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Strategic Planning: What does it Mean?, and How is it done Effectively?

Most business owners or managers recognize that a strategic plan is a directional map for where their companies are headed and how they intend to get there. However, it is much harder for them to understand what goes into the strategic planning process, how the strategy-making task is best performed, and the full impact of the process the planning team goes through to develop the strategic direction of their organization. Strategic planning is best done when a company looks at its past, present, and future in light of its related environment. It is the process of thinking about the company and its related environment as an integrated whole. process during which an e!ecutive "planning team" is organized to consider three key #uestions on a continuous basis$ %. &hat is our business' (. &here do we wish to arrive, and when' and ). How do we get from here to there' In a personal interview, *aren +oppe, ,ice-+resident of Human -esource Management at &all .rug, discussed the importance of organizing a strategic planning team to guide the long-term direction of a company. /he planning team at &all .rug consists of si! key management people covering finance, personnel, and marketing. 0learly the success of those planning efforts is reflected in &all .rug1s average annual growth rate of (23 over the last five years. What is our Business? /he process of defining the mission of company is a time consuming, tedious task re#uiring patience and persistence. It contains few specific directives. 0haracteristically, the mission is a statement of attitude, outlook, and orientation rather than of details and #uantitatively measurable targets. Managers need to think about mission statements as enduring statements of organizational purpose and intent. /hey imply the image a company seeks to pro4ect, they reflect a company1s self-concept and its relationship to customer perception, and they indicate the principle product or service areas and the primary customer needs which the company attempts to satisfy. Mission statements are used to describe the product, market, and technological areas in a way that reflects the values and priorities of a company1s customers. /hus, the mission is defined as the fundamental, uni#ue purpose that sets an organization apart from its competitors and identifies the scope of its operations in service and market terms. ccording to .avid 5%6789, mission statements can be used to spell out$ the basic type of product or service to be offered, the primary markets or customer groups whose needs will be served: the technology to be used in the production or delivery of the product or service: the fundamental concern for survival through growth and profitability: the managerial philosophy of the firm: the public image that is sought: and the firm1s self-concept--that is the image of the firm that should be held by those affiliated with it. &hen considering the future and developing a mission statement, the planning team should consider at least eight different ways of defining the company$ %. In terms of the products or services being provided. (. In terms of the principal ingredient in a line of products. ). In terms of the technology that spawns the product.

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In terms of the customer groups being served. In terms of the customer needs and wants being met. In terms of the scope of activities within an industry. In terms of creating a diversified enterprise that engage in group of related businesses. 7. In terms of creating a multi-industry portfolio of unrelated businesses. &hen Mike Harper 50=>9 and his e!ecutive team at 0on gra set out for a planning summit in ,ail, 0olorado, little did they know that they would return with one of the best e!amples of planning initiatives found in corporate merica today. /heir efforts are clearly spelled out in Harper1s white paper. ccording to ?imprecht 5%6769, it described the kind of company 0on gra wanted to build, from a management standpoint. It dealt with things like environment, culture, structure, #uality of people, #uality of products, and ob4ectives of the company. Harper1s white paper also pointed out that management1s most important task would be to create the proper work environment. ?imprecht 5%6769 described that culture as the kind that encourages the pursuit of high goals and standards$ the development of people and ideas: participation and involvement between managers and employees: and collaboration and close professional association among peers, with energies put into unifying ob4ectives rather than rivalries. In /om +eters1s 5%66@9 video entitled "+assion for the 0ustomer", /om &alsh from Anion +acific -ailroad claimed that management1s most difficult task is becoming deserving of its people. s discussed by +eters, the best way to do this is by driving decisions as close to the customer as possible while empowering employees. Is this not what Harper and his associates accomplished by describing what they saw as the proper work environment' 0on gra1s strategic planning team also decided to build a basic food company which included, but did not limit itself to packaged goods. -ather they decided to work the entire food chain by selling inputs to farmers, buying their production, converting farm outputs into food ingredients along with other food companies, and processing those food ingredients into fine consumer and food service products. >nce defined, the mission of an organization needs to be effectively communicated to employees and customers in order that they share psychic ownership in it. Ben and Cerry1s Ice 0ream public relations work, made easy by the philosophy and practices of its founders, is a good e!ample of communicating a company1s mission statement to its employees and customers. +eople associated with this company are not confused about its purpose and share its values. Similar e!amples of psychic ownership are found at ?. ?. Bean, +atagonia, and Smith and Hawken, all e!tremely successful catalog retailers that have effectively communicated their organizational purpose and intention. &hat is e!tremely important about these companies is that their mission statements truly reflect the values and priorities of their employees and customers, and they are reflected in the actions of their managers. How Important is nswering the Duestion, "&hat is our business'" +eter .rucker 5%6<;9 argued that the single most important cause of frustration and subpar performance is management1s failure to e!amine this #uestion in a timely, probing fashion. &hen the concept of an organization1s business is not thought through and spelled out clearly, .rucker claimed that the organization lacks a solid foundation for establishing realistic ob4ectives, strategies, plans, and work assignments. ccording to +earce 5%67(9, " . . . It is not enough to say that ?ever Brothers is in the business of "making anything that cleans anything," or that +olaroid is committed to businesses that deal with "the interaction of light and matter." -ather, a firm must clearly articulate its long-term intentions so that its

