Saturday, May 18, 2019

Strategic planning in small and large businesses

 Smaller businesses have a limited range of the tools they use in strategic planning. This is largely in part because larger businesses have stronger financial resources than smaller businesses.  Larger businesses also normally have their own in-house department that deals with just this part of the business.  Larger businesses also tend to base their plans on five years or more where smaller firms normally only have theirs based out on five years or less (Siddique, 2015).
            As far as the reasons why it is difficult to execute such plans, there are a lot of variables that a business can not plan for until they actually occur. Environmental uncertainty can end up costing a company more time and money than anticipated. Customers, suppliers, distributors, competitors, government, public attitudes, technology, and financial markets can all affect strategic planning.  Businesses can try to plan for these types of events to happen, but it is impossible to plan for them all (Matthews & Scott, 1995).
Angela Rosario


Matthews, C. H., & Scott, S. G. (1995). Uncertainty and planning in small and entrepreneurial firms: an empirical assessment. Journal of Small Business Management, (4),, 34. Retrieved from
Siddique, M. C. (2015). A Comparative Study of Strategic Planning Practices of SMEs and Large-Sized Business Organizations in Emerging Economies: The Case of UAE. Strategic Change, 24(6), 553–567.
Thompson. (2018). Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage 21st ed. McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9781259732782. Retrieved from:

Aligning the vision and mission

Strategic plan plays a crucial role in an organizational setting. The need to have a strategic plan does not come so easy; however, it is mandatory that organization have the plan to guide them in their operations. Strategic planning, as stated by the student, helps an organization to focus on the positive side of their operations to meet the organizational goals and objectives. The strategic plan should align with the vision and mission of an organization. Indeed, it makes the organization to focus on their goals and objectives and make adjustments that can help in address gaps that can affect the success of the company.
Notably, my fellow learner has a great understanding of what makes a strategic plan. In their response on the components of a strategic plan, the various components are identified accordingly. In reference to Thompson (2018), strategic plans may come in different shapes and sizes. However, the major components are mission and vision, long and short-term objectives, strategies, scorecard, financial assessment among others. He has well established the components and thus its one of the major pros I have identified from the his response. In other words, he understands the strategic plan and has indeed included resources are useful to read about strategic plan. In my view, I did not get any cons from the work as all of the important issues have been addressed as per the assignment guidelines ( Srivastava et al., 2013). However, I identified some grammatical errors, which is not an important concern, but can be addressed for future assignment.
Thompson. (2018). Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage 21st ed. McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9781259732782.
Srivastava, S. C., Mithas, S., & Jha, B. (2013). What Is Your Global Innovation Strategy? IT Professional, 15(6), 2–6.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Why is strategic planning important?

Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is a broad activity organized by typically higher management. It takes the organizations purpose (mission & vision) setting a focus on outlining priorities, structure, resources, operations in hopes that the outline can be instituted and delivered for maximum profitability and efficiency for the organization. Strategic planning has been recognized as a fundamental activities of an organization (Segars) Meeting and exceeding management and shareholder interest. It is important to make improvements and validate modifications to please shareholders as they have a strong interest in the organizations stability and sustainability.  
Components- Importance
Strategic planning starts from the head of the organization, it is devised from shareholders and upper management based off the direction the company plans to carry its goals and operations. In turn is trickled down to lower management and employees to carry out. This is done through extensive analysis of operational, financial and rivalry data. Building strong and efficient resources and capabilities including production, supply and delivery. Each level of the business is incorporated and responsible for fulfillment in order to be successful. 
Assessing an organizations stand in the industry, market and competitions is the baseline for analysis. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) are critical in strategic planning. Knowing this information helps look internal and assess the company operational flow and how to do so with the current financial, technological and workforce. Each category is critical to executing the strategic plan. Though there has been some controversy if strategic planning (SP) and organizational performance (OP) are linked. It is evident that they are closely related and effect each other to some degree (Ali)
Single Business vs Multi Business SP
Strategic planning for a single business is slightly different than multi-business due to the suppliers, resources and regulations. Multi businesses have greater coverage and require a streamlined strategic plan. Meaning that the foundation or purpose is the same, yet needs to be modified according to operation of each business. This could be greater resources and capabilities that need to still create the same expected performance as they are tied to the sister or parent organization. If multi business sectors or industries vary, then the SP has to be tailored to the industry, however the same plan or model should be followed. 
SP is critical for an organization to operate and evaluate the action plan, once established the organization can assign the proper management to institute and deliver the end results. Planning is ever changing and can always be improved especially with the changes in technology. No need to go back to the drawing board or reinvent the wheel, but rather to take what can work better considering the changes and add or subtract to create value, better work flow and of course end result- efficiency.
Ali, A. A. (2018). Strategic planning–organizational performance relationship: Perspectives of previous studies and literature review. International Journal of Healthcare Management11(1), 8–24. 
Albert H. Segars, & Varun Grover. (1999). Profiles of Strategic Information Systems Planning. Information Systems Research10(3), 199. 
Thompson, A. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases

