Strategic Management: Articles and Videos Review

Mission Statements

Dan Heath, a speaker of the video, explains how to create a successful mission statement. He states that nowadays people prefer simplicity. For example, it is useful to replace some pompous or rude words with the simpler ones like present instead of serve or the word “damn” that should be undoubtedly censored. Likewise, the mission statement should not be too limited, for instance, Italian food instead of pizza should be offered to customers (FastCompany, 2010).

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More to the point, the food parlor might offer family entertainment that is associated with integrity. In other words, it is essential to make words sound more concrete and precisely answer the question of why it is necessary to use that particular product (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2015). It is of paramount importance for the mission statement to reflect the fact that the company cares for the customers.

What Does It Take to Create a Strong USP?

Cupman (2015) notes the traits of a compelling unique selling proposition (USP). The author states that USP is what distinguishes the business from other B-to-B businesses in the corresponding area. First, the company should identify the target audience using the segmentation of the market. In addition to the segmentation according to the location or age of the audience, it is important to pay attention to details such as customers’ expectations.

The key purchasing drivers are the next to be determined as they would promote the creation of the product value. Sustainable competitiveness is another keystone arising from the concise analysis of the market, competitors, and customers. The USP also needs to be outstanding to remain successful (Thackston, 2008). Eventually, all the levels of the business should go in line with the USP as the latter defines not only the motto of the company but also the overall strategy.

Developing a Mantra

The speaker focuses on the notion of the mantra and its necessity for the business. Mantra is “a phrase capable of creating transformation,” states Leslie (2011). It should be regarded as the guidance while determining the development of the business, choosing strategies, or establishing the mission. At the same, it is significant to differentiate between the mantra and the tagline. While the first one is the internal indicator leading the company inside that is essential for the employer and employees, the second is the external indicator that is crucial for the target audience. The mantra helps to organize the company’s corporate culture contributing to the identity of the staff. It should be three to five catching words expressing the essence of the product or service. Ultimately, Leslie (2011) illustrates the example of Nike, the mantra of which sounds as follows: “authentic athletic performance”.

Missing Pieces: Women and Minority on Fortune 500 Boards

This research paper was initiated to expose one of the most relevant issues associated with women and minorities on Fortune 500 Boards. With the help of graphs and charts, the research paper reflects the data, the percentage of board seats taken by the marked categories as well as the recycling rates in 2012. Speaking more precisely, such minorities as African-American, Hispanic, and Asian take approximately ten, five, and three percent respectively while Caucasians take about 85 percent of the board seats (Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, 2012).

As for gender, 3.2 percent is taken by minority women and 10.1 percent by minority men. It should also be pointed out that compared with 2004 and 2010, the number of board seats in 2012 does not differ considerably. Thus, the research reveals ethnicity and gender minorities concerning the boards of 497 companies.

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Where Boards Go Wrong

The video-interview between Hank Shea, a distinguished fellow at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and visiting professor at University of Arizona School of Law, and Kirk O. Hanson, an Executive Director of Markkula Ethics Center, is a discussion of three characteristic ways that board members get into a mess. First of all, there is a problem of unreasoned or negligent decisions that makes civil liabilities (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, 2012).

Second, the so-called willful blindness takes place in plenty of businesses. In particular, it is a case when the director is aware of the problem and responsible for it, but he does not take any appropriate actions to eliminate it. It might result in criminal or civil liability. As a result, one might observe the increase in litigation cases. Third, the outright wrongdoing might cause a criminal penalty.

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

Kotter’s approach is based on the idea that change is the most effective organizational driving force (Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model: Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully, n.d.). The listed below 8-step change model represents Kotter’s idea in detail.

  1. Create an atmosphere of urgency. Having studied the market situation and its competitive position, the company should identify and analyze the actual and potential crises along with opportunities.
  2. Form a powerful coalition of reformers combining the efforts of influential employees and change agents and encouraging the participants’ initiative.
  3. Create a vision for change through the image of the desired future to increase the activity of employees and develop an appropriate strategy.
  4. Promote a new vision (communication) using the accessibility of presentations, metaphors, analogies, examples, and models of new behavior.
  5. Create the conditions for the implementation of a new vision eliminating the obstacles blocking the new behavior, changing the structure and duties that are contrary to the new vision, and encouraging creativity and willingness to take risks.
  6. Plan and achieve short-term goals planning required first steps, rewarding, and promoting early successes.
  7. Build on the change creating an atmosphere of confidence to new approaches, changing staffing, spending reshuffle, and spreading successful experience throughout the organization.
  8. Anchor changes formalizing the rules of corporate culture, building interaction between results and rewards, and creating conditions for the development of employees.

10 Principles of Leading Change Management

Aguirre (2014), a senior partner with Strategy&, reports how to lead change management successfully. The speaker provides an impressive argument stating that only 54 percent of the success depends on the change initiative. It occurs because of the three common pitfalls of change management. Aguirre (2014) considers that the change fatigue, namely, the excess of initiatives is the first aspect that limits the change.