ob4ectives can serve as a basis for shared e!pectations, planning, and performance evaluation." 5p. %29 Where do we wish to arrive, and when? /he second #uestion that needs to be addressed in any strategic planning effort leads to ob4ective setting. >b4ectives deal with the various measures of organizational performance. t the corporate level, most ob4ectives are stated in financial or competitive terms. Because ob4ectives deal with measures of performance they are best set when operational and functional personnel are 4ointly involved. If financial and operational ob4ectives are made in a vacuum, that delicate balance between return on investment and capitalizing on market opportunity is e!tremely difficult to obtain. .uring the ob4ective setting session, the planning team redefines as well as e!tends the meaning of the company. Euture direction is set best by using ob4ectives that meet four basic criteria. =ach must be #uantified so management can measure its accomplishment over a given block of time. =ach should be challenging while at the same time be attainable so employees will e!tend effort to achieve them. nd ob4ectives must be limited in number 5five or si!9 to avoid dilution of effort and confusion. 0on gra1s ob4ectives provide an e!cellent e!ample. /hey are$ -0onsistently earn in e!cess of a %23 return on common stockholders1 e#uity, and strive to increase that average return to (@3 -Maintain no more than a ;@3 long-term debt-to-total capitalization ratio -+ay off or pay down all short-term debt at the end of each year -.istribute from )@3 to )23 of earnings in the form of dividends to common stockholders -Strive to obtain no less than %;3 growth in earnings each year /he impact of developing clear, concise corporate ob4ects is well documented in business literature, and there is little doubt about management1s decision at 0on gra to focus on ma!imizing stockholders1 wealth through prudent asset management and employee empowerment. /oday, as the largest independently owned and operated food company with sales in e!cess of F(@ billion annually, these ob4ectives brought about by the efforts of its strategic planning team have served 0on gra well. Go one argues with the financial success they have brought to its common stockholders who were on the verge of bankruptcy with a F8@@ million per year company in %6<;. >n the other hand, the impact of not knowing where management wants to arrive and when is best captured in an e!cerpt from ?ewis 0arroll1s " lice1s dventures in &onderland" reported by &. M. Hreenfield. Hreenfield reports, "&ould you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here'" said lice. "/hat depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the 0at. "I don1t much care where . . ." said lice. "/hen it doesn1t matter which way you go," said the 0at. " . . . so long as I get somewhere," lice added as an e!planation. ">h, you1re sure to do that," said the 0at, "If you only

