Managing Strategically for Superior Performance

by DONALD O'NEAL
3rd ed., 2008, 200 pgs, $24.95
ISBN 978-0-89641-453-2

Managing Strategically

The subject of strategic management, which is about the things managers do to enable their organizations to establish competitive advantage in their industries, has been directed almost exclusively toward top-level executives: those who set the direction for their organizations. Yet I found, first as a mid-level manager and later as a corporate officer, that the concepts of strategic management could be utilized advantageously by individuals at all levels of the organization, including those who aren’t yet in supervisory positions.

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As a graduate student (while still functioning as vice president of a business organization), I was impressed with the number of business theories that seemed to make good sense, but surprised at how few of them I had ever seen applied successfully in business organizations. I finally concluded that part of the reason, perhaps a major part, was that business-school professors and business professionals don’t speak the same language. Most of what business-school academics write is written for and to their colleagues, rather than for business people. Nowhere is this more evident than in business textbooks which, like academic journals, are written by professors, appear to be written for professors and, without translation by someone who knows both the theory and how to apply it, are of limited use to either undergraduate students or business practitioners.

After earning a Ph.D in Strategic Management, I began teaching the subject in a business school using traditional strategic management textbooks. But a high percentage of my students were “non-traditional:” full-time workers who take classes in the evening and on weekends, and many were already in management positions. This type of student viewed traditional textbooks as “necessary evils” rather than useful reference books, and invariably sold them back to the bookstore once the class was over. I noticed, however, that many students kept my handouts, and used them as on-the-job reference material. To them, the handouts contained a condensed version of the strategic management concepts that seemed most likely to be useful in the business world.

I believe my subsequent success in the classroom has been due to the manner in which I translate textbook theory and information into practical contexts. It is important to understand that this is not “dumbing down,” of either the information or the classes, but making the best use of busy peoples’ time by getting to the heart of the important concepts with a minimum of confusion. And that’s why I decided to write this book, which is based largely on information that I have synthesized from a wide range of sources over more than 30 years of managing, teaching, and consulting.

This volume is intended as a practical guide to strategic management, designed for the classroom, but also useful as a reference manual by individuals and professionals at all levels. It is based on a proven framework that allows students to learn, understand, and apply the principles of strategic management in a practical manner. The success of this method has been repeatedly verified by students, alumni, and clients, who emphasize the value of being able to immediately apply these concepts to their jobs, and even to their personal lives.

Beyond the traditional classroom, I see at least two additional opportunities for this book. First, in seminars and workshops on strategic management that I, and others, lead and facilitate for a variety of organizations (business, government, and not-for-profit). Second, for participants in “certificate” programs, which range from a few days to a few weeks, concluding with the awarding of a certificate in a particular subject. Strategic management may be the subject of the program, or it may be just one of several subjects in an integrated (e.g., business management) program.


CONTENTS

Part I — PLANNING

Chapter 1: Leadership and Management
Chapter 2: Mission (Purpose)
Chapter 3: Goals (Objectives)
Chapter 4: Competitive Analysis
Chapter 5: Internal Analysis
Chapter 6: External Analysis
Chapter 7: Competitive Strategy
Chapter 8: Global Strategies

Part II — PEOPLE

Chapter 9: Organizational Culture
Chapter 10: Incentives and Rewards
Chapter 11: Conflict, Power and Politics
Chapter 12: Time Management

Part III — ORGANIZATION

Chapter 13: Designing the Organization
Chapter 14: Innovation and Technology
Chapter 15: Knowledge and Learning
Chapter 16: Board of Directors

Part IV — STRATEGIC RESPONSIVENESS

Chapter 17: Decision Making
Chapter 18: Resource Allocation/Budgeting
Chapter 19: Performance Evaluation (Feedback)
Chapter 20: Managing Change

REFERENCES

INDEX