Besides, the second disadvantage appears in the case the chief executive dictates the rules but does not clarify and show how to implement them. Ultimately, it is erroneous to think that the communication is the same as the engagement. The above-listed mistakes lead to the non-transformation, waste of time, people, and capital, and diminished morale. Above all, the culture is essential to move the organization and keep it effective (Hitt et al., 2015). It might include the informal leaders, integration, environment, and coherence throughout the organization.

Chief Executive

The Chief Executive website includes a set of articles devoted to the past and current events concerning the CEO management. There are several topics such as news, policy and politics, leadership and strategy, marketing and sales, the board of directors, and others. In other words, the website provides the reader with the comprehensible and relevant information that is important for the nowadays press. The Chief Executive presents awards and rankings for leaders, CEOs, and mid-market elite (Chief Executive, n.d.).

The magazine helps to enhance organizations’ performance by suggesting effective strategies, providing practical content, and enlightening exclusive events and researches. Besides, the mentioned magazine tries to be timely and innovative to attract readers. In this connection, CEOs, as well as employees, might acquire valuable knowledge by reading different articles posted by the Chief Executive.

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The Conference Board

The Conference Board website offers valuable insights for businesses all over the world. To make the website more convenient for the reader, there are several categories including webcasts, publications, conferences, peer networks, and others that help to guide the reader. It is also should be noted that the Conference Board involves economic indicators both in the US and worldwide (The Conference Board, n.d.).

The Conference Board is a global business organization providing crucial knowledge for businesses to improve their performance. The membership initiates various investigations in the field of leadership through different online platforms to embrace the most relevant issues and events. Additionally, the Conference Board has several offices worldwide and provides annual reports every year. Therefore, the economic data offered by the organization seems to be reliable and useful for business, in particular, for CEOs.

Featured Insights

The Featured Insights rubric of the McKinsey & Company website discusses recent key events that are significant for the business including mobile insights, news from the global McKinsey Institute, and the most popular insights (Featured Insights, n.d.).

The posts are thoroughly elaborated and include graphs and charts to provide the reader with visible information. For example, the Bridging Global Infrastructure Gaps article by Woetzel illustrates the worsening infrastructure systems’ gaps and supposes some effective solutions to increase productivity. What is more important, the article offers an accurate figure demonstrating the average needs in several infrastructure systems as well as the annual GDP (Featured Insights, n.d.). Such a presentation of the information seems to be quite beneficial and memorable. Consequently, the Featured Insights rubric of the McKinsey & Company website might be regarded as a useful source to learn about the current events and receive credible information.

Strategy + Business

Strategy + Business is a famous management magazine offering leaders the to construct their leadership strategy and achieve the desired outcome. The magazine covers such areas as strategy, operations, human capital, marketing, governance, and others (Strategy+Business, n.d.). It is also very important to point out the fact that Strategy + Business publishes the ideas of the most outstanding global chief executives and business thinkers that are contributing to the efficiency of the suggested strategies. Moreover, one might note the distinctive content of the magazine, in particular, exciting interviews, stories, and commentaries that make the Strategy + Business increase in popularity. There are also various channels of publishing the content consisting of print versions, online posts, and digital editions. In this connection, it becomes possible to use mobile applications to receive the information promptly in the most convenient way.

Think Value Chain

According to JoeStartupVideo (2013), the value chain identifies the significance of the business. In other words, the value chain should answer the question of does it create value? In this regard, the value is understood as the profit of the organization. To determine the value chain, it is necessary to consider four fundamental concepts including develop, make, tell, and sell (JoeStartupVideo, 2013). In the value chain of the enterprise activity, there are two different parts. The primary or main activities comprise logistical support, manufacturing, sales and marketing, and maintenance. The secondary or auxiliary activities include research and development, human resources management, and administration.

The concept of the value chain is a comprehensive and holistic approach to building and managing costs, which takes into account the aggregate costs mechanisms of the company beginning from the sources of raw materials and finished products to services received by customers (D’heur, 2015). At the same time, the division of the company is strategically important elements and processes make it possible to identify the core components of the costs at each stage. The distribution costs and the company’s assets on the chains of the value chain allow quantifying each of them, because if the chain links are connected, then their costs are interdependent as well.

Generic Strategies

Professor Kryscynski (2012) clarifies the four generic strategies that are essential to creating a competitive advantage. The speaker claims that “a competitive advantage is when a company achieves higher profits than the average competitor in the product market” (Kryscynski, 2012). After that, he compares two firms with the same profit. However, the focal firm can drop the costs keeping the revenues stable or vice versa so that it would accomplish the competitive advantage. Porter identified two dimensions to achieve the competitive advantage that is the source and the scope (Kryscynski, 2012).

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Precisely speaking, the company should develop a broad market or narrow and focused market in the framework of the first dimension or be a differentiator or low-cost leader in the framework of the second. As a result, the following four elements show the core generic strategies: overall cost, overall differentiation, cost focus, and differentiation focus. All in all, it is better to choose one of the dimensions in practice and stick to it.

