The Value of Corporate Strategic Management eBook

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Using Strategic Management to Spot Strengths and Weaknesses

Published September 24, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with crisis. – Michael Porter

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Value Titles Ad

For more information on Media Magic, our digital publications, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at:

Media Magic Publishing.

References:

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.

Asking the Right Questions

Published September 22, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Asking the right questions is an important component in the strategic decision making process.  In my ebook, The Value of Corporate Strategic Management (2014) I provided insights to effective leadership skills and examine more closely strategies that top performers implement to manage an organization more efficiently (Berry, 2014). For example, to help them devise the most effective strategic plans, leaders contemplate some of the following common questions that might be useful in the planning process:

  • How can we do that (don’t ask “Why can’t we do that?”)?
  • How else can we do that?  What else could we do?
  • Will you help me? What else could we do?
  • Who, what, why, where, when, and how much?
  • Who will do what and by when?

Conducting an analysis is important because it helps determine whether the functioning processes of an organization are operating efficiently. Ivey (2013) explains that by asking the right questions, managers can help identify root causes that affect employee outcomes. For example, are the issues that staff members face based on cultural or generational factors? Determining the answer can provide insights on how employees interact with one another (Ivey, 2013). In other words, by conducting an analysis, leaders are in a better position to diagnose a problem. The first step in this process is to gather information to determine the challenges as a means to better comprehend concerns and identify potential opportunities or threats. Asking the right question is a significant skill that can be extremely helpful in conducting an analysis because it gives the decision makers the opportunity to discuss their concerns and develop a collaborative effort on how to devise effective strategies to improve performances and outcomes.

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Asking questions like, “How can we do that?” or “How else can we do that?” are excellent questions to begin the process, however, as these kinds of questions are more general, they do not address specific topics like whether supervisors are achieving their goals or whether employees are engaged in high performances. In their book, Corporate Internal Investigations, Kramer and Lomas (2013) suggest that it is important for leaders to begin the internal analysis process by devising one single point of management control to prevent output chaos or derive at conclusions that are not reliable or credible. In addition, the analysis process should include a strong commitment from the highest level in the organization, supported by the appropriate authorities and provide terms that are plain and concise. This can serve to help dissuade any possibility of misconduct or undermining the investigation process (Kramer & Lomas, 2013).  These components can serve to help establish the integrity of the analysis process. In addition, conducting an organizational analysis can cause staffers anxiety where they become fearful of losing their jobs so, it should be managed in a way that does not interfere with daily operations or create an atmosphere of distress.

On Wednesday, we will take a closer look at how organizational analyses are used as a strategy to identify a company’s strengths and weaknesses. Until then … stay organized!

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Strategy must have continuity. It can’t be constantly reinvented. – Michael Porter

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acelerated learning ebboks ad Aug 2014

For more information on Media Magic, our digital publications, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at:

Media Magic Publishing.

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References:

Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Ivey, N. (2013). How to conduct internal investigations. Boca Raton, FL: CreateSpace Publishing.

Kramer, D., & Lomas, P. (2013). Corporate internal investigations (2nd ed.). Croydon, England, Great Britain: CPI Group (UK) Ltd.

 

Strategizing With Organizational Knowledge

Published September 12, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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On Wednesday’s post we discussed a few ways that organizational knowledge is captured and used. Today’s post takes a look at how leaders use this knowledge to help them in the strategic planning process. For example, in my eBook, The Value of Corporate Strategic Management (2014), my research work revealed that organizational knowledge can be effective in the development of management strategy plans because it helps leaders formulate actions and activities that are focused on reaching a company’s goals (Berry, 2014). One strategy, for instance, a firm can implement to achieve the best chance of success, is to develop tactics that will help them embrace change.

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In her book, Strategic Management in Action, Mary Coulter (2010) asserts that when a firm has a weak standing in their industry, it is likely it will be reflected by lower profits.  This includes the implementation of creativity to encourage innovative ideas that will help them provide quality products and services (Coulter, 2010). This strategy is effective for the development of a firm whose intent is to stand way above the others and doing so by avoiding insular or isolated tactics. Leaders that cultivate organizations in an isolated environment, for example, face creating barriers which can prevent them from receiving important information that can affect their industry. It can also cause issues in acquiring resources and support. Plus it keeps them from missing out on trends that may result in their falling behind on what is considered new and innovative. These are important components for keeping in touch with consumer demands and needs.

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Finally, and equally important, is an organization’s ability to keep it fresh. Implementing strategies like situation analysis is imperative for keeping a company in check. Many managers, for instance, have a tendency to find out and establish what works, then become complacent by staying the course. This “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” tactic tends to create a lethargic and stagnant working environment; one where workers lose focus and are prone to making more errors. This can occur because of lower performance levels which result from the automatic pilot method of operation they have become accustomed to. To prevent this, the most effective leaders incorporate systems and programs to keep staff members motivated and inspired.

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In conclusion, companies that develop strategies meant to keep employees enthusiastic about their work, at entry and upper management levels, can help cultivate a staff that: (a) is proud of the firm, (b) are motivated to achieve more successful outcomes, and (c) are happy to offer their loyalty. In short, by applying organizational knowledge as part of a firm’s strategic management plans leaders are in a better position to navigate a firm through the fertile paths of success.

Well that wraps things up for this week. Have a great weekend everyone …  and stay organized!

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“You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.”  – Robert Fulghum

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For more information on Media Magic, our digital publications, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:
Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Coulter, M. (2010). Strategic management in action (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.