-formulation-implementation (A-F-I) framework allowing the course to be easily divided into modules. In addition, the authors have developed their own modular framework overlaying the A-F-I model.
The text uses the traditional analysis-formulation-implementation framework while taking a critical asssessment of the use of that framework.
The layout and flow of the text are satisfactory. In addition, I appreciate the smaller chunks in each chapter supplemented by references cited only in those specific chunks.
The writing demonstrates no systematic grammatical difficulties. The use of the Engish language is proper and acceptable.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
The authors recognize changing sociocultural values and demonstrate sensitivity of the theory and practice of strategic management to such changes.
I found the text to be quite readable. It spawned in me new ideas for ways of reaching my students.
Reviewed by Yuan Li, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 5/29/20
The text covers all major topics discussed in a standard strategic management textbook. Some topics that could be included or discussed more in detail are strategic leadership, innovation management, and corporate entrepreneurship. The pdf version... read more
The text covers all major topics discussed in a standard strategic management textbook. Some topics that could be included or discussed more in detail are strategic leadership, innovation management, and corporate entrepreneurship. The pdf version of the text does not include an index or glossary, which can be an enhancement to the book.
The content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased. However, there are a few typos in the book. Some of the labels are incorrect. For example, Level 3 of Table 10.4 is labeled incorrectly.
The content is up-to-date. For the most part, the examples are classic and do not need to be updated frequently. However, some of the examples, especially those related to movies are dated. Nevertheless, necessary updates can be easily implemented.
One of my favorite things about this text is its clarity. The text is written in a language that is accessible to all undergraduate students, including freshmen. Jargon and technical terms are explained in layman’s terms using real-world examples.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The chapters of the text are self-contained and can be individually assigned to students or used as additional readings to supplement a different text.
The structure of the text is clear and follows the structure of a standard strategic management textbook. The only difference is that international strategies are discussed before corporate-level strategies. Many of the tables and the text repeat each other. I think some of the tables can be eliminated.
There are no significant interface issues in the text. There are no hyperlinks in the pdf version of the book. All navigation is done through the search and find function of the pdf reader. The text in the examples and vignettes is too small and hard to read, at least for the pdf version I have. Overall, I would describe it as a no-frills text.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The text is not culturally offensive in any way. The examples include both American and non-American firms mostly competing in the US market.
This is a great book for an introductory level strategic management class. Students do not have to be a management major to understand the book. Instructors can easily supplement the book with examples that are relevant to the background and major of their students. I find the book an interesting and enjoyable read. The authors did a great job in making strategic management interesting to students.
Reviewed by David Flanagan, Professor of Management, Western Michigan University on 12/12/19
This book covers all the major topics needed in a strategic management course plus a few other useful topics. read more
This book covers all the major topics needed in a strategic management course plus a few other useful topics.
First rate book. Easy to read with no errors (conceptually or grammatically).
All the conceptual information is up to date. I do have students do assignments where they research more recent examples.
Students comment that it is straight forward and easy to read. Key concepts are defined.
The text flows well from start to finish.
The chapters break up the material well as do sections within chapters.
easy to interface with
Well edited and credibly written
I detected nothing that could be insensitive
The authors are outstanding in their field. Can't find more credible sources.
Reviewed by Jason Kiley, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University on 5/21/18
Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a commercial book that I have used in the past. I looked at 43 topics that is a union of the content... read more
Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a commercial book that I have used in the past. I looked at 43 topics that is a union of the content I would use across the two books. The commercial book covered 41 topics, and Mastering Strategic Management ("MSM") covered 39. Of the discrepancies, three topics in the commercial book and one topic in MSM were topics that were probably timely when written but are less relevant now. Excluding those, each book had one topic that I would have liked to have seen in the other.
Across a number of topics, the exposition that fit my expectations about the material covered, explanations of the material, and examples that fit the material. Strategy covers a number of models that have been around for some time, and the authors seemed to do a good job of thinking about which models are reasonable to describe as they were conceived and which ones should be adjusted a bit to better reflect the underlying mechanisms or modern circumstances.
One small exception (shared in most strategy books) is the description of the BCG matrix using market share (as originally conceived). That notion is very sensitive to specification of markets, and I've seen more helpful formulations that describe it a little more generally as having dimensions that reflect using and generating cash.
The main content is fine and highly relevant. However, there are some examples which have not aged well. This is not so much the fault of the authors, as the business-relevant content is fine, but an example using Jared from Subway reads very differently in light of subsequent revelations. That is perhaps the most glaring, but there are a few others that have not aged well (e.g., the AppleTV has become reasonably successful in subsequent iterations). That said, this book is well within the norms of example relevance over time.
The book is written directly and clearly. In terms of style, it is more approachable than some alternatives, in part because I never got the sense that the authors were lowering the information density to produce more text.
Terminology and approach are generally consistent. Strategy is at the intersection of other disciplines, so there is often a change of perspective, but that comes with the content. That said, the authors have combined those well into a logical, consistent narrative.
For the most part, this book would be easy to use out of order or as selections. The chapters have numbered subdivisions that are logically coherent, and, in my view, it would be clear to students to assign selections. My initial read suggests that the brief motivating examples to begin chapters and the conclusions of chapters would be helpful to include even if the middle sections are selected from or reordered.
Overall, the organization and flow are consistent and logical, and it generally mirrors that of most strategy books. In a couple of places, the ordering is a bit different (e.g., international strategy before corporate-level strategy), but the broader logic may actually be more linear that way.
I used the epub 3 version of the book. The table elements tended to be built with markup instead of images, so they rendered nicely on a high-resolution display. Cross references were often done with links, and many text boxes were also done with markup, so the book takes advantage of the technology it uses for distribution. Given the prevalence of mobile devices among students, this is a strong positive for this book compared to others.
The writing is clear, error-free, and straightforward, including the consistent use of active voice.
Though the book (like many strategy and business textbooks) has a somewhat US-centric presentation, there are plenty of examples that include diversity along a number of dimensions where that kind of diversity is not the topic of the example. That broad level of inclusiveness is a positive for the book.
Overall, I found the book to be consistently high in quality, coverage, and consistency with other books in this area. Using it as an alternative or replacement for other books should be straightforward. The anonymous authors have done the field and our students a real service in writing this book.
Reviewed by Jiyun Wu, Associate Professor , Rhode Island College on 5/21/18
The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks. read more
The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks.
The content is accurate, though there are a few typos.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 3
The examples are a few years old and need to be updated.
The book is very lucidly written. I think it is one of the best written textbooks.
The book is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The text is easy to follow.
The topics are organized well and easy to follow.
I didn't encounter any problem with navigation.
I did not detect any grammar errors, although I did find a few typos.
The book is culturally relevant.
Please update the examples and correct the few typos in the text.
Reviewed by Edward Ward, Professor, Saint Cloud State University on 2/1/18
Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the environment, leading strategically, selection of business level strategies, ethics, organization design,... read more
Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the environment, leading strategically, selection of business level strategies, ethics, organization design, and more. However, it does not have a separate chapter about small business strategy.