walk long enough." How do we get from here to there? >nce the strategic planning team has determined "what their business is" and "where they wish to arrive, and when," they must decide "how to get from where they are to there'" /his key #uestion is the sub4ect of strategizing. ccording to >hmae 5%67(9, effective strategy does not result from specific analysis but from a particular state of mind. He claimed that great strategies, like great works of art or great scientific discoveries, call for technical mastery in the working out but originate in insights that are beyond the reach of conscious analysis. /his does not mean however that good strategist re4ect analysis. Duiet the contrary, according to >hmae 5%66@9. He argued that good strategists use analysis to stimulate the creative process, to test the ideas that emerge, to work out their strategic implications, or to ensure successful e!ecution of high-potential "wild" ideas that might otherwise never be implemented. In strategizing, -ies and /rout 5%67<9 claimed that management has four basic options. /hey can develop defensive, offensive, flanking, or guerrilla strategies, and that the strategy they develop is based on their relative market position in relationship to competitive activity. =ach offers the marketer definite advantages based on that relationship. &hen -ies and /rout 5%67<9 discussed the market positions and strategies of the A. S. domestic automobile manufacturers, they clearly distinguish the advantages of the four basic options. /hey claimed that Heneral Motors1 4ob with a 263 share of A. S. domestic manufacturing is to defend their position while closely monitoring other activities in the macro-environment that directly impact the primary demand for domestic automobiles. =!tremely important to market leadership is a company1s ability to attack itself. &hile Heneral Motors is in a defensive position, Eord Motor 0ompany in the number two position is in an offensive position while 0hrysler1s flanking position serves the number three position well. merican Motors caught in the number four position is best served by using guerrilla warfare strategy. ccording to -ies and /rout 5%67<9, each of the market players has a distinct advantage in understanding that their uni#ue position calls for strategy of its own. >n a more general level, /hompson and Strickland 5%67<9 said that a firm1s strategy can be classified mostly offensively or defensive depending on what market conditions warrant. .efensive strategies correct internal weaknesses to counter e!ternal threats found in competitive and cooperative activity as well as the political, economic, technological, and socialI cultural environments. /hus, defensive strategies reduce the company1s vulnerability to menacing factors which are, themselves, outside management1s control. >ffensive strategies are built on strength and utilize those strengths to seize e!ternal opportunities. /hese strategies employ the company1s competitive advantages to its benefits. ccording to Cohn Gaisbitt and +atricia burdene 5%66@9, surely what works best is a tailored program to match organizational strengths with market needs and wants. Anderstanding the needs and wants of customers may present the biggest challenge to most managers. Harvard Aniversity1s guru on competitive strategy, Michael +orter, 4ust might offer us the best insight in strategizing. +orter 5%66%9 claimed that management basically has three strategic options including cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. &hile Gucor 0orporation is +orter1s e!ample of a well conceived focus strategy, Iowa Beef +rocessors provides a good e!ample in cost leadership and Gordstrom1s is a great e!ample in differentiation.

+orter 5%66%9 also offered managers fonder for thought when strategizing under his discussion of determinants to industry profitability. /he five determinants to industry profitability include %9 threat of new entrants, (9 bargaining power of suppliers, )9 rivalry among e!isting competitors, ;9 bargaining power of buyers, and 29 threat of substitute products or services. If these factors are not thought through when the planning team develops long-term vision, ob4ectives, and strategies: a large factor to developing sustainable competitive advantage is overlooked. &ithout considering the fundamental underlying factors of the industry in which you are competing, +orter 5%66%9 argued companies are e!tremely vulnerable to heading down the wrong path. Strategic versus Tactical ecisions! It is often useful at this point to distinguish between strategic and tactical decisions because they differ in terms of the way in which they are formulated and implemented. Steiner and Miner 5%6<<9 suggested the following set of dimensions with which to distinguish strategic from tactical decisions$ %. Importance. Strategic decisions are significantly more important to the organization than tactical decisions. s .rucker 5%6<;9 said, doing the right thing is far more important than doing all things right. If an organization directs its efforts toward the appropriate product markets, it will be successful even if it makes mistakes in implementation. However, e!ceptionally good tactics will not overcome the selection of poor product-market targets. (. ?evel at &hich 0onducted. .ue their importance, strategic decisions are made by top-level managers while tactical decisions are made at the level product and functional managers. ). /ime Horizons. Strategies last for long periods of time while tactics have short durations. Strategic plans might have a ten-year horizon, in contrast to annual marketing plans that deal primarily with tactical decisions. ;. -egularity. /he formulation of strategy is continuous and irregular. /he ongoing process of monitoring the environment might trigger an intense strategic planning activity when new opportunities or threats appear. /actics are determined on a periodic basis with a fi!ed time schedule, typically designed to correspond to the annual budgeting cycle. 2. Gature of +roblems. Strategic problems are typically unstructured and uni#ue. Hence, there is great uncertainty and risk associated with the formulation of strategies. /actical problems, such as setting an advertising level or selecting salespeople, are more structured and repetitive in nature, so the risks associated with tactical decisions are easier to assess. In addition, strategy formulation involves the consideration of a wider range of alternatives than the formulation of tactics. 8. Information Geeded. Since strategies represent an organization1s response to its environment, the formulation of strategies re#uires large amounts of information e!ternal to the organization. Much of the information is related to an assessment of the future and thus is #uite sub4ective. /actical decisions rely much more on internally generated accounting or market research information. <. .etail. Strategic plans are typically broad statements based on sub4ective 4udgements while tactical plans are #uite specific supported by much more detailed information. 7. =ase of =valuation. Strategic decisions are much more difficult to evaluate than tactical decisions. /he results of strategies might become evident only after many years. In addition, it is difficult to disentangle the #uality of the decision from changes that might have occurred in the forecasted environment. In contrast, the results of tactical decisions are #uickly evident and much more easily associated with the decision.