Entering foreign markets

A business does not have to think-local, act-local – if it doesn’t mind failure. Before entering foreign markets, of any type, they must be evaluated for cultural norms and influences including governmental policies, and political risks (Shao, 1997). Entering a foreign market with the think-local, act-local approach one must also consider marketing in the strategic plan. In the U.S. there is an emphasis on information. Businesses market adventure, in their products, along with challenges, diversity, and superiority. Japanese culture dictates consensus, harmony, and peaceful collaboration between people, businesses, and industry (Lin, 1993). If the American business person entered the Japanese market using a typical American approach, the Japanese consumer would not be accepting of it and the business would not fare well. The American business would need to transform its advertising to better meet the needs of the Japanese culture.


Lin, C. A. (1993). Cultural Differences in Message Strategies: A Comparison between American and Japanese Tv Commercials. Journal of Advertising Research, 33(4), 40-48. Retrieved from

Shao, L. P. (1997). Capital structure norms among foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational enterprises. Global Finance Journal, 8(1), 145.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Strategic Planning Perspectives

Strategic Planning:
Strategic planning is an organizational management activity which is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure employees and stakeholders are working towards common goals.  It's the set of actions that the managers of a business perform to outperform competitors and to work towards obtaining profitability. 
Strategic planning consists of six main components; mission, core values, long-term vision, strategic agenda, project plans and annual budget. A business's mission includes what the business is, why you are a business, the unique niche and what it brings to the competition of businesses. Dictating the behavior of the organization and determining whether the organization is heading in the right direction as far as loyalty, consistency and commitment defines the core values of a company. The specific improvements in competition, technology growth, profitability, investment return, corporate image and employee relations defines the long-term vision of an organization. The leadership of the company communicates the key focus areas for long term when these elements are utilized. A project plan should include; one year target accomplishment, two or three year for those that take more time to implement, metric which shows the intended impact, milestones and accountability. Lastly, the annual budget displays the projected income and expenses for the year, which could include a balance sheet and cash flow statement. 
 Small and medium businesses hold the key to economic growth, innovation, and employment. Larger businesses see them as their largest competitors. The strategic planning process is still in the early stages compared to larger businesses. Small businesses limit their range of planning tools to include PESTEL, SWOT, financial ration, analysis, and budgeting. Larger firms use more planning tools and techniques such as SWOT, HRM analysis, cost-benefit analysis, organizational culture, scenario construction, and strategic group analysis (Siddique, 2015).
Large businesses have in-house staff to develop strategic planning. Larger businesses often use outside consultants to access and implement a broader set of management tools. Smaller businesses look at their planning process for five years or less while larger businesses cover five years or more. Smaller businesses focus more attention to HRM and organizational culture where larger businesses are more inclined to develop and put down in writing their mission statements and use their core competencies as a vital factor in competitive advantage (Siddique, 2015).
 Companies developing in the international marketplace have to wrestle with which direction they want to go. They need to decide whether customizing their products in each market to match local buyer’s tastes and preferences or to pursue a strategy of offering a more standardized product worldwide. Matching a product country by country may raise production and distribution costs. The biggest issue for these companies must resolve is the tension between market pressures to localize with the competitive pressures of lowering costs (Thompson, 2018).
There are five different strategic options a company can use when entering into foreign markets. First, they can maintain a home base and export products. A company can license foreign organization to produce and distribute their products in their geographic location. Third, they can decide to employ franchising strategy. They can establish a subsidiary in a foreign market via acquisition, or they can rely on alliances or joint ventures. These options depend on many factors such as the company’s objectives, the firm’s position, their access to resources, their capabilities, and their financial strength (Thompson, 2018).
            Next would be deciding what type of strategy to take: international, multi-domestic, or global. A multi-domestic approach is when a company adjusts its products from country to country to meet buyer’s needs. A global approach in which it takes the same basic approach in all countries where it operates, sells, and coordinates its actions worldwide. Transnational strategy approaches the marketplace with combined global and multi-domestic ideas (Thompson, 2018). 