This book is accurate as evidenced by the frequent references from both research journals and practitioners' publications. There is little in the way of the author's opinions, rather facts are emphasized.
The relevance of the book is excellent in that historical examples are often used, which by definition will not need to be updated. The examples of recent strategy uses (e.g. a goal by Coca-Cola on page 40 is for 2012) are in need of only slight modifications.
This is the paramount strength of the book. When the vocabulary (i.e. jargon) of strategic management is used, facile explanations and examples are used to clarify the term. An example is Figure 2.5, which explains financial performance measures for students who did not major in finance or accounting.
What is admirable as to the book's consistency is it's sequence of chapters, such as starting with "Mastering Strategy" as chapter one, through "Selecting Business Level Strategies" in the middle of the text, and concluding with corporate governance and ethics. There is also consistency in terms of the key takeaways and exercises throughout the book.
This is another strength of the book. For example, in clarifying "Entrepreneurial Orientation" sections such as "Autonomy", "Competitive Aggressiveness", and "Innovativeness" are presented in small sections that in total describe the term. This is done consistently in the book, such as in chapter eight the terms vertical integration, backward vertical integration, and forward vertical integration.
The topics are presented in a deductive order, starting with a superordinate term such as "Strategies for Getting Smaller", followed by retrenchment and restructuring. By describing a construct by its dimensions, the construct is more readily understood by students.
I don't think there are any such problems.
There are not any grammatical errors. I do think the reading level is for undergraduates rather than MBA students.
The photographs and examples are varied in terms of surface characteristics.
It is superior to my present textbook in terms of being written in a conversational style, which is complemented by useful tables such as 8.7 on page 293. These tables and other graphics will assist students with a visual learning style. The only negative that comes to mind is if this textbook is to be used for a MBA course, outside readings will need to be assigned.
Reviewed by Jorge Zazueta, Adjunct Professor, American University on 2/1/18
The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on contents and the interactive PDF version is an excellent way to navigate the text. Electronic... read more
The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on contents and the interactive PDF version is an excellent way to navigate the text. Electronic versions are searchable, obviating the need for an index.
I didn't find any inaccuracies or biases in the text (although I ran into a few minor typos). Each concept follows a critical discussion inviting the reader to reflect on the topic, rather than being dogmatic.
The topics covered are well established Strategic Management ideas with direct application in actual business practice, making the content both relevant and time enduring.
Clarity rating: 4
The book is clearly written and enjoyable. It provides straight commentary on the ideas discussed and is very easy to read. A minor drawback is that it lacks memorable design around many of the classic frameworks. For example, when discussing the diamond model in chapter 7, its elements are defined in the form of a table--rather than in a diamond shape.
The narrative is consistent throughout both in depth and style.
While the content follows a logical path, chapters are concise and mostly stand-alone, making it easy to use individual chapters or to tailor content for a class.
The topics follow a standard order of ideas in a consistent and logical flow, while maintaining modularity.
Interface rating: 4
The interactive PDF version is clean and easy to use. A comprehensive table of contents is always available without being intrusive and the book is fully searchable. Making it convenient for student research or review. A keyword search results in a list of references to different chapters in the book, with a short summary of the content discussed.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
Other than a few minor spelling typos. I found no errors.
The nature of the book is mostly transparent to cultural issues. Examples are business focused and do reflect a wide world view.
It is a great introductory text to Strategic Management. It covers all the standard material in a concise, easily accessible way. I would have enjoyed a bit more quantitative material, such as basic formulas from economics or discussions about how to quantify market competitiveness for example. Perhaps, that´s the material for a second book….
Reviewed by Bill Rossman, Instructor, Penn State University on 2/1/18
The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook. read more
The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook.
The material covered in the textbook is accurate and error-free.
Th material is up-to-date, however, some of the examples in the book could quickly become outdated. For example, there is an example referencing a 2001 movie which students may not understand. The book could easily be updated to keep examples up-to-date.
The book is clearly written without unnecessary jargon. Definitions for key terms could be emphasized to help students identify key terms and concepts. Additionally a glossary would be beneficial for students to quickly reverence the definition of key terms.
The book is consistent with other texts on the topic of strategic management.
The book is modular and chapters could be reorganized without issue. Instructors could assign chapters or subsections as they see fit without loss of educational value.
The book flowed well, the only change I would make is to move the corporate-level strategies to follow the business-level strategies. The instructor could easily make this change when assigning chapters in the textbook.
I did not encounter any issues with the interface of the textbook. The location of charts and images were appropriate and supported the material.
The book was free of grammatical errors.
The text was not insensitive or offensive.
Supporting material such as glossary, online assignments or self check exercises could be included. Overall, the book is well thought out and easily adaptable for instructors to use.
Reviewed by Sam Cappel, Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17
I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management. read more
I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management.
I found the book to be accurate and well referenced. Examples were used which were most instrumental in helping students to understand important concepts.
The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. Many of the examples used are classic or very timely. It would require little work to update concepts and examples.
The book is written without unnecessary jargon. Terms commonly used in the study of Strategy are fully explained.
The framework of the book allows for easy transitions from one topic to another. Throughout the book there is consistency in the straight forward approach to topics. There is a consistent attempt within this book to explain complex concepts in such a way as to allow undergraduate students to master them easily.
Modularity rating: 4
The text is well divided into a logical sequence of intuitively developed reading sections. Sections within the book serve to reduce confusion which can occur when learning a subject area with the diversity and complexity of Business Strategy
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
I like the flow of the text but prefer a flow which started by simply following the strategic management process step by step.
I had no issues with the interface of the textbook. Navigation was simple and charts were well placed and clear.
I found no grammatical errors i the text.
Culturally the book was sensitive in dealing with issues such as ethics and the role of diversity in the workplace.
With the current push for on-line offerings I feel that it is now imperative that offerings include test banks, power-points, on-line readings, films and perhaps simulation tools that can be used on-line. I love the book for in-class use but feels that it does not offer enough support to be viable for extensive on-line offerings,
Reviewed by Cynthia Steutermann, Multi-Term Lecturer, University of Kansas on 8/21/16
This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, differentiation, and focused strategies were good. However, I found this book to be lacking in critical... read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less
This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, differentiation, and focused strategies were good. However, I found this book to be lacking in critical discussion areas, such as the importance of evaluating a firm's internal financial assets. While it mentioned current ratio, debt to equity ratio, and net income .. it does not show how to calculate those ratios. And, there are many, many more financial ratios that should be covered in great detail to effectively analyze an organization's internal financial capabilities. This was an area I would consider to be seriously lacking in content.
Other critical areas missing from this textbook were the discussion of entrepreneurial strategy and competitive dynamics, as well as managing innovation and corporate entrepreneurship. Likewise, this textbook did not include any strategic management cases which greatly supports a student's ability to apply concepts to a multi-page case of an organization they may be familiar with.
