Leaders that want to reach successful outcomes know that a clear plan to help them navigate that route is a smart choice to achieve organizational goals. However, many leaders make the mistake of relying on their instincts alone to guide their company when they run into unforeseen obstacles. In my ebook, The Value of Corporate Strategic Management (2014) my research work examines more closely some of the strategies that Fortune 500 companies implement to manage their successful organizations as well as maintain their competitive edge (Berry, 2014).
Top performing leaders also acknowledge the importance of an organizational analysis to help them identify a company’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, in her book, How to Conduct Internal Investigations, Natalie Ivey (2013) points out that asking the right questions can help reveal dysfunctional organizational behavior so that systems can be developed to address them as well as avoid them in the future (Ivey, 2013). Asking a question like, “Who does what and by when?” for instance, is an important inquiry in this type of situation, because management can determine employee behavior patterns and how well they interact with each other by the manner in which they respond.
In the meantime, in her book, Strategic Management in Action, Mary Coulter (2010) purports that in order to develop effective strategic management plans, it is imperative that the decision makers have a firm grasp on what the organization does well, in addition to what assets and resources are available, to how well they are being utilized (Coulter, 2010). In short, the more focused the questions are, the more effective the responses will be. For instance, posing a question like, “Will you help me?” transmits a message that some needs assistance. However, asking a more directed question like “Are departmental accountabilities clear and are they reviewed frequently?” communicates that a more focused reply is required.
The bottom line is that an organizational analysis should reveal significant functional and dysfunctional issues like: (a) are supervisors effective in enforcing organizational policies, (b) can they spot workforce problems that are unmanageable, (c) are there political interference issues, (d) is the organizational efficient in recognizing and responding to complaints or other challenges, (e) does the organization have the ability to handle disciplinary action without stepping on legal landmines, and (f) are they able to gather information and separate fact from fiction accurately? By formulating the right questions, leaders can conduct a more comprehensive and thorough analysis that will provide them the sufficient data to help them devise more effective systems to reach organizational goals.
DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA) is one of my favorite companies because of the way they repeatedly touch my heart with great storytelling abilities that are delivered in their high quality animated films. These include industry franchise giants like Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How To Train Your Dragon with the latter two having successfully launched into popular television series.
The company takes pride that they have been listed on the best 100 firms to work for by Fortune Magazine for five consecutive years. In 2010 they were ranked number 6, and have been bumped to number 12 because of entries like Google, Quicken, and Intuit. Their high ranking status for the last five years is evidence that the firm has a well-organized system of functional strategies. A closer look reveals that some of these strategies include: (a) world-class creative talent spearheaded by CEO and Co-Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, (b) a strong and experienced management team, and (c) the firm’s ability to utilize resources that include advanced film-making technologies that incorporate innovative techniques (Company, 2014). This strategic management plan helped the company develop their distinctive organizational capabilities and in doing so have made it difficult for competitors to keep up. In other words, their functional strategies include an intricate assortment of knowledge and skills that is unique to their organization.
On Friday, we will wrap up our discussion on strategic management by taking a closer look at the types of functional strategies that are used at the DreamWorks Company and what other firms can learn from the management plans being utilized there. Until then … stay organized!
Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with crisis. – Michael Porter
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Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Company. (2014). Retrieved January 28, 2014, from Dreamworksanimatin.com: http://www.dreamworksanimation.com/company
Coulter, M. (2010). Strategic management in action (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Ivey, N. (2013). How to conduct internal investigations. Boca Raton, FL: CreateSpace Publishing.