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  For some, “Strategy” and “Strategic Planning” is something that is done once a year which results in a report.  Others think it is market position, operational effectiveness or an idea or business model. Strategy is choosing to perform different activities that can be preserved and that will provide a sustainable competitive advantage. It is a mental exercise. It is a way of thinking about the world and approaching business. Strategic planning is a process to produce innovative and creative ideas which serve as the core framework for the company and designing its’ future.  Strategic planning can have an immediate influence on your company and organization. 1. Make your future happen don’t let it happen to you   It is the difference between being proactive or reactive. Be on the defensive or the offensive. Be a victim of circumstances or be victorious in the fight. Not every situation can be foreseen but you can make decisions and react to changing market conditions with the end in mind. 2. Establish direction clearly defines the purpose of the organization and establishes realistic goals and objectives consistent with the mission which can be clearly communicated to constituents. Provides a base from which progress can be measured, employees compensated and boundaries established for effective decision making.   3. Make wise business decisions how do you distinguish between a good idea and a great idea? Without a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and mission or purpose for doing it, everything seems like a good idea. What project do you invest in? How should you and your staff invest your time? Having clarity about what you want to do, who you need and how to get there will focus limited financial and people resources. 4. Create longevity of the business the world market and industries are changing faster than ever and those companies who do not have a solid foundation and have relied on luck or opportunity most likely will not be around for the future. Data reflects that one out of every three companies at the top of their industry will not make be there in five years. Focus is powerful. Scientists focus light so intently that it becomes a laser which is used for surgery or able to cut through glass and metal. 5. Increased profitability and market share Focused planning and strategic thinking will uncover the customer segments, market conditions, and product and service offerings that are in the best interest of your firm. An intentful and targeted approach to markets and opportunities which guide your sales and marketing efforts, distribution and other business decisions which ultimately mean more profit to the bottom line and a stronger market position. 6. Unique differentiation: avoid “competitive convergence”   Companies have gotten so used to looking at their competitors and their best practices and then trying to duplicate them that it becomes harder to tell the companies apart. They all start to look the same with less distinction in unique value. Strategy means having a unique differentiation that sets you apart from your competitors. 7. Increased job satisfaction  – meaningful and full of purpose Consistently one of the top reason for leaving a firm is the lack of job satisfaction. People need to have a motivation to come to work and feel like part of the team. It has been proven that employees are the greatest source for innovative ideas. If your employees were in essence bricklayers, would they say that they are building a wall with each brick they lay each day or building a cathedral? The purpose and meaning of work gives a new focus and reason to show up each day. 8. Focus is placed on the important things. Resources (time, talent, money) are properly allocated to those activities that provide the most benefit.   9. Prove an awareness of the changing environment as a foundation for needed change. 10. Analyze the internal business culture and evaluate its impact on the company's performance. 11. Recognize the impact the changing business environment is having on the company and affect the needed changes in direction. 12. Become aware of the company's potentials in light of its strengths and weaknesses. 13. Identify and analyze available opportunities and potential threats. 14. May bring about a needed change of direction of the company. 15. Strategic issues can be brought up for top management review. 16. Able to set more realistic objectives that are demanding, yet attainable. 17. A need for better information for decisions making may be recognized. 18. Growth can be accelerated and improved.  19. Poor performing areas can be identified and eliminated. 20. Gain control of operational problems. 21. Develop better communications with those both inside and outside the company. 22. Provides a road map to show where the company is going and how to get there. 23. Develop better internal coordination of activities. 24. Develop a frame of reference for budgets and short-range operating plans. 25. Gain a sense of security among employees that comes from better understanding of the changing environment and the company's ability to adapt. Key Terms in Strategic Management 1) Purpose The organization's purpose outlines why the organization exists; it includes a description of its current and future business   (Leslie W. Rue, and Loyd L. Byars) The purpose of an organization is its primary role in society, a   broadly   defined aim (such as manufacturing electronic equipment) that it may share with many other organizations of its type. 2) Mission The mission of an organization is the unique reason for its existence that sets it apart from all others   (A. James, F. Stoner, and Charles Wankel) The organization's mission describes   why   the organization exists and guides   what   it  should be doing. Often, the organization's mission is defined in a formal, writtenmission statement. Decisions on   missionare the most important strategic decisions, because the mission is meant to guide the entire organization.  Although the terms purpose and mission are often used interchangeably, to distinguish between them may help in understanding organizational goals. 3) Goals  A goal is a desired future state that the organization attempts to realize   (Amitai Etzioni). 4) Objectives The term   objective   is often used interchangeably with goal but usually refers to specific targets for which measurable results can be obtained. Organizational objectives are the end points of an organization's mission.   Objectives refer to the specific kinds of results the organizations seek to achieve through its existence and operations   (William F. Glueck, and Lawrence R. Jauch) Objective define   what   it is the organization hopes to accomplish, both over the long and short term. In this paper the terms goals and objectives are used interchangeably. Specifically, where other works are being referred to and those authors have used the term goal as opposed to objective, their terminology is retained. 5) Strategy Strategies are the means by which long-term objectives will be achieved. A strategy is a unified, comprehensive, and integrated plan that relates the strategic advantages of the firm to the challenges of the environment. It is designed to ensure that the basic objectives of the enterprise are achieved through proper execution by the organization (William F. Glueck, and Lawrence R. Jauch). The role of strategy is to identify the general approaches that the organization utilize to achieve its organizational objectives. Therefore, the choice of strategy is so central to the study and understanding of strategic management. 6) Tactics In contrast,   tactics   are specifics actions the organization might undertake in carrying its strategy. 7) Policy In years past it was common practice to title courses and books in the strategic management areas as Business policy, if one wished to take up broader range of organizations. In one sense, what has happened is that word strategy has replaced policy. But there is another sense in which the term policy is used that differentiates it from strategy, and from tactics as well. In this view, policies are the means by which objectives will be achieved. Policies   are guide to action. They include how resources are to be allocated and how tasks assigned to the organization might be accomplished   ...   (William F. Glueck, and Lawrence R. Jauch   Policies include   guidelines, procedures, rules, programs, and budgets   established to support efforts to achieve stated objectives. Therefore, policies become important management tools for implementing them.
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