In the Module 1 SLP, you will be considered a Strategic Management subject matter expert and will be asked to blog about important aspects of the Strategic management process and to provide examples to support your key arguments using current events pulled from a recent article from reputable sources (such as a trade journals, newspapers, or magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Business Week, or Forbes).
For the Module 1 SLP, find a recent article that provides an example of an organization that appears to be successful (or that has been unsuccessful) in fulfilling its Mission, Vision, Values, or goals.
Hint: Visit either ProQuest or EBSCO-Business Source Complete in the library. Type in “Mission Statements,” OR “Vision Statements” OR “Values Statements” OR “Goals” in the boxes provided. Then, click on “Subject” in the pull-down menu bar next to each. Be sure to click on “Trade Journals,” “Newspapers,” and/or “Magazines”. You will find plenty of sources from which to choose.
Your main article(s) for your blog entry must be no older than 12 months. You may, of course, use older sources to support your discussion and analysis, however, the current event article serving as the main focus of your paper must be no more than 12 months old.
Remember that you are playing the role of a business expert who is blogging in the context of Strategic Management. The key here is to convey to the public the importance of the Mission, Vision, and/or Values statements or organizational goals in a Strategic Management context. You will need to provide examples of an organization that has done particularly well (or one that has done poorly) in fulfilling its stated Mission, Vision, or Values statements, or its goals.
Your SLP assignment should be a minimum of 2-3 pages in length.
You are required to use APA formatting and you are required to cite and reference your sources. There should be a minimum of two reputable sources cited and referenced in your paper.
All additional readings referenced within the Background pages of the course may be found in the online library—unless a link has been provided to another source.
In this course, we will be using the Mastering Strategic Management text authored by Dave Ketchen and Jeremy Short of the University of Minnesota. The Attribution–NonCommercial–ShareAlike license for use of this text may be viewed here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/…. No changes have been made to the text. The Mastering Strategic Management text may be downloaded in PDF, Kindle, e-pub, or .mobi format at the following website: http://www.oercommons.org/courses/mastering-strate…
Introduction: The Strategic Management Process
In this initial module of the course, we will begin our study of Strategic Management with an overview of the steps in the process. Let’s begin here by defining what is meant by “Strategic Management” and “strategy.”
Read Section 1.2 of the Mastering Strategic Management text. Note the key question: “Why do some firms outperform other firms?” Strategic Management is a formal series of steps that an organization can use in determining its optimal future direction. In this capstone course, we will examine the Strategic Management process by module as follows:
In Module 1 of the course, we will begin with the Mission, Vision, and Values statements. We will also learn how organizational goals are used to operationalize the broad strategies selected by the organization.
In Module 2, you will use everything you learned in your previous courses (i.e., Accounting, Finance, Operations Management, Marketing, and Human Resources, among others) to evaluate an organization’s internal functional areas, and to discover the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, we will evaluate the environment that is external to the organization. In any given industry, any number of opportunities and threats exist within the external environment. The organization must find ways to minimize its internal weaknesses. Concurrently, the organization must use its internal strengths to neutralize environmental threats to the extent possible, while exploiting the opportunities present within the external environment.
In Module 3, we will use several models to assist us in choosing “grand strategies.” Organizations have multiple strategies that they can choose from. However, available options are inherently limited by the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and by the opportunities and threats that exist in the operating (industry) and remote environments.
Finally, in Module 4, we will explore the implementation controls that organizations use to keep their strategies on-track. These controls include the organization’s structure and culture, and other management control systems such as budgets (and associated variance analysis), inventory control systems, and fixed asset inventory control systems, policies and procedures, and rules.
Thus, Modules 1-4 follow the Strategic Management process in the following sequence:
The Organization’s Purpose
All organizations begin as an idea, as a concept. Someone—an entrepreneur—perceives a need for a product or a service. Sometimes, the idea to market a product or service is spawned out of an unfulfilled need or want, that is, there may be a gap in the provision of a product or service. Occasionally, the product or service does not exist at all. But in all circumstances, someone has a purpose—a reason—for starting the organization in the first place. This is the organizational purpose.
The Strategic Management process always begins with an explicit statement of the organization’s purpose—its reason for being. The organization (usually, top leadership, with the input of the rest of the organization) establishes the organization’s purpose through the Mission statement.
The Mission Statement
The Mission statement conveys the present state of the organization. The Mission is a written statement that explains the reasons that the organization exists. Essentially, the Mission makes explicit what the organization does (e.g., describing what it sells, defining its customers, and defining its geography or the locations in which it does business). The Mission statement, then, answers the question: “What business are we in?”
Mission statements should always be written in a way that makes the purpose of the organization clear to people inside and outside of the organization. The Mission should tell everyone what the organization does (its purpose for being), i.e., it should state clearly what products or services it offers. Secondly, the Mission statement should make clear which markets the organization serves (who are the organization’s customers), and where the organization operates (geography).
Following are examples of “good” Mission statements (note the use of present tense; note also how the company’s product/services are clearly specified).
“Ameren’s mission is to generate electricity, deliver electricity and distribute natural gas in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally sound manner.”
