Brighton School of Business and Management December 2011 Student Newsletter
Contributions from you, our students, are very welcome if you have information, advice, website links, or ideas, that may be of help to other students, please send them to us.
Personal & Career Development – Tip of the Month
If you are currently in a Middle Management, or Specialist role, and have ambitions to move up into a Senior or Executive role, then after you have obtained appropriate qualifications for the role and position that you are currently in, as well as finding opportunities to gain experience of higher level management issues, you will need to start learning about strategic management.
Managing at the strategic level is very different to managing at the operational level, and requires different approaches, different skills, and a different level of understanding of the organisation and its business environment.
It is, in essence, forecasting and planning the pathway into the future that the whole organisation should take, laying down strategies and objectives to help the organisation successfully follow that pathway, and then responding to internal and external events, issues, problems, conflicts, and changes that the organisation faces as it moves into the future.
For those contemplating moving on to, or recently moved into, a strategic management role, we advise you to learn as much as you can about strategic issues, strategic planning, and strategic management approaches.
Our tutor team strongly recommends that managers at all levels, but especially those wishing to move into, or consolidate their position in, strategic management, to build research and reading on this subject into their professional development action plan.
A fascinating area of management, partly because it is the management of the broad issues, major complexities, and fast-changing situations that today’s organisations face, partly because it is, in most respects, very different from the management at the operational levels that most of us are familiar with, partly because it overlaps with and is intermingled with, leadership, and partly because it is carried out by a relatively small number of managers, leaders, and specialists, who are usually, due to their roles and responsibilities, remote from the majority of people in the organisation.
The articles below will provide examples of these aspects of management, and also give an indication of the vast range of material that is available to those wishing to learn more about this subject.
What is the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear the term corporate culture? A great many people refer to the classic phrase coined by the McKinsey organization, that culture is “how we do things around here”. And while that may be true, there are so many elements that go into determining what you do and why, that this definition only scratches the surface.
Whether you can define it or not, you know that culture exists. It’s that ethereal something that hangs in the air and influences how work gets done, critically affects project success or failure, says who fits in and who doesn’t, and determines the overall mood of the company.
Culture often becomes the focus of attention during periods of organizational change – when companies merge and their cultures clash, for example, or when growth and other strategic change mean that the existing culture becomes inappropriate, and hinders rather than supports progress. In more static environments, cultural issues may be responsible for low morale, absenteeism or high staff turnover, with all of the adverse effects those can have on productivity.
So, for all its elusiveness, corporate culture can have a huge impact on an organization’s work environment and output. This is why so much research has been done to pinpoint exactly what makes an effective corporate culture, and how to go about changing a culture that isn’t working.
Fortunately, while corporate culture can be elusive, approaches have been developed to help us look at it. Such approaches can play a key role in formulating strategy or planning change.
The Cultural Web, developed by Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes in 1992, provides one such approach for looking at and changing your organization’s culture. Using it, you can expose cultural assumptions and practices, and set to work aligning organizational elements with one another, and with your strategy.
The Cultural Web identifies six interrelated elements that help to make up what Johnson and Scholes call the “paradigm” – the pattern or model – of the work environment. By analysing the factors in each, you can begin to see the bigger picture of your culture: what is working, what isn’t working, and what needs to be changed. The six elements are:
Stories – The past events and people talked about inside and outside the company. Who and what the company chooses to immortalize says a great deal about what it values, and perceives as great behavior.
Rituals and Routines – The daily behavior and actions of people that signal acceptable behavior. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations, and what is valued by management.
Symbols – The visual representations of the company including logos, how plush the offices are, and the formal or informal dress codes.
Organizational Structure – This includes both the structure defined by the organization chart, and the unwritten lines of power and influence that indicate whose contributions are most valued.
Control Systems – The ways that the organization is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and rewards (including the way they are measured and distributed within the organization.)
Power Structures – The pockets of real power in the company. This may involve one or two key senior executives, a whole group of executives, or even a department. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions, operations, and strategic direction.
We use the Cultural Web firstly to look at organizational culture as it is now, secondly to look at how we want the culture to be, and thirdly to identify the differences between the two. These differences are the changes we need to make to achieve the high-performance culture that we want.
Start by looking at each element separately, and asking yourself questions that help you determine the dominant factors in each element. Elements and related questions are shown below, illustrated with the example of a bodywork repair company.
What stories do people currently tell about your organization?