Also, while there was included on the website a table of contents, no such table of contents exists in the .pdf version that students would actually use. In general, this book is not written at the level of sophistication and comprehensiveness I would expect to use for college students, particularly since a strategic analysis course is often taught as a capstone course (undergraduate senior level of student). In my opinion, this textbook is written more at the senior in high school or college freshman level.
Content Accuracy rating: 4
The book's accuracy is adequate, although there are many areas of strategic analysis which I would consider to be missing in this textbook.
The one area of relevance and longevity I found to be questionable was the various references to "At the Movies". Some of the movies are quite dated and students may not have even heard of them. Or, if they have heard of the movie, they may not have seen it. While the intent seems to be a creative way to illustrate basic concepts, the use of movies is not (in my opinion) the most relevant way to accomplish this, at least to the extent that this is repeated throughout the textbook.
The book is written clearly, although not at the college reading level I would expect it to be written at.
Consistency rating: 3
The text is inconsistent since it references certain figures that actually do not exist. For instance, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is referenced to be in figure 8.7. There is no BCG matrix figure, nor any figure 8.7. In fact, there are very few figures in the book. There are some pictures (unidentified mostly) but no figures that illustrate important concepts.
The book's modularity is done well. Within each chapter there are several smaller reading sections.
The book's organization/structure flow is generally good. I believe the organization and flow would be better if corporate-level strategies followed business-level strategy, and then the chapter about international markets would follow after that. This textbook, instead, has business-level strategy, international markets, then corporate-level strategy.
The images are generally not distorted, although on page 172 the Arby's graphic and text are out of proportion. Page 177 includes some type of graphic that is only shades of grey. I don't know what that is intended to represent.
The text contains no grammatical errors that I observed.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way that I observed.
Reviewed by Daniel Forbes, Associate Professor, U. of Minnesota on 6/10/15
The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key topics & models addressed. One exception is strategic entrepreneurship, which is not covered as... read more
The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key topics & models addressed. One exception is strategic entrepreneurship, which is not covered as a separate chapter as is often the case but is instead partially covered under "Entrepreneurial orientation" within Chapter 2, "Leading strategically". Another exception is that there is only one chapter on corporate strategy, whereas many books have a second chapter on strategy alternatives (M&A, etc.). However, some of this content has been folded into the corporate strategy chapter. The PDF I reviewed did not contain a glossary or index.
The book provides an accurate introduction to contemporary strategic management. The authors' perspective is consistent with mainstream scholarly views in the field.
Most strategy textbooks tend to gravitate towards concepts and models that have a relatively long "shelf life," and this one is no exception. The book contains current examples and timely content. The book also does a good job presenting strategy in ways that undergraduate students, in particular, will find relevant. It does this through an emphasis on familiar, everyday brands (Facebook, Redbox) and through cultural references, such as its "Strategy at the movies" segments, which link concepts in the book to recent popular films.
The book is written in clear and accessible prose, and it carries a sense of humor. At times I would have liked to see clearer definitions that were easier to find in the text (e.g., highlighted or placed in sidebars). For example, the concept of "cost leadership" is introduced with good examples, but a concise definition seems lacking. Having clear definitions on key concepts is helpful to students studying for exams and for faculty who want to check concepts for consistency across materials without re-reading entire sections.
The book is internally consistent. It provides a framework for understanding strategy that is coherent and, at the same time, generally consistent with other major texts.
The text seems modular, and reorganizing the material is unlikely to pose a problem. It would be easy to rearrange the materials within a strategy course - provided, of course, that foundational concepts (e.g., "capabilities") have been established early on, as would be required in working with any major strategy text.
The book's flow is logical and it adheres to a structure that is common in strategy texts. One slightly unusual sequencing is the presentation of international strategy before corporate strategy (the reverse is more common), but these two chapters remain adjacent and there is a reasonable case for doing this. Given the overall modularity of the book, moreover, instructors can rearrange chapters as they see fit without much difficulty.
The interface reflects the thoughtful and creative selection of accompanying visual materials, especially photos and illustrations. There are fewer charts and tables than in the average strategy text. Some instructors and MBA students might find the text easier to navigate with fewer visual interruptions overall and perhaps more data or charts included in addition to the pictures. Overall, I think this interface that would be well received by undergraduate students, in particular.
The book's grammar is fine.
The book does not appear to be culturally insensitive. Examples are drawn primarily from the U.S., as is common in many major strategy texts, but there are also many examples drawn from outside the U.S.
Overall, I think this book is a very solid and worthwhile contribution to the set of available strategy textbooks. A particular strength of the book is its accessible writing style and its selection of "user-friendly" illustrations and examples. I think the book would be especially well-suited to first-time students of strategy who seek a general introduction. I also like that the book avoids delivering long, arbitrary lists of items in presenting material (e.g., "the nine reasons firms do acquisitions"), which is a common weakness of strategy textbooks. Instead, this book is generally succinct and reasonably comprehensive. At the same time, instructors & students seeking a more advanced treatment of strategy may find coverage of some topics to be relatively light. For example, limitations of the 5 Forces model are only briefly addressed and issues of industry evolution do not seem to be addressed.
Reviewed by David Try Ph.D., Instructor , Northwest Community College on 10/9/13
I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate... read more
I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate depth for an Introduction to Business Strategy/Policy course. The backend - index, glossary, on-screen reader and search engine - were accurate and faultless.
Diagrams, tables and case studies were up-to-date, professional quality and accurate. I found the text well supported by the supplemental teaching resources (quizzes, PowerPoint's, teaching notes, etc.) As with any USA based textbook, and to be fair hardly unique to this one, the content is USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies do tend to examine issues through the lens of USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. Within this caveat, all material was well-edited, error-free, unbiased and including appropriate supplemental instructor material.
As with most introductory courses, the basic components of Business Strategy tend not to change rapidly. New tools, techniques, occasionally fads, as well as the inevitable rebranding (i.e. Management by Objectives [MBO] becomes Outcome Based Key Performance Indicators) are adopted by Business relatively slowly. The textbook covers certain recent advances in strategic and policy, as appropriate for a textbook at an introductory level. Looking forward, advances to this textbook would tend to focus on maintaining current and timeliness of in-text examples, update trends and data, and incorporate emergent strategies which could emerge in response to changing economic, business or global events, such as a global recession.
The textbook to be quite readable and engaging, and makes good use of current business examples. Terms and business jargon are properly defined, both within the text and by using small ‘call-out' (?) boxes on the side of pages and through the use of examples.
The concepts and ideas in the textbook are presented in a clear and logical order. Terminology is used consistently. As well, I found the ‘readability' of the textbook to be internally consistent – with no sense that different authors/editors had writte
The material is covered in 12 chapters, with 2 to 4 sections each, making it easy to assign weekly readings and cover the content within one semester. Chapters are fairly consistent in length and complexity. Instructors have the option to re-organize the course / subject order prior to students downloading the textbook should they wish. The text is not overly self-referential.
The flow or order of idea/concept presentation is consistent to most Strategy texts, and appropriate for an introductory textbook. Within Chapter layout is consistent; each chapter begins with "Learning Outcomes" and concludes with "Key Takeaways" and exercises, which can be assigned as homework.
