Organizations are propelled into the future unknown world through visions. These visions need not be just dreams. They should be implementable. It is perhaps with such a realization that concepts of strategic management have been deployed by various organizations across the globe for now turning to four decades.
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In the most basic sense, a strategy is a “road map or guide by which an organization moves from a current state of affairs to a future desired state” (Collins & Jerry, 1996, p.65).
However, the most fundamental concept underlying strategic management is that, a strategy is not just supposed to form the template from which the daily operational decisions are made but also incorporate platforms for long term plans. It also needs to form an umbrella within which plans and actions are built.
This way, an organization is capacitated to orient itself consistently with its operational environmental dynamics in an endeavor to make its maximum potential a dream come true.
This is why perhaps environmental scanning is critical while laying out a strategic plan. This paper restricts itself to the scrutiny of strategic implementation, controls and contingency plans. For this purpose, World Wide technologies (WWT) company serves as a case example.
The strategic plan steps may be laid out hierarchically. However, when it comes to the implementation, the planning aspect cannot be segregated from the implementation element. What this undoubtedly means is that every step of the planning part requires some extent of implementation as a prerequisite for the next stage.
As Plenert (2002) reckons, “all implementation cannot be postponed until completion of the plan… implementation procedures specific to each phase of planning must be completed during that phase in order for the next stage to commence” (p.23). This is what management scholars refer to as continuous implementation of strategic plans.
Worldwide Technologies (WWT) is perhaps one of the companies that have established a myriad of strategic partnerships with various other companies right from the innovations of the new technologies to trading of the technologies.
As Istockanalyst (2011) reckons, “World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT) is a system integrator that provides innovative technology and supply chain solutions to the commercial, government and telecom sectors” (Para 7).
In its strategic plans formulation, planning and implementation, it ensures that the strategic plans are oriented with its objectives. According to Istockanalyst (2011), these objects entangle to “bring to market a powerful blend of knowledge, infrastructure and technology to help its customers manage the planning, procurement and deployment of IT products and solutions” (Para 7).
WWT acts in a central position. It monitors and controls its services provided by the technology strategic partners such as Sony and Microsoft among other partners such as Savvis who help in the availing of these services to the ultimate consumers.
In this context, management controls are imposed to function as frameworks of control as dictated by the strategic plans and projected in their subsequent implementations.
Within the WWT management protocols, the objectives or rather the standards, are deployed in the significant subsystems within the integrals of the organization among them the products, functions, responsibility centers and more importantly the future projects.
Somewhat crucial in the control spheres is the systems of operational controls. With respect to Barnat (2005), “Operational control systems are designed to ensure that day-to-day actions are consistent with established plans and objectives” (Para 6).
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Additionally, within the control sphere, cost, quality of the products and residual incomes needs reflected by the control systems in the endeavor to reflect daily operations capacity to profile the preset objectives. More importantly, tasks and tasks ownership deserve to be given an impeccable embracement within the inner cores of the implementation process.
Embracing the functional tactics becomes then critical especially in attempts to reconcile the gaps between the actual performance and the established strategic plans. Corrective action is also thus critical to the implementation process of the strategic plans.
As may be evidenced by the WWT strategic management approaches the “Corrective action is taken where performance does not meet standards. This action may involve training, motivation, leadership, discipline, or termination” (Barnat, 2005, Para 5). This entails the critical action items in the strategic plan implementation process.
The implementation plan embraces setting limitation or rather the constraints that must be accomplished within established time lines. A strategic plan is, in fact, analogous or better put a project from a business management sense.
Consequently, it subject to operation within the characteristics of projects. Some of these traits are time constraints and presetting of milestones and deadlines that must be accomplished both in theory and practice if the project is to be termed as viable. According to Barnat, “each organizational problem requires a specific allocation of resources” (2005, Para. 15).
Time is one of the resources that are scarce and thus need used optimally. Additionally, management in general embraces bargaining models to realize its objectives. In this respect “The bargaining model presumes that an organization is a cooperative, sometimes competitive, resource distributing system” (Barnat, 2005, Para 16).
Competitiveness in the allocation of resources is enhanced through strategies constituting costs reduction in relation to the anticipated returns to the investments, as evidenced by WWT strategic plans embracing outsourcing and formation of strategic partnership with its tools of trade providers.
In this context, Collins and Jerry (1996) reckon, “Decisions, problems and goals are more useful when shared by a greater number of people with each decision-maker bargaining with other groups for scarce resources, which are vital in solving problems and meeting goals” (p.87).
