What is Strategy?
We hear the term strategy almost every day in some context or the other. Business leaders lay out their strategies for the years ahead and military generals speak of strategy to contain and conquer the enemy. Even as individuals, we often use the term strategy to describe a set of actions that we would take to control the future and arrive at outcomes that are beneficial to us. Hence, strategy is an integral part of our world and it can be defined as a general, un-detailed plan of action, encompassing a long period to arrive at a complicated goal. It is also defined as the set of actions to realize intent as a ploy, part of a plan. It follows from these definitions that strategy and strategizing involve drawing up plans to arrive at a predetermined goal.
What is Strategic Management?
We have defined strategy. Turning to strategic management, it can be said that the term refers to the management of strategy by having dedicated, detailed, and descriptive plans of actions that form the strategy. It is also the field in management thought that deals with planning, executing, controlling, and closing out the strategic moves.
If a firm has a strategy in place to realize its targeted revenues and profits, the management of the process by which it hopes to realize its goals falls under strategic management. An ongoing process evaluates different sets of strategies, assesses competitor moves, sets goals and targets, and actualizes the feedback loop to incorporate learning’s into its strategies. Indeed, it can be said that strategic management identifies the purpose of the firm and helps organize the plans and actions to actualize the purpose. By definition, it is a long-term process and it is the business function that is considered the repository of the firm’s future.
Strategy/Strategic Management and their place in the Firm
The previous sections have discussed how strategy and strategy management are integral to the success of the firm. In any organization, strategic management is a level of managerial activity that is below setting goals but above tactical planning. Strategic management in a firm is thus concerned with the future direction that the firm takes and hence, it is an important function of management.
Typically, the corporate planning function in any organization draws up the strategies and sometimes-outside help from management consultants is sought in this regard. In recent years, it has become the norm in the corporate world for the senior management to get actively involved in the formulation of strategy.
Hence, it can be said that strategic management is no longer the important function but has become the most important function. This has happened because of the uncertain and unpredictable world that we live which has resulted in organizations scrambling to devise ways and means of controlling future outcomes. In this regard alone, strategic management has become a valuable function without which no organization can hope to succeed in the turbulent marketplace.