What reputation is communicated amongst your customers and other stakeholders?
What do these stories say about what your organization believes in?
What do employees talk about when they think of the history of the company?
What stories do they tell new people who join the company?
What heroes, villains and mavericks appear in these stories?
Examples (car bodywork repair company):
We are known as having high customer complaints, shoddy work.
Staff members talk about the founder starting the company with a $1,000 loan..
The message is that we do things the cheapest way we can.
What do customers expect when they walk in?
What do employees expect?
What would be immediately obvious if changed?
What behavior do these routines encourage?
When a new problem is encountered, what rules do people apply when they solve it?
What core beliefs do these rituals reflect?
Customers expect a newspaper and coffee whilst they wait, or a ride to work.
Employees expect to have their time cards examined very carefully.
There’s lots of talk about money, and especially about how to cut costs.
Is company-specific jargon or language used? How well known and usable by all is this?
Are there any status symbols used?
What image is associated with your organization, looking at this from the separate viewpoints of clients and staff?
Bright red shuttle vans.
Bright red courtesy cars – compact, economy cars.
The boss wears overalls not a suit.
Is the structure flat or hierarchical? Formal or informal? Organic or mechanistic?
Where are the formal lines of authority?
Are there informal lines?
Flat structure – Owner, Head Mechanic, Mechanics, Reception.
The receptionist is the owner’s wife so she goes straight to him with some customer complaints.
It’s each mechanic for himself – no sharing tools or supplies, little teamwork.
What process or procedure has the strongest controls? Weakest controls?
Is the company generally loosely or tightly controlled?
Do employees get rewarded for good work or penalized for poor work?
What reports are issued to keep control of operations, finance, etc…?
Costs are highly controlled, and customers are billed for parts down to the last screw.
Quality is not emphasized. Getting the work done with the least amount of direct costs is the goal.
Employees docked pay if their quotes/estimates are more than 10% out.
Who has the real power in the organization?
What do these people believe and champion within the organization?
Who makes or influences decisions?
How is this power used or abused?
The owner believes in a low cost, high profit model, and is prepared to lose repeat customers.
The threat of docked pay keeps mechanics working with this model.
As these questions are answered, you start to build up a picture of what is influencing your corporate culture. Now you need to look at the web as a whole and make some generalized statements regarding the overall culture.
These statements about your corporate culture should:
Describe the culture; and
Identify the factors that are prevalent throughout the web.
In our example the common theme is tight cost control at the expense of quality, and at the expense of customer and employee satisfaction.
With the picture of your current cultural web complete, you need to repeat the process, thinking about the culture that you would like to create.
Starting from your organization’s strategy, think about how you want the organization’s culture to look, if everything were to be correctly aligned, and if you were to have the ideal corporate culture.
Now compare your two Cultural Web diagrams, and identify the differences between the two. Considering the organization’s strategic aims and objectives:
What cultural strengths have been highlighted by your analysis of the current culture?
What factors are hindering your strategy or are misaligned with one another?
What factors are detrimental to the health and productivity of your workplace?
What factors will you encourage and reinforce?
Which factors do you need to change?
What new beliefs and behaviors do you need to promote?
Used in this way, Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web helps you analyse your current culture, and identify what needs to stay, go or be added to if you’re to achieve your strategic goals.
Implementing cultural changes is not simple: it involves re-moulding values, beliefs and behavior, and it’s a major change management challenge, taking a great deal of time and hard work from everyone involved. Byproviding a framework for analysing the current culture and designing changes, Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web provides a good foundation for the difficult business of changing organization culture.
Using it, you can create a cultural environment that encourages success, supports the organization’s objectives and, all-in-all, makes for a better place to work.
The Importance of Leadership in Managing Change
When change is imposed (as in downsizing scenarios), clearly the most important determinant of “getting through the swamp”, is the ability of leadership to…well, lead. The literature on the subject indicates that the nature of the change is secondary to the perceptions that employees have regarding the ability, competence, and credibility of senior and middle management.
If you are to manage change effectively, you need to be aware that there are three distinct times zones where leadership is important. We can call these Preparing For the Journey, Slogging Through The Swamp, and After Arrival. We will look more carefully at each of these.
