Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Strategic Planning & Organizational Change

As I read Keith McFarland’s “Should You Build Strategy Like You Build Software?” I came across many similarly discussed concepts as what I’ve learned about in my Organizational Change course. A good majority of our readings have corresponding to many of the concepts highlighted in Organizational Change, although the purposes are somewhat different. This reading, however, corresponded well with articles and cases we recently went over in Organizational Change.

In most change situation, there is initiation of a new strategic direction (or, even, a strengthening of a current strategy) and the implementation of a vision. One of McFarland’s points in his article is that “Strategy development should be optimized for two important outcomes: surfacing the best ideas for improving the company’s current and future market positions; and ensuring that individuals throughout the organization have access to the latest version, so that what people do every day is aligned with the most important strategic insights.” [1] In order to meet these outcomes, communication among management and staff must be open. As in change management, effective communication of the vision is essential for a strategy to gain traction and take full effect. When everyone is made fully aware of the strategy and vision, better results should be seen quickly as everyone is aware of what needs to be done.
McFarland talks about Shamrock Foods Co. as an example in his article. He made mention of the company’s quarterly strategy process that involved members meeting away from the office to talk about company performance in comparison to its action plans for the previous quarter. [1] There is a similar reflection period that Lufthansa undertakes. [2] One of their change lessons spawned the idea for taking a “time out” to allow for proper and adequate reflection and discussion. This way, a Lufthansa could move forward with a project and not make rash, “panicky” decisions in times of change.
Also, as a side note, I find it interesting that McFarland compares strategic planning to the software industry. Nowadays especially, I feel that the spiral model of software development would prove useful in a multitude of organizations that, at least to my knowledge, are not utilizing this approach in their strategic planning. As we’ve discussed in class, markets are becoming increasingly global and companies need a strategic planning approach that will allow them to shift focus in an ever changing and increasing market. I think the largest challenge in adopting this type of a strategic planning method is always ensuring that all staff members are up to date on the current iterations of the strategy. Communication may already be an issue for an organization, so it seems that any communication barriers must be removed prior to effectively adopting this strategic planning approach.
[1] McFarland, K. R. (2008). Should You Build Strategy Like You Build Software? MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2008.
[2] Bruch, H. & Sattelberger, T. (2001). Lufthansa’s Transformation Marathon: Process of Liberating and Focusing Change Energy. Human Resource Management, Fall 2001.

1 comment:

  1. Great information.Thanks for sharing this useful information about Organisational Change Management . A key element of Change Management is effective stakeholder engagement....etc

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