How important is strategic management? It largely determines which organizations succeed and which ones struggle. So, what does it mean to think strategically? Strategic thinking means to take the long-term view and to see the big picture, including the organization and the competitive environment, and consider how they fit together.
Strategic Management refers to the set of decisions and actions used to formulate and execute strategies that will provide a competitively superior fit between the organization and its environment so as to achieve organizational goals. Strategy necessarily changes over time to fit environmental conditions, but to achieve competitive advantage, companies develop strategies that incorporate these elements - target specific customers, focus on core competencies, provide synergy, and create value.
Organizations will thrive with a strategy based on targeting customers, exploiting core competencies, building synergy, and providing value. SWOT analysis is an audit or careful examination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that affect organizational performance. Managers often start with a SWOT analysis, an audit or careful examination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that affect organizational performance. The BCG matrix is concept developed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that evaluates strategic business units with respect to two dimensions— business growth rate and market share.
The BCG Matrix is a simple tool for understanding and analyzing business strategy and formulating appropriate management plans. Porter’s Five Competitive Forces help determine a company’s position vis-à-vis competitors in the industry environment. Porter’s Five Competitive Forces include potential new entrants, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers, threat of substitute products and rivalry among competitors. Porter’s Five Competitive Forces help managers understand the forces that exist that will affect the strategic management of the organization.
To find a competitive edge within the specific business environment, Porter suggests that a company can adopt one of three strategies: differentiation, cost leadership, or focus. A differentiation strategy is a strategy with which managers seek to distinguish the organization’s products and services from those of others in the industry.
A cost leadership strategy is a strategy with which managers aggressively seek efficient facilities, cut costs, and use tight cost controls to be more efficient than others in the industry. A focus strategy is a strategy where managers use either a differentiation or a cost leadership approach, but they concentrate on a specific regional market or buyer group. In his studies, Porter found that some businesses did not consciously adopt one of these three strategies and were stuck with no strategic advantage. Without a strategic advantage, businesses earned below-average profits compared with those that used differentiation, cost leadership, or focus strategies. Managers should think carefully about which strategy will provide their company with a competitive advantage.
The primary tools that managers use to implement strategy effectively: visible leadership, clear roles and accountability, candid communication, and appropriate HR practices. Managers use visible leadership, clear roles and accountability, candid communication, and appropriate HR practices to execute strategy effectively.