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The Importance of Strategy

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The Importance of Strategy
Most corporations would purport to have a well defined strategy which they have developed to take their business forward. Often however strategy is confused with operational planning, planning focused on delivering a more effective outcome for the business as it exists and not about positioning the company for the future. So widgets are made with ever increasing efficiency until the time comes when no one wants widgets like the company makes them any longer and a once proud company is consumed by its wily competitor or ceases to exist. Strategy is about planning to reach a vision which differentiates a company from its competitors in a positive way. It encompasses overall direction as well as the many detailed activities that occur in a company. Strategic success generally depends on possessing an enlightened and unique vision as well as doing the many things needed to achieve the vision well. If one focuses too much on the activities often the vision is lost, likewise if the focus on the vision is too intense then the operational matters are neglected resulting in across the board problems in personnel, quality, poor productivity, and so on. Indeed, ask any manager to define his or her idea of strategy and one will invariably be given a raft of answers as the person struggles to differentiate between corporate strategy and operational planning. Thus whilst one may be given the answer that the “corporate strategy” is to improve quality over a 2 year period to such and such a standard, the answer one is getting relates not to strategy but to an operational plan. Indeed over the past decade, many companies have greatly improved their production performance by implementing operational plans that have reduced inefficiencies, improved quality and greatly enhanced productivity. All these things increase competitiveness but they do so on the same…...

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