Leadership and management strategic decision-making

Leadership and management strategic decision-making are two different approaches used to add value to an organization. Even though they have opposing methods of how things should be done they are interlinked to compliment one another. Leadership decision making  is focused on educating and empowering while management focuses on the implementation of the objectives that have been set forth by the organization.
Leadership is an essential part of a business because it profoundly impacts how strategic decisions are made within an organization. Leadership is a guide to empowering personnel by trust, transparence, training, and communication (Kumle & Kelly,2018). When you provide employees with a vision of what can be achieved in the future objectives of the organization it helps to motivate them. Leadership helps to inspire team members within the organization to be involved in making the vision become a reality. Having inspired employees keeps them engaged which makes them feel better knowing that their contribution matters, and in return it benefits the company's competitive advantage with increased productivity and profitability. Leadership encompasses accountability of a team environment where everyone is responsible for their part, this dynamic works through trust and support (Kumie & Kelly, 2018). 
Management is different from leadership because it focuses on organizing, implementing, and measuring goals needed to meet their situational objectives (Forbes, 2016). Managers rely on a standardized structure that is provided through the organization, and rarely deviate from what is required of them. In management the main focus is on protecting the company and not the people, their main objectives are monetary gains through achieved goals (Kumie & Kelly, 2018).  Managers meet with employees to individually address goals and make sure that they are following directions (Forbes, 2016). Management would prefer hiring outside talent more qualified for rapid growth rather than train existing personnel that are unqualified and incapable of meeting organizational objectives (Thompson, 2016). 
While both leadership and management strategic decision-making are necessary for organizations to be successful there must be a balance of the two. Even though they are approaching objectives in different ways they are both equally important to the culture of the organization. If you do not have employees that are highly motivated, then your company will suffer through poor performance and it will result in a high turnover rate. These thing can cause a company to lose a competitive advantage over industry rivals. With regards to leadership when employees are educated and empowered they become highly motivated because they know that their contribution plays an important part to the success of the organization. Leaders provide a long-term vision where they want the company to go in the long-term and managers are there to ensure the requirements are being met in the short-term, therefore they are vital to an organizations success.
Arruda,W. (2016). 9 Differences Between Being a Leader and Manager. Retrieved from
Kumle, J., &Kelly, N.J. (2018). Leadership Versus Management Supervision, 79(1), 6 
Thompson, A.A., Peteraf, M.A., Gamble, J.F., and Strickland, A.J. III. (2016). Crafting and Executing Strategy. The quest for a competitive advantage, concepts, and cases (21st E.D.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Why is strategic planning important?

The importance of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an organizational activity take on by management in order to set priorities, focus, resources, and strengthen operations to ensure that team members are working toward the same goal by agreeing on the intended outcome and results desired.  The Strategic Plan is an official document used to communicate these goals to team members with clearly defined goals and actions needed to be successful as developed during the planning process.  Having this plan allows a company to stay on course and make adjustments as needed in order to maximize success.  Providing practical examples that include vision, scenario, and issues planning will help get buy in from the team members.