The Role of Leadership
In an organization where there is faith in the abilities of formal leaders, employees will look towards the leaders for a number of things. During drastic change times, employees will expect effective and sensible planning, confident and effective decision-making, and regular, complete communication that is timely. Also during these times of change, employees will perceive leadership as supportive, concerned and committed to their welfare, while at the same time recognizing that tough decisions need to be made. The best way to summarize is that there is a climate of trust between leader and the rest of the team. The existence of this trust, brings hope for better times in the future, and that makes coping with drastic change much easier.
In organizations characterized by poor leadership, employees expect nothing positive. In a climate of distrust, employees learn that leaders will act in indecipherable ways and in ways that do not seem to be in anyone’s best interests. Poor leadership means an absence of hope, which, if allowed to go on for too long, results in an organization becoming completely non-functioning. The organization must deal with the practical impact of unpleasant change, but more importantly, must labour under the weight of employees who have given up, have no faith in the system or in the ability of leaders to turn the organization around.
Leadership before, during and after change implementation is THE key to getting through the swamp. Unfortunately, if haven’t established a track record of effective leadership, by the time you have to deal with difficult changes, it may be too late.
It would be a mistake to assume that preparing for the journey takes place only after the destination has been defined or chosen. When we talk about preparing for the change journey, we are talking about leading in a way that lays the foundation or groundwork for ANY changes that may occur in the future. Preparing is about building resources, by building healthy organizations in the first place. Much like healthy people, who are better able to cope with infection or disease than unhealthy people, organization that are healthy in the first place are better able to deal with change.
As a leader you need to establish credibility and a track record of effective decision making, so that there is trust in your ability to figure out what is necessary to bring the organization through.
Leaders play a critical role during change implementation, the period from the announcement of change through the installation of the change. During this middle period the organization is the most unstable, characterized by confusion, fear, loss of direction, reduced productivity, and lack of clarity about direction and mandate. It can be a period of emotionalism, with employees grieving for what is lost, and initially unable to look to the future.
During this period, effective leaders need to focus on two things. First, the feelings and confusion of employees must be acknowledged and validated. Second, the leader must work with employees to begin creating a new vision of the altered workplace, and helping employees to understand the direction of the future. Focusing only on feelings, may result in wallowing. That is why it is necessary to begin the movement into the new ways or situations. Focusing only on the new vision may result in the perception that the leader is out of touch, cold and uncaring. A key part of leadership in this phase is to know when to focus on the pain, and when to focus on building and moving into the future.
In a sense you never completely arrive, but here we are talking about the period where the initial instability of massive change has been reduced. People have become less emotional, and more stable, and with effective leadership during the previous phases, are now more open to locking in to the new directions, mandate and ways of doing things.
This is an ideal time for leaders to introduce positive new change, such as examination of unwieldy procedures or Total Quality Management. The critical thing here is that leaders must now offer hope that the organization is working towards being better, by solving problems and improving the quality of work life. While the new vision of the organization may have begun while people were slogging through the swamp, this is the time to complete the process, and make sure that people buy into it, and understand their roles in this new organization.
Playing a leadership role in the three phases is not easy. Not only do you have a responsibility to lead, but as an employee yourself, you have to deal with your own reactions to the change, and your role in it. However, if you are ineffective in leading change, you will bear a very heavy personal load.
Since you are accountable for the performance of your unit, you will have to deal with the ongoing loss of productivity that can result from poorly managed change, not to mention the potential impact on your own enjoyment of your job.
Strategic Human Resource Management – An Overview
Strategic human resource management is a complex process which is constantly evolving and being studied and discussed by academics and commentators. Its definition and relationships with other aspects of business planning and strategy is not absolute and opinion varies between writers. The definitions below are from the CIPD book Strategic HRM: the key to improved business performance within which there is comprehensive coverage of the various definitions and approaches to HRM, strategy and strategic HRM.
Strategic HRM can be regarded as a general approach to the strategic management of human resources in accordance with the intentions of the organisation on the future direction it wants to take. It is concerned with longer-term people issues and macro-concerns about structure, quality, culture, values, commitment and matching resources to future need. It has been defined as:
All those activities affecting the behaviour of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement the strategic needs of business.
The pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable the forms to achieve its goals.
Strategic HRM can encompass a number of HR strategies. There may be strategies to deliver fair and equitable reward, to improve performance or to streamline structure. However, in themselves these strategies are not strategic HRM. Strategic HRM is the overall framework which determines the shape and delivery of the individual strategies.