Neither I, nor any of my students, experienced any interface issues at all. The underlying technology appeared faultless. The navigation process is logical and all images and text were clear and high quality, even on smaller e-reading devices. As well, color use is consistent, assisting in overall navigation. Interestingly, as the first e-textbook for NWCC Business, my students appreciated the ability to perform in-text searches and hyper-link to external electronic references (in text URLs), as well as textbook's cost of course!
I found zero (0) grammatical errors, or ‘broken' URL links. Well edited
This text is not culturally or sexually insensitive, or offensive. Overall, examples are based on business culture with limited applicability on cultural relevance. One chapter focuses on Ethics and Social Responsibility and examines these issues from a strategic perspective, with examples. However, the focus is principally from a business perspective, as compared to social, legal or moral perspectives. As the text is fairly USA-centric, Canadian students may feel that Canadian and possibly Asian business strategies should receive greater emphasis.
Overall, I was very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the text. A ‘newbie' to e-textbooks, I was surprised by the usefulness of additional features available with electronic textbooks (searching, imbedded URLs, etc.). As noted above, the textbook content is somewhat USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies tend to focus on USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. However, given the highly integrated nature of Canadian and USA business environments, there is some value in this. And, it was certainly not difficult to incorporate Canadian examples into the Lectures. This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Table of Contents
- I. Chapter 1: Mastering Strategy: Art and Science
- II. Chapter 2: Assessing Organizational Performance
- III. Chapter 3: Evaluating the External Environment
- IV. Chapter 4: Evaluating the Internal Environment
- V. Chapter 5: Synthesis of Strategic Issues and Analysis
- VI. Chapter 6: Selecting Business-Level Strategies
- VII. Chapter 7: Innovation Strategies
- VIII. Chapter 8: Selecting Corporate-Level Strategies
- IX. Chapter 9: Competing in International Markets
- X. Chapter 10: Executing Strategy through Organizational Design
- XI. Chapter 11: Leading an Ethical Organization: Corporate Governance, Corporate Ethics, and Social Responsibility
- Virginia Tech Publishing
About the Book
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT offers an introduction to the key topics and themes of strategic management. The authors draw on examples of familiar companies and personalities to illustrate the different strategies used by today’s firms—and how they go about implementing those strategies. Students will learn how to conduct a case analysis, measure organizational performance, and conduct external and internal analyses. In short, they will understand how organizations operate at the strategic level to be successful.
An older version of Mastering Strategic Management (2015) by University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing can be found here: https://open.lib.umn.edu/strategicmanagement/
About the Contributors
Reed B. Kennedy, Associate Professor of Practice, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech
Reed B. Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in the Management Department, where he teaches management courses. He began his career as a naval officer before entering his primary career in healthcare administration, where he served in senior executive roles in various hospitals for over 20 years. He then worked as a business consultant for the Small Business Development Center for the New River Valley at Radford University. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Masters of Healthcare Administration from Medical College of Virginia / Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters in Public Health and a Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development from Virginia Tech. Reed served as the chief textbook reviser on this project. He worked with the contributor and editorial teams from project start to completion.
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Corporate Planning and Strategic Management
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OBJECTIVES The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the tools and techniques of managerial economics that are helpful to them in taking business decisions. Further, the course also intents at making them familiar with the real business practices adopted by corporate sector.
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Professional Certificate in Strategic Management
Offering high-quality products and services at competitive prices is no longer a sufficient business strategy. Increased competition and an evolving digital landscape demand more from organizations and their leaders.
Enhance your leadership capabilities and learn how to develop sustainable, successful business strategies with the Professional Certificate in Strategic Management from Wharton. Offering practical lecture knowledge and hands-on application of concepts, this program teaches you how to decrease costs, increase operational efficiencies, and improve customer experiences.
Created by world-renowned professors at the Wharton School, the Professional Certificate in Strategic Management walks you through how technology has changed the way businesses interact with customers and why this necessitates connected strategies. This program of business strategy courses is designed for managers and leaders of all industries who want to better identify, amplify, and sustain the competitive advantage of their businesses.
Why Study Strategic Management?
- 61% of senior executives admit that their companies have a hard time bridging the gap between strategic planning and implementation. 1
- Only 40% of employees strongly feel their managers comprehend the goals and strategy of their company. 2
- Only 41% of employees feel their companies have the competent personnel necessary to execute strategic initiatives. 3
1 https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/why-good-strategies-fail-report.pdf 2 http://georgejamesltd.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/What-Employees-Really-Think-about-Todays-Workplace.pdf 3 https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/why-good-strategies-fail-report.pdf
Start Dates: Enroll Immediately
Duration: 6 weeks per course
Commitment: 2-4 hours per week
Program Format: 100% Online
Program Tuition: $537.30 $199 (per individual course)
READY TO START?
Professional certificate in strategic management course descriptions, business strategy from wharton: competitive advantage, course description.
Price: $199 Duration: 6 weeks Hours: 3-4/week
What sets your organization apart from others? How can you maximize and sustain its impact over time? Understanding and maintaining your competitive advantage is no small task.
Business Strategy from Wharton: Competitive Advantage will give you the tools and frameworks necessary to execute a well-designed strategy. You’ll understand the drivers and barriers of competitive advantage so you can sustain your distinct advantage. You’ll also learn how to assess the impact of your competitors’ strategies.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to enhance your strategy to maximize your competitive advantage and drive revenue growth.
- Analyze Your Firm’s Internal Fit
- Analyze Your Firm’s External Fit
- Maintaining Your Firm’s Dynamic Fit
- Creating New Strategies and Initiatives
Participants Will Learn How To:
- Evaluate your firm’s strategic environment
- Distinguish between organizational effectiveness and strategic positioning
- Identify barriers to organizational change and strategy implementation
- Map central and supporting firm activities, understanding how they interact with each other
- Engage in sustainable strategic management and planning
INTRODUCTION TO CONNECTED STRATEGY
Price: $199 Duration: 6 weeks Hours: 2-4/week
Technology has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and how leaders engage in the strategic management of their firms. Understanding the customer journey has become essential to creating and executing connected strategies.
Connected Strategy examines how technology has evolved and changed the ways businesses interact with their customers. Professors Christian Terwiesch and Nicolaj Siggelkow will walk you through the connected customer experience and how connected delivery models are used in various industries. You’ll learn about connected strategy examples and analyze existing frameworks that can inform connected relationship design.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to identify, assess and implement connected strategies for your organization.
- Connected Strategy and Value Proposition
- Connected Customer Experience and Customization
- Connected Producers and Connected Strategy Matrix
- Revenue Model, Technology Infrastructure, and Disruptive Innovation
- Analyze innovation frameworks and value propositions
- Identify connected relationships and their potential for your firm
- Examine customer experiences as they relate to the greater customer journey
- Create customization strategies by leveraging positive customer feedback loops
- Develop connection architecture and connected customer relationship strategies for your business
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT CAPSTONE
You understand connected relationships, but how can you apply this knowledge to excel the strategic management of your firm?