Primary components of a Strategic Plan

Thompson (2018) discusses how the five stages to implement a strategic plan are important.  First, defining the mission, vision, and overall goals of the organization and how this direction will be achieved.  This should clearly define the purpose of the company and what you are hoping to accomplish.  Next would be to define your core values and determine what defines you as a company.  This needs to be developed into the company culture in order for it to be successful. 
The second stage would include evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses and clearly defining company objectives.  These need to be designed around the SMART goals as outlined in by Lee (2010).  Having specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound objectives will keep the team on track and help the company be successful. 
Third will be designing the strategy that will help the company achieve the goals and objectives.  These timelines can easily reach years into the future but must be obtained for the overall plan to be successful.  These strategies need to focus on what must be concentrated on as short-term priorities that lead to the long-term goals. 
Fourth would be the execution of the plan by the management structure with the goal of meeting or exceeding the financial and performance goals outlined by leadership. 
Last would be monitoring and adjusting the plan as needed in order to realign objectives to ensure the original vision is maintained and goals are met.  Having flexibility with your plan is critical to a company's success. 

Strategic Planning for a Single-Business and Multi-Business company

Developing a strategic plan for a single business has the advantage of being able to stick to your primary strengths.  By focusing your marketing and production on a few key areas you can increase efficiency and maximize profitability on a smaller scale.  When looking a strategic planning for a multi-business company, this give you the advantage of diversifying into multiple areas of profitability and pursuing additional activities to increase your market share. 

Strategic Planning in the International Marketplace

Srivastava (2013) discusses how the developing world does not approach innovation in the same way the developed world does.  They state, "therefore, as firms globalize, they must be mindful of some fundamental differences as they craft their innovation strategies".  The approach must be different when looking at developing countries and the managers must be able to develop an innovation strategy and tailor their technology systems accordingly.  Managers must also determine how to develop the think-local, act-local approach to be able to tailor their product mix to accommodate new markets.  Companies cannot assume that selling the same product that is popular in a develop country will automatically be popular in an undeveloped country. 

The difficulty in executing a Strategic Plan

            Developing a successful strategic plan is difficult but in many cases the execution of this plan is even harder.  Several key challenges can come into play that can cause issues.  These include a weak strategy, a poor training plan, not enough resources to achieve your goals, poor communication, and lack of follow through.  The execution of the strategic plan is critical for the success of the company.  A true commitment to the vision is key by all levels of the organization.  The willingness to review the performance of all levels of the organization and be willing to make needed adjustments is vital.  Even though managers must be focused on short-term goals, they cannot lose focus on the long-term goals of the company to succeed. 


Lee KPW. (2010). Planning for success: setting SMART goals for study. British Journal of
Midwifery, 18(11), 744–746. 
Srivastava, S. C., Mithas, S., & Jha, B. (2013). What Is Your Global Innovation Strategy? IT
 Professional, 15(6), 2–6. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CVS Caremark Strategy

CVS is a health services company which operates drug stores, mail order pharmacy and health insurance for over 92 million plan members.   They also operate walk-in medical clinics called MinuteClinics in about 1100 of their stores.  They are the largest drugstore chain in the United States and also have operations in Puerto Rico and Brazil.  CVS Caremark is headquartered in Woonsocket, RI and is #7 in the Fortune 500 company listing.
In the 2018 annual report, CVS indicates that they have stated that they have set objectives to transform health care, lower costs, making it simple, and improving engagement.  Each of these are strategic to give CVS the competitive advantage.  Transform Health Care:  by diversifying the portfolio with the addition of Aetna, CVS can influence more of the customer experience.  Their strategic imperatives are to be local, make health care simple and improve health.  This will be accomplished by giving patients the care they need, when and how they need it.  Another objective is to lower costs, they estimate that 25% of the total spend on chronic illness is avoidable.  They believe that the tighter integration of services and a focus on prevention will help to reduce costs. Making it simple is another objective, use of the MinuteClinics and collaboration with Teladoc to reduce the number of doctor visits and in many cases can be done from your home with a video call.  The fourth objective is to improve engagement.  Though HealthHub additional services are brought together and available to patients.  These services include preventative services as well as counseling and wellness support.
The CVS mission statement is “Above all else….our mission is to improve the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access.”  The CVS Vision statement is: "We strive to improve the quality of human life. ". CVS publishes a Corporate Social Responsibility report each year that outlines their purpose, strategy and values as corporate citizens.  They have taken the lead on several social topics one of them being tobacco use.  With a focused commitment to health, CVS stopped selling cigarettes and tobacco products in October 2014, they were the first major pharmacy to stop selling tobacco products. They have also invested reducing smoking and tobacco use of our youth.  They also encourage employees or colleagues as they call them to volunteer in the community.  A 10% year over year increase of volunteer hours is their goal.  CVS also has put efforts into protecting our planet, they have an active program to reduce waste, recycle and use responsible sourcing for their products.  The CVS vision statement is very relatable and appropriate for a health care company.  From the table 2.1 in our textbook, the only item that may be missing is “Make it memorable” the CVS vision statement is very understandable but is not very memorable.
Management is investing in their employees; they have a target o 100% of mid-level leaders receive in-person classroom training by 2019.  Employees will collectively complete two million hours of compliance training each year and they will hire 5,000 registered apprentices by 2022.  They also have targets to increase annual spending of $2.5 billion with tier I & II diverse and women owned suppliers.
CVS has a focus on making services available to customers easier and more complete as possible.  They have diversified their service offerings and added programs that will deliver a superior experience to customers while being socially responsible.  This continued focus with new products and services added will give them the competitive edge over their competitors.