Boxall and Purcell argue that strategic HRM is concerned with explaining how HRM influences organisational performance. They also point out that strategy is not the same as strategic plans. Strategic planning is the formal process that takes place, usually in larger organisations, defining how things will be done. However strategy exists in all organisations even though it may not be written down and articulated. It defines the organisation’s behaviour and how it tries to cope with its environment.
Strategic HRM is based on HRM principles incorporating the concept of strategy. So if HRM is a coherent approach to the management of people, strategic HRM now implies that that is done on a planned way that integrates organisational goals with policies and action sequences.
Strategic HRM and business strategy
A good business strategy, one which is likely to succeed, is informed by people factors. One of the driving factors behind the evaluation and reporting of human capital data is the need for better information to feed into the business strategy formulation process.
In the majority of organisations people are now the biggest asset. The knowledge, skills and abilities have to be deployed and used to the maximum effect if the organisation is to create value. The intangible value of an organisation which lies in the people it employs is gaining recognition by accountants and investors, and it is generally now accepted that this has implications for long term sustained performance.
It is therefore too simplistic to say that strategic human resource management stems from the business strategy. The two must be mutually informative. The way in which people are managed, motivated and deployed, and the availability of skills and knowledge, will all contribute to the shape of the strategy. It is now more common to find business strategies which are inextricably linked with and incorporated into strategic HRM, defining the management of all resources within the organisation.
Individual HR strategies may then be shaped by the business strategy. So if the business strategy is about improving customer service this may be translated into training plans or performance improvement plans.
Strategic HRM and human capital management
A number of writers have argued that strategic HRM and human capital management (HCM) are one and the same thing, and indeed the concept of strategic HRM matches that of the broader definition of HCM quite well as the following definition of the main features of strategic HRM by Dyer and Holder shows:
Organisational level – because strategies involve decisions about key goals, major policies and the allocation of resources they tend to be formulated at the top.
Focus – strategies are business-driven and focus on organisational effectiveness; thus in this perspective people are viewed primarily as resources to be managed toward the achievement of strategic business goals.
Framework – strategies by their very nature provide unifying frameworks which are at once broad, contingency-based and integrative. They incorporate a full complement of HR goals and activities designed specifically to fit extant environments and to be mutually reinforcing or synergistic.
This argument has been based on the fact that both HRM in its proper sense and HCM rest on the assumption that people are treated as assets rather than costs and both focus on the importance of adopting an integrated and strategic approach to managing people which is the concern of all the stakeholders in an organization not just the people management function. However, the concept of human capital management complements and strengthens the concept of strategic HRM rather than replaces it.
It does this by:
drawing attention to the significance of ‘management through measurement’, the aim being to establish a clear line of sight between HR interventions and organizational success
providing guidance on what to measure, how to measure and how to report on the outcomes of measurement
underlining the importance of using the measurements to prove that superior people management is delivering superior results and to indicate the direction in which HR strategy needs to go
reinforcing attention on the need to base HRM strategies and processes on the requirement to create value through people and thus further the achievement of organizational goals
defining the link between HRM and business strategy
strengthening the HRM belief that people are assets rather than costs
emphasising role of HR specialists as business partners
Hence both HCM and HRM can be regarded as vital components in the process of people management and both form the basis for achieving human capital advantage through a resource- based strategy.
An alternative way of looking at the relationship between strategic HRM and human capital is in terms of the conversion of human capital into organisational value. Human capital evaluation is useful in that it provides information about the current and potential capabilities of human capital to inform the development of strategy.
Business success will be achieve if the organisation is successful at managing this human capital to achieve this potential and embed it in products and services which have a market value.
Strategic HRM could therefore be viewed as the defining framework within which these evaluation, reporting and management process take place and ensure that they are iterative and mutually reinforcing. Human capital therefore informs and in turn is shaped by strategic HRM but it does not replace it.
Strategic HRM and business performance
Since the 1990’s CIPD and others have been generating evidence for the impact of people management practices on business performance. Much emphasis has been put on the importance of ‘fit’. In other words it is argued that HR strategies much fit both with each other and with other organisational strategies for maximum impact. The main areas of practice which all the researchers agreed have an impact on performance are around job design and skills development.
However, CIPD work found that practices alone do not create business performance. They can create ‘human capital’ or a set of individuals who are highly skilled, highly motivated and have the opportunity to participate in organisational life by being given jobs to do. However, this will only feed through into higher levels of business performance if these individuals have positive management relationships with their superiors in a supportive environment with strong values.