&hat is also important for management to recognize about strategic and tactical decisions is their relationship. -ies and /rout 5%6789 claimed that is important for management to understand that strategy must come from what a company is capable of doing at the tactical level. differentiation strategy, for e!ample, re#uires a tremendous commitment to #uality in everything that a company does, and the company must be willing to accept and be able to afford the additional costs of the value-added #uality. So, Where oes the Planning Team Begin? .rucker 5%6<;9 asserted that to know what a business is we have to start with its purpose, and its purpose must lie outside of the business itself. In fact, .rucker argued that a company1s purpose must lie in society since business enterprise is an organ of society. Most marketers would agree that any successful planning effort by a company re#uires an e!ternal focus. 0ompanies that focus on customers1 wants and needs and the environments in which they operator are easily distinguished from those focused internally. =!ternally focused companies look at the long-term and work on doing the right things instead of doing all things right. ccording to .rucker 5%6<;9, " . . . to the customer, no product or service, and certainly no company, is of much importance. . . . /he customer only wants to know what the product or service will do for him tomorrow. ll he is interested in are his own values, his own wants, his own reality." 5p. <69 Eor this reason, any serious attempt to determine the role of any organization must start with feedback from customers to determine their realities, e!pectations, and values. /heir perception is reality. /o truly understand them, companies need to ask them what they want in both products and service levels, what they are most satisfied and dissatisfied with, and what the future holds. /oday, post-sales service is becoming the number one issue, and companies are focusing on the life-time value of their customers. /he reasons why are obvious. Eirst, it is five times cheaper, on average, to retain an e!isting customer than it is to develop a new one. Second, customer e!pectations, be they consumers or other businesses, have developed higher e!pectations about service levels and product values. >nce customers are polled and the significant future events are pro4ected, a company can best consider its outlook if it continues to do 4ust what it is doing now or whether the future re#uires change. ?ong-term direction setting is best accomplished by evaluating opportunities and threats on the horizon through market and operational analysis. /he strategic planning team should begin with some straight forward #uestions about the future. /hey need to ask themselves what does the future holds over the ne!t fifteen to twenty-five years. The Strategic "udit! rthur /hompson and . C. Strickland 5%67<9 argued that the #uestion, "&hat is our business'" is best addressed through a S&>/ analysis 5see Eigure %9. Here, the planning team deliberates in creating four lists$ %. Internal Strengths (. Internal &eaknesses ). =!ternal >pportunities and ;. =!ternal /hreats Internal strengths are those characteristics of the company which place it, or can place it, at a