Connected Strategy Capstone Project provides you with the necessary tools to ideate, plan and execute a connected strategy for your business. Tailored worksheets and lecture videos from Professors Siggelkow and Terwiesch will guide you through each step of connected strategy creation. The final capstone project will be a combination of your worksheets and analysis of the strategy you created.
Throughout the capstone project, you’ll be able to reflect on your organization and develop actionable strategies.
- Connected Customer Experience
- Connected Customer Experience Strategy
- Connected Delivery Model Strategy
- Apply the concepts learned in the Connected Strategy course
- Approach connected strategy planning and creation
- Move beyond traditional customer interactions to create a new business model
- Create a connected customer experience and connected delivery model for any organization
- Envision and develop a connected strategy that can be directly applied to your business
Want it all? Take the complete program for $537.30.
Key certificate program takeaways, participants will learn how to:.
- Identify business’ competitive advantages
- Amplify competitive advantages and drive profits
- Leverage connected strategies to create continuous customer relationships
- Transcend traditional forms of customer interaction and adopt new business models
- Achieve sustainable competitive advantage
Professional Certificate in Strategic Management Faculty
Andrew M. Heller Professor at the Wharton School Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions Professor of Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine Co-Director, Mack Institute of Innovation Management
Faculty Research Interests
He is a Professor in Wharton’s Operations, Information and Decisions department, co-director of Penn’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management, and also holds a faculty appointment In Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. His research on Operations Management and on Innovation Management appears in many of the leading academic journals ranging from Management Science to The New England Journal of Medicine. He is an award-winning teacher with extensive experience in MBA teaching and executive education.
Professor Terwiesch is the co-author of Matching Supply with Demand, a widely used text-book in Operations Management that is now in its third edition. Based on this book, Professor Terwiesch has launched the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in business on Coursera. By now, well over 250,000 students enrolled in the course.
His latest book, Innovation Tournaments, was published by Harvard Business School Press. The novel, process-based approach to innovation outlined in the book was featured by BusinessWeek, the Financial Times, and the Sloan Management Review and has lead to innovation tournaments in organizations around the world.
Professor Terwiesch has researched with and consulted for various organizations. From small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, he has helped companies become more innovative, often by implementing innovation tournament events and by helping to restructure their innovation portfolio.
Most of his current work relates to healthcare and innovation management. In the healthcare space, some of Professor Terwiesch recent projects include the design of patient centered care processes in the VA hospital system, the impact of emergency room crowding on hospital revenues and the patient experience at Penn Medicine, and the usage of patient portals and remote patient monitoring.
In addition to his teaching and his research, Professor Terwiesch is experimenting with a new career as a host of a national radio show on Sirius XM 132. Also, after 20 years of Ironman racing, he is trying to become a competitive rower, a transition that unfortunately turns out to be harder than expected.
David M. Knott Professor Professor of Management Co-Director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management
He studied Economics at Stanford University and earned an M.A. in Economics from Harvard University. He received a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University and the Harvard Business School. Professor Siggelkow has been the recipient of multiple MBA and Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Awards, including the Class of 1984 Award presented to the faculty member with the highest teaching rating in the MBA classroom, the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Teaching Award, the Wharton Award, and the Wharton Graduate Association Student Choice Award. His research has been published in the leading management journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Industrial Economics, Management Science, Organization Science, and Strategic Organization. In 2008, he received the Administrative Science Quarterly Scholarly Contribution Award for the most significant paper published in ASQ five years earlier. Nicolaj is a member of the Editorial Review Boards of Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Strategic Organization, and Academy of Management Perspectives.
His current research focuses on the strategic and organizational implications of interactions among a firm’s choices of activities and resources. In particular, his research has focused on three broad questions: How do firms develop, grow and adjust their set of activities over time? How does organizational design affect a firm’s ability to find high-performing sets of activities? What role do interactions among a firm’s activities play in creating and sustaining competitive advantage? To address these questions, he has employed a range of methodological approaches, including in-depth field studies of individual firms, econometric methods for large-scale data sets, formal modeling, and simulation models.
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What is Corporate Strategic Planning?
Corporate Strategic Planning is a companywide approach at the business unit and corporate level for developing strategic plans to achieve a longer-term vision. The process includes defining the corporate strategic goals and intentions at the top and cascading them through each level of the organization. Many organizations confuse the annual budgeting process with corporate planning. Corporate strategic planning should come first and annual budgeting should be driven by the strategy, not by prior year’s budget spend.
Why is Corporate Strategy Important?
A corporate strategy can focus every employee and resource in a company on the same objectives, and it aims to use them all efficiently. It gives every employee a set of guidelines they can use in their everyday work to move toward certain targets, which promote the vision and mission of the company. Corporate level planning can also improve efficiency within the organization and help identify unseen bottlenecks or pain-points.
The corporate strategy gives leaders and employees ideas to use for the improvement of distinctive activities (processes and operations) that create a competitive advantage. The strategy can also help executives to protect the company from entering into costly or irrelevant opportunities. What are the steps involved in strategic corporate planning? Corporate strategic planning begins by clarifying the vision and mission of the organization and the space the business chooses to compete in. Clarifying the organizations position will help you develop and effective strategic planning framework.
1) Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis needs to be conducted, to understand the trends that could impact the success of your strategy. Common factors that could be analyzed include political, legal, social, environmental, technological. There may be other factors you may want to consider that are relevant to your business and industry.
2) Strategic Goals & Priorities
Once you have completed a competitive analysis, the corporate leadership team will set the overarching strategic goals and priorities for the organization.
Once the strategic goals and priorities are finalized, each business unit needs to define its strategic goals and plans on how it can contribute to the overall direction of the enterprise. That includes not only what is to be accomplished, but how it will be accomplished including high level plans, budgets, human resources, etc.
Once business unit plans and directions have been set, the information needs to be communicated and shared with leadership inside the business unit so that priorities and plans can be aligned and integrated within a single budget.
What is Strategic Business Planning?
At the corporate level, an enterprise develops a portfolio of businesses they choose to compete in. This is a high-level analysis of a business’s competitive and core capabilities, and how each business contributes to the overarching corporate goals. Supported by the corporate strategic business planning process, these businesses are then set up, sponsored, and supported as business units at the operating level.
What Are The Types of Corporate Strategy?
When looking at the types of corporate strategy, it is important to consider a positioning grid that looks at the source of competitive advantage as well as the space where the business competes (markets, geography, size, etc).