The proclaimed goals here refer to the aims and objectives of an organization as stipulated in the action plans and items. These action plans are dictated by the established strategic plans and spelt out in the implementation plan procedures.
While still following through the WWT strategic plan approaches as a case example, it is also vital to look at essential organizational change management strategies that would enhance successful implementation of its strategic plans. Perhaps one of the vital re-orientation is the incorporation of concepts of value assessment in the formulation of the strategic plans.
As Camillus (1999) reckons, “all business decisions are fundamentally based on some set of values, whether they are personal or organizational values “(p.65).
Arguably, given the precedence that the chief purpose of the strategic plans is founded on the foundation of provisions of an impeccable day-to-day operational guide as a vital component in aiding in the decision making process, then the strategic plan deserve to be consistent with the organizational or the personal values.
Values assessment entangles “an in-depth analysis of several elements including personal values, organizational values, operating philosophy, organization culture, and stakeholders” (Camillus, 1999, p.87).
Incorporation of these perspectives in the strategic plan implementation process has the widely desired effect of enabling the management team charged with the planning to have an ample check on both macro and micro functionalities of the entire organization.
Since “Strategic planning that does not integrate values assessment into the process is sure to encounter severe implementation and functionality problems if not outright failure” (Collins & Jerry, 1996, p.86), value assessment is critical for an organization, which desires their strategic plan implementation to produce subtle fruits. WWT is perhaps well aware of this.
In the strategic plan implementation, some key success factors are given an ardent introspection. Some of these factors include, but not limited to, budgets, forecasted financials that comprise the break-even analysis charts among others.
As noted by Barnat (2005), “while capital budgeting systems can respond to requests for resources that are consistent with the accepted strategic plan, the period between formal comprehensive strategic planning exercises can give rise to unanticipated changes in the environment or unexpected internal crises” (Para. 25).
Budgeting thus becomes a critical component in the formulation of the strategic plans within an organization. Fortunately, whether WWT or any other organization budgeting is given careful attention in every organizational project.
On a different account, Camillus (1999) notes that “In order for an organization to meet its financial and performance goals, the actions of all groups, departments, functional levels, and individuals must support strategic plans” (p.99).
This way, an organization can match the managerial decisions with the established strategies: something that constitutes an essential element for ensuring cute implementation of strategic plans with an organization of which WWT success in strategic plans may speak volumes.
TR- Total Revenue
TVC-Total Variable Cost
TFC-Total Fixed Cost
Break-even analysis is critical in forecasting the financials of an organization since it gives an indication of necessary time in which the proposed strategies costs would match the revenues arising because of their implementation. Here, the most preferred strategy is the one that would take minimal time to break even.
Risks, both in terms of finance or failure of adopted strategies to yield fruits as expected, are essential for incorporation in the strategic plans of an organization. A risk management plan taking the form of contingency plans is essential. “The key to contingency planning is to establish a reactionary plan for high impact events that cannot necessarily be anticipated” (Barney, 2007, p.68).
The things that the contingency plans deserve to identify include indicators deemed essential for creation of awareness of urgency to initiate a re-evaluation and the applicability tests of both efficacy and effectiveness of the strategies trailed by the organization at the current implementation stage.
When the risks are identified, the contingency plans need to give an alert to the implementation team to conduct a thorough monitoring, and where vital take appropriate corrective action to the derailing plans.
In conclusion, upon defining where an organization is, where it is anticipated to be in future and a thorough scrutiny of the environmental dynamics, the management thinks of the strategic plan implementation coupled with its corollary elements such as strategic controls and contingency plans.
At this milestone, the strategic plans acquire some physical as opposed to theoretical meaning. In fact, the paper has restricted itself to the scrutiny of strategic implementation, controls and contingency plans. This is achieved by deployment of the World Wide Technologies Company as a case example.
In this endeavor, subtle elements like implementation plan: Objectives, Functional tactics, Action items, Milestones and a deadline, tasks and task ownership and Resource allocation are explored.
The paper also has looked into any required organizational change management strategies that would enhance successful implementation coupled with Key success factors such budget, and forecasted financials, including a break-even chart and risk management plan including contingency plans for the identified risks.
Barnat, R. (2005) Strategic Management: Management Control. Web.
Barney, J. (2007). Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Camillus, J. (1999). Putting Strategy to Work. Quarterly Journal on Management, 2(4), 61-105.
Collins, J., & Jerry, I. (1996). Building Your Company’s Vision. Harvard Business Review, 32(5), 65–90.
Istockanalyst. (2011). Worldwide Technology Enters Strategic Partnership with Savvis. Web.
Plenert, G. (2002) International Operations Management. Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press.