Enhancement to Generic Strategies

According to Kryscynski (2013), cost leadership and differentiation are two common ways to specify the competitive advantage. Nevertheless, there is an approach suggested by Treacy and Wiersma, who categorize the mentioned concept according to process, product, and customer (Kryscynski, 2013). The companies characterized by the process have operational excellence as they raise productivity and receive higher profits than their competitors.

Product businesses achieve a competitive advantage due to a unique and advanced product. Their standards comprise style, speed, technology, and traits. Those companies that focus on the customer should create the best solutions and provide outstanding service so that customers feel care and comfort. To meet the customers’ requirements, the company must be responsive, flexible, and innovative. More to the point, the company should give the customers exactly what they want in time.

9 Mergers That Epically Failed

The article describes the nine famous corporations that failed to merge. Fairchild (2013) states that “the owner of Arby’s bought Wendy’s for $2.34 billion” (para. 2). Nevertheless, only after three years, Wendy’s sold Arby’s. The fail occurred between Bank of America and Countrywide when the deal cost the bank approximately $ 40 billion. Kmart and Sears are also among the epic fail due to the considerably dropped revenue of the first one.

eBay bought Skype for $ 2.6 billion in 2005 to sell it for $ 1.9 billion in 2009. Among the other failed mergers, there are AOL and Time Warner, Sprint and Nextel, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, and Quaker and Snapple. However, it seems beneficial to point out the case of New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads in detail. In 1998, when the mentioned railroads merged to evade the bankruptcy of the first, it seemed a good idea. As a result, competitors joined to create Penn Central, and New York Central declared bankruptcy in 2000.

The 10 Biggest Corporate Layoffs of the Past Two Decades

In this article, Zillman (2015) summarizes the major layoffs of the past years. IBM cut its 60,000 staff because of the creation of the personal computer along with the client-server. The second position in the list of discharges is taken by Citigroup that declared 50,000 cuts in the framework of the planned reductions. Sears Roebuck & Co also cut 50,000 employees as a result of 113 stores’ closure.

General Motors had to fire 47,000 of the personnel with closing five factories and preparing to announce the bankruptcy. Such well-known corporations as AT&T, Ford Motor Co, Kmart Corp., Bank of America, Circuit City Stores also had to cut their staff due to the increased competition or the ceased operation. Also, Boeing cut 31,000 employees as the aerospace reduced and the protection of the workforce of the company in 2001 cost too much.

What Is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis was created for assessing the current and future competitiveness by analyzing the company’s product in the market of internal and external environments. The notion of the SWOT analysis consists of four components: strengths of the product (positive attributes both tangible and intangible), weaknesses of the product (internal, negative attributes), opportunities or capabilities of the company (external, positive attributes), and threats to the company (external, negative attributes).

SWOT analysis is widely used in strategic management and as it is quite a simple and high-quality tool for evaluating the company’s competitiveness in the market (Bplans, 2014). The method aims to examine the company’s current market position and the correct structuring of information for the development of the marketing strategy (Bplans, 2014). It is necessary to apply the above tool to find a potential partner or potential new hire, for example. All in all, the SWOT tool is a great method to analyze the current market situation and develop the appropriate prospective strategy.

References

Aguirre, D. (2014). 10 Principles of Leading Change Management. Strategy+Business. Web.

Bplans. (2014). What Is a SWOT Analysis?. Web.

Chief Executive. (n.d.). Chief Executive. Web.

Cupman, J. (2015). What Does it Take to Create a Strong USP? American Marketing Association. Web.

D’heur, M. (2015). Sustainable value chain management: Delivering sustainability through the core business. New York, NY: Springer.

Fairchild, C. (2013). 9 Mergers That Epically Failed. HuffingtonPost. Web.

FastCompany. (2010). How to Write a Mission Statement That Doesn’t Suck. Web.

Featured Insights. (n.d.). McKinsey & Company. Web.

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2015). Strategic management: Competitiveness & globalization: Concepts and cases (11th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

JoeStartupVideo. (2013). Think Value Chain. Web.

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model: Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully. (n.d.). Mind Tools. Web.

Kryscynski, D. (2012). Generic Strategies. Web.

Kryscynski, D. (2013). Alternative Competitive Advantage . Web.

Leslie, D. (2011). What’s a Mantra, and Why do you Need one for your Personal Brand or Business?. Web.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. (2012). Where Boards Go Wrong – Hank Shea. Web.

Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards. (2012). Alliance for Board Diversity. Web.

Strategy+Business. (n.d.). Strategy+Business. Web.

Thackston, K. (2008). 3 Simple Rules for Creating an Effective USP. Business Know-How. Web.

The Conference Board. (n.d.). The Conference Board. Web.

Zillman, C. (2015). The 10 biggest corporate layoffs of the past two decades. Fortune. Web.

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