significant competitive advantage. Internal weaknesses, on the other hand, are characteristics of the company which place it at a significant disadvantage. =!ternal opportunities are those factors, independent of management1s control, which may be seized to the company1s advantage. =!ternal threats, again independent of the control, threaten effective management with harm. >pportunities and threats are found in what Mc0arthy and +erreault 5%66@9 called the uncontrollable environment. /hey can be found in their marketing manager1s framework model. /o be effective, management must continually assess the social and cultural: technological: economic: legal, regulatory and political: and competitive variables. Got included in Mc0arthy and +erreault1s model is the cooperative environment. Building strong relationships with suppliers, channel members in the distribution system, and facilitators is e#ually, if not more, important to the other variables in the marketing management framework proposed by Mc0arthy and +erreault. Eew would argue that the cooperative environment plays a significant role in a company1s ability to gain sustainable competitive advantage in today1s highly competitive and comple!ed global market place. /he strategic planning team should incorporate the thinking that is encompassed by these writers when assessing their organizations and the environments they operate in. Some key marketing factors that these managers should keep in mind include$ - bility to gather needed information about markets -Eirm1s productsIservices: breadth of product line -Market share or submarket shares -+roductIservice mi! and e!pansion potential: life cycle of key products: profitIsales balance in productIservice -0hannels of distribution -=ffective sales organization: knowledge of customer needs. -+roductIservice image, reputation, and #uality -Imaginative, efficient, and effective sales promotion and advertising -+ricing strategy -+roducers for digesting market feedback and developing new productsIservices or markets - ftersale service and follow-up -HoodwillIbrand loyalty #igure $ SW%T "nalysis Model&" 'hec(list of What to )oo( #or Potential *nternal Potential *nternal Strengths Wea(nesses distinctive competence' Go clear strategic direction' de#uate financial resources' deteriorating competitive Hood competitive skills' position' &ell thought of by buyers' >bsolete facilities' n acknowledged market Subpar profitability because .' leader' ?ack of managerial depth and &ell-conceived functional talent' area strategies' Missing any key skills or ccess to economies of scale' competence' Insulated 5at least somewhat9 +oor track record in implement-

from strong competitive ing strategy' pressures' +lagued with internal operating +roprietary technology' problems' 0osts advantages' ,ulnerable to competitive 0ompetitive advantages' pressures' +roduct innovation abilities' Ealling behind in - J .' +roven management' /oo narrow a product line' head on e!perience curve' &eak market image' >ther' 0ompetitive disadvantages' Below-average marketing skills' Anable to finance needed changes in strategy' Higher overall unit costs relative to key competitors' >ther' Potential E+ternal Potential E+ternal %,,ortunities Threats Serve additional customer ?ikely entry of new competitors' groups' -ising sales of substitute pro=nter new markets or segments' ducts' =!pand product line to meet Slower market growth' broader range of dverse government policies' customer needs' Hrowing competitive pressures' .iversify into related pro,ulnerability to recession and ducts' business cycle' dd complementary products' Hrowing bargaining power of cusbility to move to better tomers or suppliers' strategic group' 0hanging buyer needs and tastes' 0omplacency among rival dverse demographic changes' firms' >ther' Easter market growth' >ther' Source$ /hompson, rthur ., Cr., and . C. Strickland 5III9. Strategic Management$ 0oncepts and 0ases. 5+iano, /e!as$ Business +ublications, Inc., %67<9 p 67. /he importance of assessing the environment through a S&>/ analysis is also reinforced through an application of the />&S matri! suggested by .avid 5%6789. He uses as his e!ample ?evi Strauss J 0ompany 5see Eigure (9. s the planning team evaluates their strategic position they should keep in mind that success involves developing three key assets synergistically including personnel, capital, and hard assets 5plant and e#uipment9. ccording to >hmae 5%67(9, there ability to do this depends on customer e!pectations, the activities and strategies of their competitors in leu of market opportunity, and the resources of their own organization.