All these factors will promote ‘discretionary behaviour’, the willingness of the individual to perform above the minimum or give extra effort. It is this discretionary behaviour that makes the difference to organisational performance.
The ‘people and performance model’ generated from CIPD-sponsored work at Bath University6 emphasised the importance of individual HR strategies which must fit with each other operating in a strategic framework which incorporates both people and business issues.
It is useful for all organisations to management their people within a planned and coherent framework which reflect the business strategy.
They can ensure that the various aspects of people management are mutually reinforcing in developing the performance and behaviours necessary to achieve business success.
There is no single HRM strategy that will deliver success in all situations.
Organisations need to define a strategy which is unique to their own situation in terms of context, goals, and the demands of organisational stakeholders.
* summarised by the BSBM Tutor Team from an article on the CIPD website www.cipd.co.uk
Wharton management professor Witold Henisz has been studying political and social risk management for 15 years, focusing mainly on strategies of avoidance — i.e., better identification of risky places to do business, and then helping companies minimize their exposure to them.
Recently, he discovered a way to distinguish the payoff in engaging with these risky environments. What strategies did firms that decided to enter these markets follow? Why did some succeed and others fail?”
The term “stakeholders” in this context, says Henisz, includes everyone from local and national politicians and community leaders to priests, war lords, paramilitary groups, NGOs and international bodies like the World Bank. The term “stakeholder event” includes reported actions or expressions of sentiment from these groups that indicate cooperation with the mine owners, as well conflict with them. “At one extreme would be militia attacks on mines in the Congo. The other extreme would be groups in the Congo organizing to defend a mine from such an attack,” Henisz notes. Other events are far less extreme, such as peaceful protests by community leaders or demonstrations by environmental NGOs like Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Federation. The mines are so big, Henisz adds, that “whoever the politically relevant stakeholders in an area are, they often take sides because so much money and so many jobs are at stake.”
The researchers’ goal was to figure out what role these stakeholder events played in companies’ efforts to maximize profits. The answer: a very large role. As Henisz notes: “There is a powerful business case to win the hearts and minds of external stakeholders. We found in our research that the value of the relationship with politicians and community members is worth twice as much as the value of the gold that the 26 mines ostensibly control.”
To arrive at that conclusion, Henisz and his colleagues looked at the firms’ listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which requires each company to disclose enough data to calculate the net present value of their gold mine(s). The data includes audited information on gold reserves, what it will cost to get the gold out, what a mine’s fixed costs are and so forth. Based on these numbers, an estimate of what the gold from each mine is worth — and thus the market valuation of the parent company — should be easy to calculate, says Henisz. “But when you compare those two figures, it turns out that the companies trade at a 72% discount on average,” because the figure does not take into account the probability of delays or disruptions, and the cost overruns or revenue shortfalls that result.
Tracking the actions of media-relevant stakeholders allowed Henisz and his group to quantify the degree of cooperation and conflict for each mine, and come up with a single metric that served as an estimate of these likely delays and disruptions. They were thus able to improve the fit of the financial market valuation estimation of the 19 publicly traded parent firms. “By incorporating this metric in a market capitalization analysis that also includes macro-political level constraints on policy change, we reduce the discount placed by financial markets on the net present value of the gold controlled by these 19 firms from 72% down to between 33% and 12%,” the authors write in their paper.
The Need for a ‘Social License’
The Wharton research quantifies what a number of mining firms have already realized — that reducing conflict with external stakeholders in favor of winning their cooperation improves the companies’ chances that a business plan can proceed on budget and on time, and most importantly, generate sustainable shareholder value.
“Ironically, the very companies that were once pilloried for their lack of concern for anything but the short-term financial bottom line are now global leaders in the implementation of stakeholder engagement,” the authors note. “Their growing preference for operating mines under conditions of political and social support are also affecting small mining companies, which, motivated by their desire to eventually sell their operations to the majors, are increasingly acknowledging the need to obtain a ‘social license’ for their mining projects around the world.”
The researchers’ paper offers a succinct description of life in the mining industry: “Fifteen billion dollars of gold sitting in a mountainside cannot be transformed into [profits] with financial, engineering and marketing inputs alone. It also requires the political and social support of key stakeholders, including not only members of the economic value chain, but also government officials, regulators, community leaders and members of civil society. These stakeholders may reside locally, nationally or internationally…. They are able to … delay the opening of the mine, suspend its operations or so raise the cost of continued development or operations as to make the mine owner and operator choose to suspend or abandon it.”
