The focus of the readings this week was on the core elements of strategic planning. If there was one big takeaway to be had it would be that formal and rigid strategy done without a central purpose is in vain unless tied to that company’s particular identity and credo and all actions must be legitimized internally as well as externally. The article Building Your Company’s Vision explored this by emphasizing the concept of core ideology, which is further broken down into core values and core purpose. Core values refer to the guiding principles that dictate a company’s actions whereas core purpose represents the company’s fundamental reason for being. While strategies and leaders may change, these principles and purpose remain immutable and often end up defining a company. One example of this would be Disney’s focus on its workers as “imagineers” or its purpose to make people happy. Through this identity of dreaming and innovation it’s able to broaden its focus past animation and merchandising and cast a wider net. Core ideology isn’t something that can be manufactured so much as realized. It’s an identity that draws others with similar views to your product or company because they identify with its ideology and goals. Core ideology is similar to a company’s culture only more inclusive because it extends to the consumer. Consumers may be drawn to a particular company because it demonstrates values that they similar place weight on, just as a company pursuing practices that the consumer might not approve of can lead to a boycott.
In addition to having a core ideology, a strategy is important for any organization. Unlike ideology, strategy can change and sometimes it does quite often depending on the business. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy explored how in order to determine which strategy to pursue, businesses must consider how far they can predict and how well they can influence market factors. From there, depending on how predictable the market is or how influential the business is on said market, numerous options can be pursued. That being said, one strategic route won’t remain the best option for a business at all times. Businesses need to be able to realize when they need to embrace a new planning style in order to survive. In addition to knowing when to rework strategy, it’s important to figure out exactly who should be involved. The Real Value of Strategic Planning states that meetings should attempt to have the people most essential, while trying to keep the number relatively low. Meetings should also provide an agenda and materials a week in advance so participants can familiarize themselves. Asides from this though, rigidity and adherence to rules for rules’ sake should be avoided. Processes should be justified and rollout of new ones should be gradual and adapted as they’re implemented.
In strategic planning, legitimacy is key. This applies both to how a company presents its ideology to outsiders or how it presents its plans to its employees.