Strategic Management


Strategic management is the set of decisions and actions that result in the formulation and implementation of plans designed to achieve a company’s objectives. It comprises nine critical tasks:

  1. Formulate the company’s mission, including broad statements about its purpose, philosophy, and goals.
  2. Conduct an analysis that reflects the company’s internal conditions and capabilities.
  3. Assess the company’s external environment, including both the competitive and the general contextual factors.
  4. Analyze the company’s options by matching its resources with the external environment.
  5. Identify the most desirable options by evaluating each option in light of the company’s mission.
  6. Select a set of long-term objectives and grand strategies that will achieve the most desirable options.
  7. Develop annual objectives and short-term strategies that are compatible with the selected set of long-term objectives and grand strategies.
  8. Implement the strategic choices by means of budgeted resource allocations in which the matching of tasks, people, structures, technologies, and reward systems is emphasized.
  9. Evaluate the success of the strategic process as an input for future decision-making.

As these nine tasks indicate, strategic management involves the planning, directing, organizing, and controlling of a company’s strategy-related decisions and actions.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Organization Structure and Innovations


Organizational structure fulfils many functions—everyone in the organization knows who he or she reports to; how various repetitive/routine activities are to be discharged; who has what authority and responsibility; how personnel are grouped together (e.g., by departments or divisions); which individuals/groups have decision-making authority and which have primarily advisory functions (line versus staff functions); and what mechanisms are deployed primarily for reducing decision-making uncertainty, for ensuring differentiated or specialized responses to the operating environment, and for coordinating and integrating these differentiated or specialized responses. A well-designed structure that is compatible with strategy or is internally coherent and compatible with the organization’s operating environment tends to contribute to superior organizational performance.

Can organizational structure facilitate innovations? Possibly. Relatively flat managerial hierarchy and extensive decentralization or delegation of authority, including extensive use of profit centers and SBUs.

Certain kinds of structural changes, notably creating many self-contained, substantially autonomous units with stretch targets, extensive delegation of authority to lower level decision-makers, and delayering (removal of some of the managerial levels to reduce the number of approving authorities for innovation)  may increase the potential innovations of the organization.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Ideal-Candidate Profile


You don’t have the time or the resources to evaluate every applicant who strolls in. to guide your work, you should develop a profile of your “ideal” candidate. You may never find your ideal, but you will establish a basic framework that outlines the person you are looking for.

Developing an ideal candidate profile is similar to viewing a lineup of suspects after you’ve witnessed a bank robbery. The individual you pick out may not be the actual bank robber, but chances are the real criminal is strongly similar. Often, a lineup helps police establish the silhouette or basic framework of the person being sought. The police is clear even if the details are not. Likewise, your ideal candidate profile will give you a sharper idea of what you are really looking for, so that you can increase your odds of finding him or her.

Use the following outline to develop of profile of your ideal candidate:

  1. Must have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Skills or talents
    • Education
  1. Should have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Education
  1. Would be nice to have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Skills or talents
    • Education

Be specific when you draft your outline. If you want someone with strong follow-up skills, say so. If you want an assertive person who can handle high stress, say so. To create a good match between job and candidate, you need to define the person as closely as you define the job.

Keep your company culture in mind, too. If your company is team-oriented and flexible, you want a candidate who is comfortable with teamwork—and not everyone is. If your department is highly structured, you want someone who works well in a structured situation. Describe the qualities that your company values so that you can find compatible candidates.

Just remember that defining the candidate is a lot like shopping for groceries: the more you toss into your shopping cart, the more you’ll pay. The cost of filling a job is influenced by two factors: how long it takes to find the candidate, and the supply of qualified candidates. The greater the number of must have items on your list, the longer it’s going to take to find that person. The greater the experience, skills, or education requirements, the smaller the supply of candidates and the larger the compensation package required to hire the person.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Intranets


Not all Websites are available to anyone cruising the Net. Some are reserved for the private use of a single company’s employees and stakeholders. An intranet uses the same technologies as the Internet and the World Wide Web, but the information provided and the access allowed are restricted to the boundaries of a company-wide LAN or WAN. In some cases, suppliers, distribution partners, and key customers may also have access, but intranets are protected from unauthorized access through the Internet by a firewall, a special type of gateway that controls access to the local network. People on an intranet can get out to the Internet, but unauthorized people on the Internet cannot get in.