#igure The T%WS Matri+ a,,lied to )evi Strauss . 'om,any

Strengths %. ?evi Strauss has e!cess working capital (. dvertising effectiveness is e!cellent ). .avid Hunter has become a successful fashion brand %,,ortunities %. /he consumer is becoming more leisure-oriented and wearing 4eans more often (. ?evi Strauss commands ;)3 of the market in 4eans ). *-Mart, &al-Mart and other retailers do not currently sell ?evi1s 4eans S% Strategies %. +roduct development 5 dd ".avy Hunter" line of 4eans9 S$, S/, %$ (. Eorward Integration 5 ttract *-Mart and &al-Mart as distributors9 S-, %/

Wea(nesses %. 0ustomer loyalty has declined (. -etail Sales ?evi1s Ceans are declining ). Gine plants been shut since %67( W% Strategies



Threats ST Strategies %. Both Blue Bell and ,E 0orp1s 4eans are gaining market share (. Sears and C.0. +enney1s may withdraw their orders from ?evi Strauss ). ?evi Strauss traditional distributors are angered by ?evi1s policy of selling to mass retailers such as Sears ). %67@-%67( were financially disastrous years for ?evi1s Source$ Based on ?evi Strauss1 %67; nnual -eport and an article entitled "?evi Strauss$ /ouch of Eashioin--and a .ash of Humility," Business &eek 5>ctober (;, %67)9 pp 72 and 77.

WT Strategies %. -etrenchment 5close more plants9 W-, W/, T/, T0 (. Market penetration 5offer small retailers special incentives9 W-,T/

s shown in Eigure ), these same planning team members should consider their alternative growth strategies defined and e!emplified by .avid 5%6789. In many cases today, what is found is a combination strategy in which an organization is pursuing two or more strategies simultaneously.

#igure / "lternative 1rowth Strategies S/- /=HK Eorward ,ertical Integration .=EIGI/I>G Haining ownership or increased control over distributors or retailers =L M+?= 0oke 0ola buying out its local bottling and distributor operations: &al-Mart purchasing a fleet of trucks Mac.onald1s purchasing a meat processing plant: large retail grocery chain purchasing a large wholesaler and developing its own distribution center Smaller market players in an industry being ac#uired by larger ones: +rego Sisco buying local food service marketers +epsi 0ola launching a massive advertising campaign based on the slogan "/he +epsi Heneration" /he owner of a retail store building an identical store in a new town: repositioning Cohnson1s Baby Shampoo for adults pple 0omputer 0ompany introducing the MacIntosh: the introduction of ;78 laptop computers %st Gational Bank of >1Geil, Gebraska purchasing an insurance company Specialty clothing retail chain ac#uiring a food processing company Holiday Inn beginning to sell gasoline by installing fuel pumps in parking lots /ractor +ro4ect of -omania representing Behlen Manufacturing agricultural e#uipment

Backward ,ertical Integration

Seeking ownership or increased control over marketing channel members between them and the producer Seeking ownership or increased control over competitors Seeking increased market share for present products in present markets through greater marketing efforts Introducing present products into new markets areas 5geographic, demographic, pyschographic9 Seeking increased sales by improving or modifying 5developing9 new product5s9









0oncentric .iversification 0onglomerate .iversification Horizontal .iversification

dding new, but related products dding new, unrelated products dding new, unrelated products for present customers >ne company working with another on a special pro4ect

Coint ,enture


company regrouping throiugh cost and asset reduction in order to reverse declining sales Selling a division or part of an organization Selling all of a company1s assets, in parts, for their tangible worth n organization pursuing two or more strategies simultaneously

.elta irlines announcing that is is eliminating service at three ma4or =uropean cities 0on gra selling its unprofitable retail farm supply stores .e?orean Motor 0ompany li#uidating in %67; *-Mart purchasing +ay ?ess .rug Stores in %672 and &aldenbooks in %67;