Strategy 1: Low Cost Strategy
This type of strategy is one in which your source of advantage is simply competing on cost and being the low-cost provider. With this strategy an organization must exploit all sources of cost advantage. This includes things such as:
- Economies of scale
- Cost of inputs
- Operations excellence to help drive down costs
- This type of strategy requires an organization to compete more broadly (markets, geography, size)
Strategy 2: Differentiated Strategy
In a Differentiated Strategy, the focus is on competing by being unique or distinctively different in your industry. A differentiated strategy provides a product or service in more of a niche market where customers see the importance of offerings and are willing to pay a premium price. While this strategy still has a broad focus on how and where it competes (markets, geography, size), it serves its customers in a differentiated way. Differentiation can include factors such as:
- Technical superiority
- Products or services that are difficult to copy
- Customer Service
Strategy 3: Segmented Strategy
A segmented strategy is one in which you have clearly differentiated yourself from the competition. The space in which you compete has a narrow focus. You serve a distinct group of customers with specialized needs. In this space, there are few product or service substitutes that can be offered and while you may not have the volume of customers, profit margins tend to be higher because of the lack of substitutes. and there are few substitutes for your offerings. It is important for every organization to understand where on a strategic position grid it currently sits and where it may want to be — adapted from Michael Porter
What Is the Difference Between Corporate Strategy and Business Strategy?
Corporate strategy, in contrast, involves the plans that a larger enterprise must form when it is composed of multiple smaller businesses or entities. For example a business unit may need to examine factors unique to the industry or competitive landscape that is fundamentally different than its corporate parent.
As a large enterprise, company, or private equity group takes on more acquisitions, it must work with its respective businesses to craft a business strategy and plan that is unique to them and drive competitive advantage through their products, services, and market positioning.
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Strategic planning guide for leaders & business owners
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For successful organizations, few tasks are as important as strategic planning. As business professor Lee Bolman once said, “A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”
A well-made strategic plan serves as a map toward an organization’s idea of success. The plan must start with a vision, the driving force behind the organization. Then, executives must identify the goals that will bring their vision to life.
Once those goals are in place, strategic planning entails finding the tactics that will move the company closer to its goals. This means understanding the company’s markets, products and infrastructure, as well as how they can be used to meet organization goals.
After finding the right tactics, organizations work to identify threats and opportunities that may disrupt the plan. This helps them to prepare for adjustments that will need to be made as the world changes.
Strategic plans operate as a continuing process, according to Marc Emmer, a Vistage speaker and president of consulting and strategic planning company Optimize Inc.
“It’s critical that companies think of strategy as a process, not an event,” Emmer says. “The process is about discipline, like maintaining your health. If the gym is on my calendar for five days this week but I have a last-minute crisis that makes me miss the gym on Thursday, that doesn’t dissuade me from my discipline of going back the next day. You plan, then adjust based on reality.”
The best companies are methodical in how they plan, Emmer says, often dedicating 10% of their time to the planning process. By giving themselves time to step back from daily tasks to plan, these organizations allow themselves the space to adjust the strategic plan in the face of reality.
Where strategic planning goes wrong
Unfortunately, few organizations know how to create, implement, and execute a successful strategic plan.
Authors David Norton and Robert Kaplan wrote in their book, “ The Balanced Scorecard ,” that 90% of organizations fail to execute the plans they’ve created. The Economist Intelligence Unit has reported that 61% of executives say their firms struggle to bridge the gap from strategy to day-to-day implementation.
Too many executives get caught up in the tactics — the immediate objectives, today’s to-do list, and reacting to changes in the business environment. This distracts them from planning the organization’s future beyond strategic planning meetings, which are too often merely annual events.
Dr. Alison Grizzle, founder and president of business management consultancy Clearview Strategy Partners, says that most organizations create plans that are too simple to influence the business. These plans are made to check boxes throughout a single year rather than helping the organization grow over many years, she says.
And when organizations do have consistent strategic planning in place, they often use simple models like Entrepreneurial Operating Systems, Emmer says. He estimates that one-third of Vistage members use EOS for planning.
And while EOS is great for newer executives and smaller businesses unsure what a strategic plan should entail, Emmer says, it also limits the growth of midsized companies that want to scale up. In other words, many of those still using EOS have already outgrown it.
“Professional managers are not satisfied making strategy decisions without analysis and data,” Emmer says. “At this point in a company’s life cycle, downloadable templates and canned systems are no longer sufficient.”
No two plans are alike
One size “does not fit all” when it comes to strategic planning, Emmer says. A plan must evolve throughout the company’s life cycle. Rather than relying on a simple model, organizations hoping to grow must work to understand themselves as part of the planning process.
Emmer suggests that executives look at their organization’s inputs and outputs. What work is the company putting in and what results are they getting from that work? This is a line of inquiry that will take a company far deeper than any model, as it will lead smart organizations to follow the data and analytics.
Good data is truthful, showing organizations areas where they’re succeeding and highlighting areas where they struggle. Data and analytics make strategic plans work better and give companies the visibility they need into their operations, Grizzle says. Clean data allows executives to be sure they’re steering the organization’s proverbial ship with a well-drawn map, landing closer to the organizational vision.
Behavioral analytics, for example, allows an organization to clearly define expectations for employees, and then examine how employees met those expectations by way of their actions and behaviors. This shows the organization whether these expectations are being met, but it also gives employees a well-defined vision of what the organization expects.
“Executing on a plan is just a dream if the people aren’t ready to execute,” Grizzle says. “If you aren’t thinking about the people on your team, what they bring to the team, and how they are positioned to move the needle, then you’re going to miss a key component of the plan. And the odds of the plan being executed decrease significantly. And then your plan is just a pretty piece of paper on the wall.”
How CEOs can lead strategic planning
A well-made strategic plan comes from a well-led process, and that starts with the CEO. CEOs must have ownership of the organizational vision, Grizzle says, and hold tightly to that vision through growth.
CEOs are the decision-makers and the ship’s captain for any strategic plan, but they are likely not the person ensuring that a plan is carried through. For that, they delegate, giving other executives the freedom to lead on issues like measurement, accountability and communication.
“You need a person who is responsible for ensuring that the deliverables are on paper and that you’re reviewing them routinely,” Emmer says. “We always advocate that our clients meet every month after the strategy meeting and go through their common objectives. If you have four or five projects, CEOs will have someone who serves as champion or project manager for each one of those projects.”
Done correctly, this sentiment moves through the entire organizational structure. Managers who are given a clear understanding of the business (thanks to the planning process) can create a clear sense of understanding for each employee on their team.
CEOs must also set the tone in using the strategic planning process to confront cognitive biases. Biases are frequently exposed during planning meetings, Emmer says. Confirmation bias — favoring information that confirms rather than challenges one’s beliefs and values — is the most common bias he sees.
“You have to make decisions based on facts,” Emmer says, adding that people are often surprised to be challenged and find out they were wrong. “When people make a claim to me like we ought to do X, Y, and Z, I’ll ask them, ‘Based on what evidence?’ That helps to overcome bias.”
The main task of a CEO leading a strategic planning process is to remove barriers that get in the way of success, Grizzle says. This will be especially important as the plan is executed and areas of struggle are revealed.
“It’s about having honest conversations with people,” she says. “Here’s what we wanted from you, but here’s where you ended up. What were the barriers that got in your way? What resources don’t you have? How can I help you to be successful?”
Dedicating time to strategic planning
A strategic planning process begins in earnest when a company decides to make time to plan, Emmer says. Most companies do not dedicate time, treating strategic planning casually.
