Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Leadership, Timing, or Strategic Plan? What Strategy will You Choose?

By: Lauren Selleck
A prosperous company is one which has formed a strategy that takes into account the customer, the gaps, has a review process and much more [1]. Organizations create strategies in many different ways from Dolon and Walmer’s four-step process to the classical approach [1]. These different approaches allow companies to meet their market in unique ways while growing. Not only is it important that organizations have a solid strategy to base their road map on, but also become imperative when choosing the timing of implementation and also in aiding in the choice of a leader.

In Donald Sull’s article “Competing Through Organizational Agility” he gives many examples of how timing is critical to economic success. The best strategies can be in place, but without the right timing they can have tragic effects. Carnival waited until years after entering the cruise market before investing in more boats [2]. This strategic timing allowed for maximum profits and market share. Apple waited until the timing was right before introducing the iPod, which was a hugely successful disruptive technology, to the market to help sustain their organization [2]. It is difficult, especially in the current market, to wait for the moment to implement change or invest, but a decision that can yield significant reward. Companies who have knowledge and are financially stable have the ability to be patient to wait for their big break, but good leadership can also help make the right decisions [2].

Herrmann, Komm, and Smit combine the McKinsey granular-growth database and a database by Egon Zehnder International to observe the link between organizational growth and leadership [3]. They found that the top scorers, which are far and few between, lead their companies to the highest growth financially and economically [3]. While these leaders are hard to find an organization merely needs to align their needs with leadership strengths. For example, if an organization is looking to perform better they should find a leader who has strength in customer focus [3].

Having a solid strategic plan that is lead by leader with aligned skills and good timing can make or break a company. Each piece is important to the organizational puzzle, but which part would cause the most harm to miscalculate?

[1] Donlon, Barnaby S., and Zack Walmer. "Does Your Organization Have the Capabilities to Execute Its Strategy?" Balanced Scorecard Report 13.6 (2011): 11-16. Print.

[2] Sull, Donald. "Competing Through Organizational Agility." McKinsey Quarterly (2010): n. pag. Print.

[3] Herrmann, Katharina, Asmus Komm, and Sven Smit. "Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?" McKinsey Quarterly (2011): n. pag. Print.


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