I agree with the authors of the article “Creating a Strategic Direction” that strategic direction, vision, and values are of paramount importance. Olk, Rainsford, and Chung, the authors of the article, argue that an increase in incorporation and globalization of too many information and technology tools enhances the need for top management to set a clear strategic vision for a company. Moreover, they state that the ability to communicate globally and demand in the market encourage companies to expand. The authors point out that strategic vision provides many benefits to a company. The first advantage is that strategic vision provides a broader shared sense of the purpose and direction of an organization. To instill a purpose, many successful organizations are achieving their leadership position by adopting visions far greater than their resources base and competence can allow, which would suggest that a vision provides a framework for the company missions and goals. Without visions, a company might peruse a set of isolated goals, which some of the workers may not be able to identify or implement.
Developing a vision is a primary responsibility of a top manager. According to Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, the role of a leader is to have a vision. Apart from having a vision, the leader should give people the direction and resources to fulfill that vision. In his situation, he expounded that the vision of Black Entertainment Television (BET) was to become the preeminent African American entertainment company in the whole world. Since this aspect received support and was clearly understood by many, employees were buying into it, and the company grew successfully. The most salient thing in this is that top managers should not feel that only charismatic leaders could develop a vision (Olk, Rainsford, & Chung, 2009). A vision is a shared understanding of future that companies desire to have; it should not be the responsibility of the top manager alone. When the top management starts the process, the other levels of organizations bring their ideas for consideration.
The main problem addressed is a problem of top managers, who, at times, overlook the employees and fail to inform them the vision they have for the company. The employees should also know how the vision is linked to operational actions. He also argues that there is a need for managers to understand the connection between vision/goals and operational performance as well as rewards. He also emphasizes on the need for the top managers to engage their employees in working towards their vision by discussing progress and their needs.
These are the seven important aspects of creation and implementation of visions that he recommends:
1. Visions of an organization should be articulated continuously and clearly.
2. A top manager should make it certain that employees have accepted and believed the vision.
3. The vision and associated strategies should be put in a larger business and industry.
4. The organization should come up with achievable goals; this will keep them focused on their target.
5. The Subgroup and employees should be tied to the vision, by relating operation to the visions.
6. The organizations should reward the employees for activities that move the firm towards realizing its vision.
7. Vision should be made a passion. One should be always passionate about his/her vision.
I can support this by saying that if companies practice all these seven rules, they can have extraordinarily high growth rates. Unfortunately, companies do not reward the employees’ efforts. In addition, they fail to involve their employees while setting their targets. If all these rules become part of the decision making process, organizations can become tremendously successful.
“Leadership and Organizational Strategy” Critique
The author’s description of strategic planning is very felicitous. He equates it to an umbrella term that summarizes activities such as planning, program budgeting, and performance measurement. I agree with the author that strategic planning is useful and that there are profound limitations in this approach. To say that there are limitations is to say nothing, as every limitation must be expounded properly. The control mechanisms prove to be the main ingredient to this recipe, which many get wrong. Strategic planning emerges to fill the glaring gaps and overcome challenges in organizations. To employ strategic planning as a solution is the only limitation I envisage in this issue. One must acknowledge that strategic planning is by itself just a class of a series of things a leader must consider individually. To better understand strategic planning, one must conceptualize strategic thinking. As organizations seek the lowest bidder to provide a desired operational or structural change, the intention is not to save money for the sake of it but to align their objectives to the common strategy developed for them and by leadership above them.
The desires of public administrators to control organizational activities are of the essence and are aligned with current best practices. Strategic thinking aims to achieve the same goals as organizational leadership. Strategic planning is more based on an upward trend, which seeks to ensure that the tactics laid out link to corporate goals and strategy. On the other hand, strategic thinking has its basis on a downward trend, which ensures that the meaning and purpose derived by leadership is diffused throughout the organization and that the appropriate goals to be achieved meet the real needs the organization has within it. In this sense, strategic planning is more linked to a classical management system, while strategic thinking can be easily linked to the work of leadership (Fairholm, 2008). To define strategic thinking clearly is not a straightforward task. However, organizations that have tried to embed it into their management style have utilized such ideas as conceptual thinking, clarification of complex information or data, investment in seeking information, and accommodation of the aspect of learning from their experience.
Other tactics employed in pursuit of this ideal are recognition of patterns among issues and information as well as underlying relationships. In order to achieve these goals, organizations must invest in understanding the impact of global events on its business as well as develop new and increased opportunities to increase its revenue base. In addition to that, an organization is advised to keep the overall goals, trends, themes, and agenda in clear sight of all its undertakings as well as develop articulate and clear roles and directions for all its constituent groups that should be synchronized to the overall vision, strategy, and direction.
In contrast, strategic planning in the same organization will involve translating strategic goals into realistic and flexible programs. It will also involve measures to monitor the implementation of these plans and ensure that desired results get to be achieved. To meet these demands, the organization prepares budgets and allocates resources that address strategic issues and set priorities. It also implements avenues of tracking progress through deliverables and deadlines while anticipating upcoming and future obstacles as well as opportunities. The methods utilized should work smart towards simplifying and improving processes and putting emphasis on activities that add value. All this must be aimed at eliminating inefficiencies and tasks that do not add much value. Much can be said on these issues, but fundamentally, it is all about disciplined thinking that leads to organizational focus. For an organization to capture these ideas, it has at its disposal various tools such as SWOT analysis, PESTLE scanning, and BACHA analysis. When an organization arms itself with these tools and the information derived from them, the organization can determine its best course of action to enhance its operations and devise clear outlines on how to improve its posture.
In conclusion, the approaches used to address emerging issues and difficulties in organizations are diverse, and the method of dealing with them needs to be properly articulated and must be all inclusive. An organization that sticks to an old form of management style will lose its leadership position, no matter how strategic their planning is. The emerging needs in business dictate a new approach to bring the entire team in tandem with the leadership so as to strategize for the future.