“As the world’s largest tax services company, H & R Block has one-to-one relationships with millions of clients, helping them benefit from all of the deductions and credits available to them and build a better financial future. It is the only major company that offers a full range of software, online and in-office tax solutions, combined with financial information and suggestions that enable clients to consider how they could achieve their financial objectives” (partial Mission statement of H&R Block).
“To serve our customers, employees, shareholders and society by providing a broad range of staffing services and products.” (Kelly Services).
“We assist LM companies to obtain product sales financing that (a) fits their customer’s economic profiles, (b) uses financing strategies tailored to each market, and (c) protects Lockheed Martin Corporation. We utilize our expertise to develop services that add value at each phase of the LM business development cycle. We evaluate and implement new strategies in response to changing customer profiles and market conditions.” (Lockheed Martin).
Following are additional examples of Mission statements. Note, however, the contrast to the above examples, in that these organizations use the future tense in their Mission statements, confusing the Mission statement with the Vision (which, as we will see below, is a future-oriented statement that seeks to inspire people to a desired future state). Rather than specify what it is the organization does today (using the present tense), their “Mission” statements are instead an expression of a future state, e.g.: “We will be the leader in….” or “Our mission is to be the leading…”. In these examples, organizations—albeit with good intent—have confused the Mission and Vision statements, using the future tense within the Mission statement:
“To build shareholder value by delivering pharmaceutical and healthcare products, services and solutions in innovative and cost effective ways. We will realize this mission by setting the highest standards in service, reliability, safety and cost containment in our industry.” (AmerisourceBergen).
“To be the world leader in products, services and solutions that enable and transform the way consumers and businesses gather, manage, distribute and communicate information.” (Avery Dennison)
“Our mission is to be the leading global innovator, developer and provider of cleaning, sanitation and maintenance products, systems, and services.” (Ecolab)
“Exceed our customers’ expectations by being the leading provider of safe, responsive, value-added services in the student transportation industry.” (Laidlaw)
Be sure to read Williams’ article, as it offers an excellent and quite thorough overview of mission statements, their scope, and suggested content:
Read Chapter 6 entitled “Determine Your Corporate Mission” of the following:
The Vision Statement
In contrast to the Mission statement, the Vision statement is a futuristic one. It communicates—again, in writing—what the organization aspires to become (in the future). Because Vision statements aspire to some future desired state, they tend to be idealistic and inspirational (“e.g., We want to become…”).
The Coca-Cola Company has a rather lengthy Vision statement:
“Our vision serves as the framework for our Roadmap and guides every aspect of our business by describing what we need to accomplish in order to continue achieving sustainable, quality growth.
Starbucks’ Vision statement is
“To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
Finally, McDonald’s Vision states the following:
“Our overall vision is for McDonald’s to become a modern, progressive burger company delivering a contemporary customer experience. Modern is about getting the brand to where we need to be today and progressive is about doing what it takes to be the McDonald’s our customers will expect tomorrow. To realize this commitment, we are focused on delivering great tasting, high-quality food to our customers and providing a world-class experience that makes them feel welcome and valued.”
While good Vision statements are inspirational (i.e., they aspire the organization to a desired future state), the most memorable Vision statements tend to be concise and to-the-point. For example:
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “A World Free of MS.”
The Cleveland Clinic: “Striving to be the world’s leader in patient experience, clinical outcomes, research and education.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation: “Our vision is that people everywhere will share the power of a wish.”
The following reading from the Unites States Air War College is a quite excellent overview of the Vision statement:
Organizations often make their sense of organizational ethics or morality explicit in a written Values statement, sometimes called a “Corporate Code” or a “Code of Ethics.” Values statements convey those virtues or behaviors that an organization embraces; these include, for example, integrity, innovation, professionalism, diligence, honesty, or teamwork. Many Values statements are lengthy, because they are an expression of multiple values that the organization holds.
Read Chapter 5 entitled “Values, Vision and Purpose” of Brian Tracy’s book entitled Business strategy:
Starbucks’ Values statement includes the following: “1) Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome; 2) Acting with courage, challenging the status quo; 3) Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect; 4) Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results; and 5) We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.”
The Values statement of Whole Foods Markets is: “With great courage, integrity and love—we embrace our responsibility to co-create a world where each of us, our communities, and our planet can flourish. All the while, celebrating the sheer love and joy of food.”
Zappos’ Values statement includes ten core values (note how Zappos capitalizes all words in its Values statements for emphasis): 1) Deliver WOW Through Service; 2) Embrace and Drive Change; 3) Create Fun and a Little Weirdness; 4) Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded; 5) Pursue Growth and Learning; 6) Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication; 7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit; 8) Do More with Less; 9) Be Passionate and Determined; and 10) Be Humble.
Finally, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a United States-based child care provider, employs the “HEART principles,” namely: Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and Teamwork.
Read the U.S. Air War College article on values and ethics here: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-…
The organization’s Mission, Vision, and Values are broad statements that provide the general purpose of the organization, where the organization plans to go, and the organization’s code of ethics. Whereas these three statements are broad declarations of the organization’s present and future states, the organization’s goals serve as a more tangible and concrete means by which the organization can keep its strategies on-track. Read the section entitled “Pursuing the Vision and Mission through SMART Goals” (pages 36-40) in the Mastering Strategic Management text.