A quote from a COO at one of the mines in the researchers’ sample puts it another way: “It used to be the case that the value of a gold mine was based on three variables; the amount of gold in the ground, the cost of extraction and the world price of gold,” he states. “Today, I can show you two mines identical on these three variables that differ in their valuation by an order of magnitude. Why? Because one has local support and the other doesn’t.”
Henisz and his colleagues studied the mining and oil and gas industries first because the nature of their products required companies to enter some of the riskiest areas in the world. “Several of them made every mistake possible and got completely burned. But then they learned,”
Henisz says. “Now, ironically, these industries that we think of as scorched-earth, environmentally devastating and uncaring are some of those at the forefront of sustainability and stakeholder engagement. Most multinationals in the world could learn a lot by studying what some mining companies are doing in Africa.”
According to Henisz, the research results are applicable to a number of other industries, including construction, oil and gas, agriculture, minerals, alternative energy and water — any sector that involves large building projects, substantial upfront investments and long payback periods. “Our findings are applicable wherever there is a project-based investment that can be delayed or disrupted and where people are worried about water supply, traffic patterns, environmental damage and so forth,” he says. Other examples would be a company about to construct a billion-dollar semiconductor plant or a retailer like Wal-Mart seeking approval for a big box store in the middle of a rural community.
Henisz has an answer for researchers who state that pure profit maximization — and the highest returns for shareholders — should be the only goal of public companies. “It’s not ‘either or,'” he notes. “If companies want to maximize their profits, there is a degree of stakeholder engagement that they have to undertake.” Those able to recognize the need for sophisticated stakeholder strategies, he adds, “will find this to be a source of competitive advantage.” As the head of sustainability for a major mining company recently said, “If a modern mining company thinks its competitive advantage is in mining, they are sadly mistaken.”
The implication is that “being good at sustainability will differentiate successful mining companies in the future” Henisz says.
He has compiled a list of best practices for businesses that are serious about engaging stakeholders.
First, he says, change the mind-set of the company so that employees across the board believe that stakeholders are important.
Second, get the necessary data to explain who the stakeholders are, what they want and who is connected to whom.
Third, find a way to link data to operating performance, integrating the information into risk management systems rather than treating it as a separate category.
Fourth, interact with stakeholders in the community in a genuine and fair manner; respond to their concerns and form connections rather than just writing a check.
And last, find a way to disseminate information about the on-going project that is credible and transparent.
As the researchers’ article states: While the importance of “the direct link between perceptions of social responsibility and market valuation will obviously vary enormously across industries and countries, we would argue … that its existence is ubiquitous. In short, the social license to operate is more than rhetoric. It is … empirically testable and strategically relevant. For these mining firms, pursuing cooperation from and minimizing conflict with stakeholders is not just corporate social responsibility, but enlightened self-interest.”
* published: July 20, 2011 in Knowledge@Wharton www.knowledgewharton.com
Study Resources of the Month
M Hitt, R Ireland, R Hoskisson: Strategic Management – Cengage Learning, 2011.
C Jayachandran et al: Business Clusters: Partnering for Strategic Advantage – Routledge India, 2011
G Haley, Tiong Tan: The Chinese Tao of Business: The Logic of Successful Business Strategy – Wiley/Kindle 2011
R Stacey: Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics – FT & Prentice Hall, 2010
H Mintzberg, B Ahlstrand, J Lampel: Strategy Safari: The Complete Guide – FT & Prentice Hall, 2008
P Findlay: Strategic Management: An Introduction to Business and Corporate Strategy – FT & Prentice Hall, 2000
Quotes from the Gurus
If you can’t describe your strategy on one page, simply and in plain language, you haven’t got a strategy. ‘But,’ people say, ‘I’ve got a complex strategy. It can’t be reduced to a page.’ That’s not a complex strategy – it’s a messy line of thinking that won’t work – Larry Bossidy
The real challenge in crafting strategy lies in detecting subtle discontinuities that may undermine a business in the future. And for that there is no technique, no program, just a sharp mind in touch with the situation – Henry Mintzberg
A great vision is needed, and you must follow it, as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky – Crazy Horse
In business, if you don’t have a righteous objective, eventually you will suffer. When you do the right thing for the right reason, the right result awaits – Chin-Ning Chu
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the quickest way to defeat – Sun Tzu
Useful Study Links