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1. Why strategic management is important?

You may feel that strategic management and managing strategically have little to do with you. However, one of the assumptions we make is that everyone in an organization plays a role in managing strategically. Because life after school for most of you means finding a job in order to have an income, this means you'll be working for some organization, even if you choose to start your own business, managing strategically is important. The very fact that you'll be working in some organization of some size and type means you'll need to manage strategically. Thus, understanding what this means and how you can be a more effective and efficient strategic decision maker is important for you personally so that your work performance will be valued and rewarded accordingly. But, in addition, the practice of strategic management is important for other reasons that pertain more directly to the organization. One of the most significant reasons it's important to understand strategic management is that whether an organization's employees manage strategically does appear to make a difference in how well the organization performs. The most fundamental in strategy are why do firms succeed or fail, and why do firms have varying levels of performance? These questions have influenced what strategic management researchers have studied over the years. In other words, it appears that organizations that use strategic management concepts and techniques do have higher levels of performance. If it impacts the organization's performance, that would appear to be a pretty important reason to know something about strategic management and managing strategically 2. When a corporation needs to reinvent itself, the change that needs to occur should be purposeful. Trying to decide how to change and what to change can be just as frustrating as the actual change. The process of strategic change management involves developing an innovative vision for where the company needs to be, and then developing and equally innovative path for achieving the goal. Sound like a lot of hype? Truly, it is not. No one wants to have change just for the sake of doing things differently. It needs to make sense with the direction the company is trying to move in. A reasonable pathway toward the goals needs to be determined and embarked upon by all the people in a company in a choreographed manner. 3. Take for instance a bakery that has had a steady decline in sales. The first step is to decide what caused the decline. As the employees brainstorm and decide that the customer base wants, more healthy choices in addition to the standard bakery fare the beginnings of a strategic change plan form. In order to provide healthier food choices many things have to occur. What foods will be offered must be decided. How will they be prepared, who will prepare them, what type of daily inventory needs to be kept, what types of packaging are needed and the list goes on and on. In order to manage all of the steps a well thought out plan must be developed. This is the basis of strategic change management.

4. The purpose of this article is to discuss the major elements of the strategic management process. Included will be discussion of each major step in the process, along with insights, issues that need to be addressed, and questions that need to be asked. The strategic management process is made up of four elements: situation analysis, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and strategy evaluation. These elements are steps that are performed, in order, when developing a new strategic management plan. Existing businesses that have already developed a strategic management plan will revisit these steps as the need arises, in order to make necessary changes and improvements. Strategic planning and management are more than a set of managerial tools. They constitute a mind-set, an approach to looking at the changes in the internal and external environment that confront the manager. Using planning and management tools strategically, then, involves essentially a way of thinking, a mental framework or approach, as well as a set of analytic tools. For strategic management to be effectively used the manager must develop a strategic mentality or outlook. The problem for the consultant is how to help the manager acquire that mentality. The tasks of crafting and executing company strategies are the heart and soul of managing a business enterprise and winning in the marketplace. A company's strategy is the game plan management is using to stake out a market position, conduct its operations, attract and please customers, compete successfully, and achieve organizational objectives. The central thrust of a company's strategy is undertaking moves to build and strengthen the company's long-term competitive position and financial performance and, ideally, gain a competitive advantage over rivals that then becomes a company's ticket to above-average profitability. A company's strategy typically evolves over time, emerging from a blend of (1) proactive and purposeful actions on the part of company managers and (2) as-needed reactions to unanticipated developments and fresh market conditions. 5. Closely related to the concept of strategy is the concept of a company's business model. A company's business model is management's story line for how and why the company's product offerings and competitive approaches will generate a revenue stream and have an associated cost structure that produces attractive earnings and return on investmentin effect, a company's business model sets forth the economic logic for making money in a particular business, given the company's current strategy. 6. A winning strategy fits the circumstances of a company's external situation and its internal resource strengths and competitive capabilities, builds competitive advantage, and boosts company performance. Crafting and executing strategy are core management functions. Whether a company wins or loses in the marketplace is directly attributable to the caliber of that company's strategy and the proficiency with which the strategy is executed.

Companies that devote time and resources exclusively on day-to-day operations can suffer over the long term by not working toward strategies that will drive new products, accelerate sales, increase market share and ultimately add to revenues and profits. Far from a theoretical exercise, effective corporate strategy represents a necessary step in any company's growth and is the product of careful planning by the board of directors, CEO and senior managers.

REFFERENCES

Sources: 1. F.W.Gluck, S. Kaufman and A.S. Walleck, "The Four Phases of Strategic Management", Journal of Business Strategy, Winter 1982 Published by jerry spencer 2. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4892760 By Eric Douglas Platinum Author | 83 Articles Joined: August 18, 2009 3. Coulter, M. (2005). Strategic Management in Action. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. 4. Hill, C.W.L. and Jones, G.R. (1995): Strategic Management Theory: AnIntegrated Approach, 3rd ed., Houghton Mifflin 5. Johnson, G. and Scholes, K. (2002): Exploring Corporate Strategy, 6th ed.,Prentice Hall. 6.Crosby, Benjamin L. 1991. Strategic Planning and Strategic Management: Note No1.Published by the Implementing Policy Change Project, Management Systems International, Inc., for the US Agency for International Development.