.ivestitute ?i#uidation 0ombination

dapted from$ .avid, Ered 5%6789. Eundamentals of Strategic Management 50olumbus, >hio$ Merrill +ublishing 0ompany9 p. 8(. 'onclusion Eirst and foremost, the planning team must recognize that strategic planning is a time consuming and continuous process based an e!ecutive planning team1s ability to assess their company1s ability to develop according to the environment in which it operators. It involves developing mission statements, ob4ectives, and strategy at the corporate level. /hey must also recognize that once strategic direction has been decided, they face a big challenge in communicating and implementing their planning efforts. By developing, communicating, and implementing an effective strategic plan, managers and organizations basically benefit in four related ways. Eirst, increased effectiveness results from the direction provided by setting specific direction through a well-defined mission and a few simply stated ob4ectives. By recognizing and taking psychic ownership in that direction, employees can more effectively employ the organization1s resources to fulfill the company1s mission. Second, effectively communicating the strategic plan improves employee motivation. 0ommunication of a strategic plan within the company stimulates positive employee response. =mployees feel they1re part of a "more professional organization." nd, they1re correct. /heir management has identified where it wishes to go, and made the necessary commitment to get there. /hird, strategic planning enhances managerial skills. /hus, it offers managers and subordinates an opportunity to broaden their viewpoint and grow with the organization. Strategic planning provides a framework for evaluating alternative strategies. It forces consideration on "what if'" better preparing the firm and its people for future events. ccording to +aul Hawken 5%67<9 there is no sense to growing a company if you are not growing its personnel with it. Eourth, which 4ust may be strategic planning1s most significant contribution lies in its redirection of management1s attention from tasks to opportunities. Managers busy fighting day-to-day "brush fires" become task oriented--unwatchful of significant opportunities. Strategic planning provides a format for recognition of available opportunities. /hen, it rests management1s attention from daily tasks and refocuses it on those recognized opportunities. Harvard Aniversity1s long-time marketing guru /heodore ?evitt 5%6<29 provides one of the best e!amples of the importance of focusing on opportunity in a rendition of his earlier article entitled "Marketing Myopia." What can 2e E+,ected?

Bryson and -oering 5%6779 report a full range of e!pectations that can result from such initiatives. Eirst, that strategic planning initiatives primarily involve a series of three simple activities, namely, %9 the gathering of key actors, (9 to work through a "strategic thinking and acting" process, )9 in order to focus on what is truly important for the organization, to set priorities for action and to generate those actions. ccording to Bryson and -oering, while these activities may be conceptually simple, they are #uite difficult to implement because the initiation of strategic planning is a process deliberately designed to produce change. It is this deliberately disruptive nature of the process that partly e!plains the difficulty of implementing it. /he process becomes e!tremely complicated when every resource and aspect of an organization is #uestioned. Gormally, organizations prefer to program, routinize, and systematize as much as they can, and change disrupts this. In short, it is very difficult to initiate and manage a divergent, partly convergent, partly cumulative process, and still stay committed to doing so. How are 3esults Measured? Successful initiation of strategic planning ought to be assessed according to the e!tent that the process$ %9 helps focus the attention of the strategic planning team on what was important, (9 helps the team set priorities for action, )9 helps generate those actions, and ;9 helps focus the attention of the organization1s key decision makers on what was important. If this can be accomplished while actually developing a long-term plan, then the planning team1s mission has been accomplished. /he challenge then, is getting the key actors involved by becoming critical thinkers as they plan to plan. /eam members must understand and accept the fact that effective strategic planning is difficult at best. >ne of the process champions in the Bryson and -oering study captured it best with the following analogy$ "=ffective strategic planning is like a #uilt. Kou need all of the pieces before you can stitch together an interesting pattern. But what do you do when you1re missing some of the pieces'"

Bi2liogra,hy bell, .erek and Cohn S. Hammond 5%6<69, Strategic Market Planning. =nglewood 0liffs, Gew Cersey$ +rentice-Hall, Inc. Bryson, Cohn M. and &illiam .. -oering 5%6779 "Initiation of Strategic +lanning by Hovernments," Public Administration Review 5GovemberI.ecember9 662-%@@;. .avid, Ered -. 5%6789, Fundamentals of Strategic Management. 0olumbus, >hio$ Merrill +ublishing 0ompany. .rucker, +eter E. 5%62;9, The Practice of Management. Gew Kork$ Harper J Brothers +ublishers. .rucker, +eter E. 5%6<)9, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. Gew Kork$ Harper J -ow. .rucker, +eter E. 5%67@9, Managing uring Turbulent Times. Gew Kork$ Harper J -ow. =mshoff, Cames -. and rthur Einnel 5%6<69, ".efining 0orporate Strategy$ Strategic ssumptions nalysis," Sloan Management Review 5Spring9 ;%-2(. Hreenfield, &. M. 5%6769, 0ase Study Asing

eveloping !ew "entures. Gew Kork$ Harper J -ow, +ublishers.

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