At most companies, Emmer sees that people barely prepare for strategic planning meetings, which typically only happen once per year, maybe once per quarter at best. In the meeting, a few lists of objectives are created and rarely are those lists distributed to employees.
Instead of this, Emmer suggests that executives ensure that managers and fellow C-level executives take strategic planning seriously.
As part of a strategic planning process, executives can create a team of five-to-10 key stakeholders, known as a management committee, to drive the strategic planning process. Stakeholders should take months to prepare, getting creative in what they bring to the planning process.
For example, executives may find success by looking at market and competitive analysis reports, customer feedback and employee satisfaction surveys.
“They’re going to have data and information that they can act on,” Emmer says. “And then they make informed decisions based on that data. And then they crystallize that in a set of overarching objectives for the management team. And then when they leave that meeting, there is clarity on who is responsible for what.”
This committee — using the data they have from within and outside the company (via the market) — will determine where the company stands, how it can best meet its goals, and what tactical steps can best be taken to meet those goals. They’ll also be looking out for potential threats.
“Identify three or four threats and come up with a way to mitigate them,” Emmer says. “That way, you’re always looking at threats in real time.”
An overarching question through this strategic planning process, Grizzle says, is “What are the benchmarks?”
Benchmarks will be important for having proof that goals are met, but it will also be essential to know when strategic shifts must be made.
Grizzle says that a shift in strategy will always affect how people do their jobs and, thus, their benchmarks. However, most companies don’t adjust their expectations when they make strategic changes.
“As your business strategy shifts, your people strategy shifts,” Grizzle says. “How are you reexamining your people strategy every step of the way to make sure that your strategy is going to get the results?”
To get the cleanest benchmarks, a company must dedicate itself to finding clean streams of data and refine these streams over time.
Many companies don’t have well-integrated systems, Emmer says, and are often piecing together multiple streams of incongruent data. But Emmer says to remember strategic planning as a series of inputs and outputs — if the input of data is bad, it won’t be able to create a good strategic plan as output.
“Companies that are good at key performance indicators are able to measure the effectiveness of their plan better,” Emmer says. “Most companies use operational KPIs, lagging indicators in the rearview like revenue. We want to look at things that are predictive of future success. For example, good KPIs may be external numbers from the Producer Price Index that will tell me what my materials are going to cost two months from now. That’s better than examining how many parts you put out yesterday.”
The data and KPIs of the plan — taken in concert with knowing the skill set of the employee base — can be used to determine what is needed from employees. This will ensure that the right people are in place to do the work, Grizzle says, and benchmarks will show whether that work is being done well.
“What does the right person in the seat look like for this job, from a behavioral perspective, from a cognitive perspective, and from an experience perspective?” Grizzle says. “That will have companies looking at whether they need to shift hiring, coaching, or development.”
Emmer advises defining the deliverables — a set of overarching objectives each team is responsible for — across the company rather than for individual positions or teams.
“A mistake companies make is organizing objectives by job function,” Emmer says. “If you tell marketing that we need better case studies but not sales, the marketing guy will spend the whole year trying to chase a sales team down to get content for his case studies. But when you create an overarching objective for a corporation that’s co-owned by numerous people, then you have a better chance of achieving success.”
Executing the plan
Perhaps the biggest part of the process of strategic planning is execution and reassessing.
For Emmer, this means dedicating more time throughout the year to planning and adjusting, just as the captain of a ship would slowly steer based on weather and potential obstacles.
Emmer asks management teams he works with to commit 5% of their year to planning. For those who work 2,000 hours a year, this would mean 200 hours of planning.
“If you’re a company with 100 employees, and those 100 employees work 2,000 hours, you have 200,000 labor hours each year,” Emmer says. “Doesn’t it make sense that a management team takes 200 hours to ensure that time is used well? We spend virtually no time planning, and most of our time reacting when all the bad things are happening. We have it backward in our business narrative.”
Executing a plan also means engaging employees in the process. For some CEOs, this may mean leading the engagement charge. But for others, it will mean finding the right person in the organization to lead company-wide implementation and delegating leadership of the engagement effort to them.
“If my president or COO is great at inspiring and engaging people, they can manage the people part of the plan,” Grizzle says. “It’s important for every role in the company to understand how they support the vision and strategy of the company. They need to be able to say, ‘Here’s my part of making this come alive.’”
‘A living, breathing document’
Once in place, a strategic plan is something of a project management exercise, Emmer says. The problem is that most companies are not good at project management.
Luckily, strategic planning is a perfect way to get better at managing the most important project: The overall success of the company.
Grizzle says that successful companies create a 3-year target for goals — it’s hard to know if a plan is successful without measuring over many years — then do a deep dive to create each year’s strategic plan.
Once created, successful companies hold quarterly meetings to see how the plan is progressing, checking benchmarks and looking for any areas where strategic shifts are needed.
The most successful companies come back to their plan each week during pulse meetings focused on the quarterly targets, Grizzle says. These companies are looking at what success looks like every week, gaining an intimate understanding of what moves the needle and what does not.
“The people that are more effectively executing on their strategic plans are the ones that have it as a living, breathing document,” Grizzle says. “They always know how they’re progressing because they always have the right metrics at the table.”
Small business strategic planning: 10 tips to transform your business 5 ways leadership development impacts strategic planning
Category: Strategic Planning
Tags: Corporate Strategic Planning , Strategic Planning , strategic planning process
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Use GenAI to Uncover New Insights into Your Competitors
- Thomas H. Davenport,
- José Parra-Moyano,
- Karl Schmedders,
- Stephan Schulte
These tools can help you sort through reams of annual reports, press releases, and other documents to extract critical information.
Companies have a growing problem of information overload regarding markets and competitors, which often prevents the C-suite from making the best decisions available given the data at its disposal. While generative AI is often pitched as a way to create new content (information in, message out), it can work just as well — or depending on the application, even better — in reverse (message in, information out). And this counterintuitive application of generative AI is starting to enable leaders in marketing, strategy, and competitive intelligence to unearth strategically relevant insights about their competitors from documents made publicly available by those competitors. In other words, generative AI can become the watchful eye that spots useful insights in the field of competitive intelligence.
Shortly before ChatGPT became widely popular in late 2022, a Northern European manufacturer of specialized products for heavy industry, with over 18,000 employees and a presence in more than 60 countries, released an annual report running almost 200 pages. Of the 33,660 lines of text in the report, 14 were devoted to announcing that the company purchased of a plot of land in India.
- Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, a visiting scholar at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and a senior adviser to Deloitte’s AI practice. He is a coauthor of All-in on AI: How Smart Companies Win Big with Artificial Intelligence (Harvard Business Review Press, 2023).
- JP José Parra-Moyano is a professor of Digital Strategy at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD Business School) in Switzerland. His research focuses on the management and economics of data and privacy, with a special focus on how organizations can use data analysis techniques and AI to increase their competitiveness. He is an award-wining teacher, whose research has been published in top tier academic journals.