Possibly the biggest advantage of an intranet is that it eliminates the problem of employees’ using different types of computers within a company. On an Intranet, all information is available in a format compatible with Macintosh, PC, UNIX-based computers. The need to publish internal documents on paper is virtually eliminated because everyone can access the information electronically.

Besides saving paper, an intranet can save a company money in the form of employee hours. Employees can find information much faster and more easily by using a well-designed database on an intranet than by digging through a filing cabinet or card catalog. Some of the communication uses companies have for intranets include updating policy manuals, posting job openings and submitting job applications, accessing martketing and sales presentations from anywhere in the world, updating and managing employee benefits, accessing company records and databases, collaborating from anywhere in the  world to develop new products, scheduling meetings, setting up company phone directories, and publishing company newsletters. In fact, just about any information that can help employees communicate is a good candidate for an intranet. As video and audio technologies progress, you can expect to see more multimedia applications on intranets as well.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Barriers to Team Progress


  • Insufficient training. Teams cannot be expected to perform unless they are trained in problem-solving techniques, group dynamics, and communication skills.
  • Incompatible rewards and compensation. In general, organizations make little effort to reward team performance. Because of a strong focus on individual rewards it is difficult for individuals to buy into the team concept. Similarly, performance appraisals do not accept input from peers or team members.
  • First-line supervisor resistance. Supervisors are reluctant to give up power, confident that they can do the work better and faster, are concerned about job security, and are ultimately held responsible.
  • Lack of planning. A lack of common direction or alignment on the use of collaborative efforts, internal competition, redundancy, and fragmented work processes all prevent team progress.
  • Lack of management support. Management must provide the resources and “buy into” the quality council/sponsor system.
  • Access to information systems. Teams need access to organizational information such as business performance, competitive performance, financial data, and so forth.
  • Lack of union support. Organizations need union support for the team to be successful.
  • Project scope too large. The team and organization are not clear on what is reasonable, or management is abdicating its responsibility to guide the team.
  • Project objectives are not significant. Management has not defined what role the team will play in the organization.
  • No clear measures of success. The team is not clear about its charter and goals.
  • No time to do improvement work. Values and beliefs of the organization are not compatible with the team’s work. Individual departmental politics interfere with the team’s progress. Management has not given the team proper resources.
  • Team is too large. The organization lacks methods for involving people in ways other than team membership.
  • Trapped in groupthink. Team members all have a mind-set that no actions are taken until everyone agrees with every decision.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Transformation Checklist


  • Does your company have a vision of a flatter and more flexible form of organization?
  • Is there a corporate-wide transformation program in place to  bring it about?
  • Does it address winning business and the creation of value, ‘know-how,’ opportunities and new ventures?
  • Does the program embrace facilitating skills, enabling processes and supporting technology?
  • Is it designed to influence attitudes by changing behavior?
  • How disruptive will it be of short-term customer relationship?
  • What will be done to retain the commitment of those who may be disadvantaged at a particular stage in the change process?
  • How committed is top management to achieving the transformation?
  • How this commitment been communicated?
  • Do the managers of the organization, and particularly the senior managers, behave as role models?
  • Have all the requirements for a successful transformation been identified?
  • What ‘building blocks’ or ‘pieces of the jigsaw puzzle’ might be missing?
  • In particular, are the necessary enablers in place, and have skill requirements been addressed?
  • Is it clear to the people of the organization that the program has been thought through?
  • Is the reward system compatible with the changes that are being sought?
  • Have likely obstacles and barriers been identified, and are programs in place to deal with them?

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Manage for Consistency


Most companies would prefer to grow steadily at a healthy rate rather than doubling in size one year and losing money the next. No one can manage this kind of schizophrenia effectively with any long-term success, and no one should try. Next to profitability, the most important goal a company should strive for is consistency.

If flexibility is the means, then consistency—of performance and growth—is the end. This sounds like something of a contradiction. If one is being flexible how can one be consistent? In fact, not only are they compatible, but a flexible, responsive management virtually guarantees consistency. It is inflexibility that causes erratic behavior. A company goes on for too long adhering to all the old rules and outdated modes of performance. Then one morning someone wakes up, panics, overreacts, and throws out all the rules. That can make people nuts.

To manage consistently you have to behave consistently. Even if people don’t like what you are saying, they still want to know where you are coming from.

Inconsistency in management breeds all sorts of unnecessary anxieties in the people being managed. There are enough legitimate anxieties in business without adding to them by not letting people know where you are coming from.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight