What is Strategic Management?

Strategic management is defined as the art of overseeing an organization’s resources in order to achieve objectives. Strategy-based management involves the setting of objectives through the analysis of competitors, internal needs and the business environment.

Strategy Meets Management

Strategic planning and management is a group of decisions and actions that are carefully formed and implemented in order to reach goals. It involves the examination of current and future internal and external environments. It is a continuous process that helps an organization adapt and keep up with its changing business environment in the most advantageous ways. This minimizes legal, financial and operational risks.

It answers three basic planning questions: where is the organization now, where does it want to go and how it will get there. The general concept is sometimes used to describe the specific planning activities related to policy, resource control and technical planning. This formal management of change process provides supportive structure, a system of values and direction for employees. It also helps management to shape policies and redefine their business mission.

The Process

Strategic management control is focused on long-term planning and forecasting. The standard time horizon is at least three years, but more companies plan five to ten years in the future. The process of strategy driven management begins with the identification of the company’s basic values and goals that are transformed into long range objectives. Next, management assesses the company’s external environment in order to identify risks and opportunities.

Then, management assesses the internal environment through evaluating available resources and capabilities, such as people, brand and equipment, that can be dedicated to achieve objectives. This process involves the creation of an official organizational structure that includes target business units and their associated authority, responsibility, and communication that they must have with each another. Finally, management agrees upon a decision-making structure to allocate resource, realize goals and sustain values.

What are the Benefits?

Strategic planning and management is essential to sustain a competitive advantage, which is what keeps the best organizations ahead of their competitors. It directly translates to better financial and industry performance. It helps management to views matters from broader perspective. This is important because finance, marketing, operational and other managers will most likely see things from their own specific angle and narrow view. This limited vision will hinder the company because it is too narrow for the whole organization to rely upon.

Strategic planning and management facilitates collaboration because functional middle managers are the people who actually implement the strategies and drive objectives on a daily basis. It improves situational awareness of both external and internal environments. It clearly identifies how to reach and sustain a competitive advantage. It help a company redefines their vision, mission and future goals. It increases managers’ commitment to achieving the objectives, the coordination of activities and the efficient allocation of resources.

When properly implemented, strategic management will help companies cohesively integrate all functional areas of the company by facilitating communication and cooperation between employees of all levels.