- KS Karl Schmedders is a professor of Finance at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD Business School) in Switzerland, where he teaches and researches on strategy relevant topics, finance, decision making, and game theory. He holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Stanford University. His research focuses on quantitative methods in economics and finance. He has published numerous research articles in top tier international academic journals.
- SS Stephan Schulte is an expert in the application of analytics techniques to the field of competitors’ strategy. He holds a DBA from the University of Gloucestershire, from which he graduated with a thesis on new competitor accounting models for the German mechanical engineering sector.
- Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
- IT Professionals
Microsoft Ignite 2023 Insights & Opportunities for ERP applications.
- By Anupam Sharma, Principal Product Manager
- Audience type
- Supply chain
The Microsoft Ignite 2023 conference has been a showcase of ground breaking AI advancements, offering a wealth of opportunities for the enhancement of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. These technological strides are more than just innovations; they are pathways to augment the functionality, efficiency, and user experience of ERP systems.
Top 10 Insights and Opportunities for ERP Applications:
This blog explores how the top 10 key insights from Ignite 2023 can be leveraged to enhance ERP products, benefit their users, assist ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) in developing custom solutions, and support the core business users of these ERP systems.
1. Revolutionizing Productivity with Copilot in Microsoft 365:
Microsoft 365 Copilot:
This innovation is a testament to Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing workplace efficiency and creativity. Its integration across applications like Outlook, Excel, and Teams exemplifies Microsoft’s vision for a seamlessly interconnected work environment.
Opportunity for ERP:
Incorporating ERP-focused Copilot plugins into M365 applications can revolutionize ERP workflows through the automation of routine tasks and the provision of intelligent insights from the ERP system for decision-making within the productivity suite. Such integration is poised to significantly boost time efficiency and improve accuracy for ERP system users.
2. Extending Copilot’s Reach:
Expanding Copilot to aid in the completion of tasks across diverse roles and functions, such as business processes and IT administration represents a strategic initiative to integrate AI thoroughly into all facets of work.
Expanding Copilot into ERP systems can provide tailored assistance in various ERP areas like financial planning, supply chain management, operations, human resources, commerce etc. offering a more intuitive and guided user experience.
3. Strategic Enhancements:
Bing Chat Enterprise Transition:
The transformation of Bing Chat into Copilot (copilot.microsoft.com) offers an opportunity for ERP systems to utilize enhanced external signals for improved demand planning, supply chain risk management, and support functions.
This tool can be utilized by ISVs and ERP developers, enabling them to craft tailored AI solutions that integrate flawlessly with core ERP systems, thereby improving functionality and user experience. It also offers administrative capabilities to refine core ERP Copilot skills with additional grounding, topics, and more.
4. Data and AI Synergy with Microsoft Fabric:
Unified Data Handling:
Integrating Microsoft Fabric with AI tools and making this GA (Generally Available) is a significant step towards enhancing data-driven decision-making.
Microsoft Fabric’s integration can enhance data-driven decision-making in ERP systems. It can unify data from various sources, providing a more comprehensive view for analytics and reporting within ERP systems.
5. Advancements in Azure AI platform:
Simplifies the integration and customization of AI models, marking a significant advancement in AI application development.
New AI Models:
Introduction of GPT-3.5 Turbo, GPT-4 Turbo, and DALL·E 3 revolutionizes AI application development.
The integration of advanced AI models like GPT-3.5 Turbo and GPT-4 Turbo into ERP systems can enable more sophisticated data analysis using tools like advance data analytics , code interpreter and predictive modeling , aiding in strategic business planning and forecasting.
6. Enhanced Cloud Infrastructure and NVIDIA Collaboration:
Azure Maia and Cobalt Chips & Azure Boost:
These advancements supercharge AI workloads and improve storage and networking, enhancing ERP system efficiency and scalability.
NVIDIA AI Foundry Service:
This partnership boosts AI model development, leveraging NVIDIA’s tools with Azure’s infrastructure.
These innovations enable faster processing and robust AI capabilities in ERP solutions, facilitating advanced analytics and decision-making.
7. Ethical AI Deployment:
Responsible AI Initiatives:
Emphasizing ethical use with initiatives like the Copilot Copyright Commitment and Azure AI Content Safety.
The focus on responsible AI use ensures that ERP solutions remain compliant with legal standards and ethical guidelines, building trust among users and stakeholders.
8. AI Integration in Windows Experiences:
Windows 11 AI Tools:
Aiming to make AI more accessible and position Windows as the prime platform for AI development.
Enhanced AI tools in Windows can improve the accessibility and usability of ERP solutions, offering a more seamless and integrated experience across devices and platforms.
9. Enhanced AI-Driven Security Solutions:
Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender XDR Integration:
Creates a unified security operations platform, enhancing threat protection.
The integration of advanced security solutions can bolster the security of ERP systems, protecting sensitive business data and ensuring compliance with industry standards.
10. AI Skill Development and Credentials:
Microsoft Applied Skills Credentials:
Covering various aspects of AI, these credentials are crucial for validating expertise in this rapidly evolving field.
Providing training and credentials in AI can empower ERP professionals to leverage AI capabilities effectively within Dynamics 365, enhancing the overall value and utility of ERP solutions.
For a deeper dive into how these technologies are being applied, check out my other blog on the practical use of Copilot in Dynamics 365 AI ERP applications. Microsoft Copilot brings generative help and guidance into Dynamics 365
Microsoft Ignite 2023 has opened a new chapter in the evolution of ERP applications, with AI at its core. By embracing these AI advancements, ERP solutions can be significantly enhanced, redefining how businesses leverage these systems for strategic and operational excellence.
Interested in learning more about Copilot’s in-app help guidance? Here are your next steps:
Read the Copilot Product Documentation:
For comprehensive and detailed information about Copilot’s capabilities and functionalities, be sure to check out our product documentation . You’ll find in-depth insights into how Copilot can enhance your experience with Dynamics365 Supply Chain Management –
Read the Responsible AI FAQ for Copilot and its capability of generative help and guidance.
Experience Copilot in action (For Existing Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Customers):
If you’re already using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, you can enable and experience Copilot’s capabilities to streamline your operations. Here’s how:
- Step 1: Enable Copilot Feature: Follow our documentation for existing customers to learn how to enable this feature. Once enabled, you’ll have access to Copilot’s powerful in-app help guidance within Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
- Step 2: Access Copilot – Locate the Copilot icon at the top of your screen within Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, then click on it to open the conversational sidecar experience. Copilot will introduce itself and encourage you to ask questions.
- Step 3: Pose Your Question – In any uncommon or challenging task within the application, simply ask Copilot for guidance. For better results, especially when seeking documentation-related in-app help, consider starting your questions with ‘How.’
- Step 4: Instant Guidance – Copilot will provide you with step-by-step guidance; all responses are grounded by our public documentation.
Please note that Copilot’s capabilities are exclusively available to existing Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management customers. If you’re one of them, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your user experience and streamline your operations with Copilot.
Join Copilot for finance and operations apps – Yammer
Stay informed about the most recent Copilot by becoming a member of our Copilot for finance and operations Yammer Group . Share your Feedback and be the first to know about the latest enhancements.