Thompson. (2018). Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage 21st ed. McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9781259732782.

Leadership and Management Strategic Decision Making

Whether in leadership or management roles strategic decisions must include strategic analysis. This …incorporates evaluating a company's internal potential and assessing its external environment…”( Moskalenko, 2018). It is highly desirable, like the greatest business models, leadership and managerial skills will both be present in one person. This is not usually the case. The greater companies fill their ranks with the skills needed and they work together towards success. Decision making of every type is played out in intricate, multifaceted, energetic and changing social systems. (Middlehurst, 2008) There is a difference, though, between leadership strategic decision making and management strategic decision making.

Relationship-based leadership is grounded upon a leader’s genuine investment in the personal and professional development of their staff members, regardless of performance outcome” (Mazza, Steve Camping Magazine, 2016). This concurs with the idea that a great leader can relate to others in such a way as to extract more than was expected. Leadership decisions include, but are not limited to how to promote team interaction, how to maintain an intellectually safe environment, and how to build trust. “Leadership… is also the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people” (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016).

Leaders produce leaders and managers produce followers” (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016). To be an effective leader in all capacities one must follow a proven path or blaze a new trail. The leader has the strategic decision making capability to construct a framework for future applications in the workplace. Leaders “make strategic decisions aimed at innovation and change basic business strategies, intervene in conflict and risk taking (Celik, Gungor, Ozkul and Tuna, 2016)

“Managers embrace process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly—sometimes before they fully understand a problem’s significance” (Zaleznik, 2004) and Hollie Delaney’s post, “Being a manager means you are the individual who is “in charge” of the task at hand and to oversee a team and project and accomplish a goal.”   Management is essentially a practical activity and managers use a range of knowledge and skills within their practice” (Hafford-Letchfield & Bourn, 2011). Management strategic decision making is following the plan of the leadership to accomplish a task.This aligns with Ms. Hairston’s statement that managers lean towards rationality and control in their strategic decision making. Managers are problem-solvers when making strategic decisions.


Hafford-Letchfield, T., & Bourn, D. (2011). ‘How Am I Doing?’: Advancing Management Skills Through the Use of a Multi-source Feedback Tool to Enhance Work-based Learning on a Post-qualifying Post-graduate Leadership and Management Programme. Social Work Education30(5), 497–511. 

Khoshhal, K. I., & Guraya, S. Y. (2016). Leaders produce leaders and managers produce followers. A systematic review of the desired competencies and standard settings for physicians' leadership. Saudi medical journal37(10), 1061–1067. doi:10.15537/smj.2016.10.15620

Mazza, Steve. Camping Magazine. Mar/Apr2019, Vol. 92 Issue 2, p60-63. 4p., Database: 

Middlehurst, R. (2008). Not Enough Science or Not Enough Learning? Exploring the Gaps between Leadership Theory and
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