Our view about strategic management in general is confined only to big companies. We have this concept when we hear strategic management that it is applicable only with large corporations. But did you know that strategic management is applicable to professional as well as on a personal level?
Our great misconception is that we hear about these marketing or management gurus who are known to be experts. They have numerous companies under their belt teaching the concepts of strategic management to Presidents, or CEOs. And other top executives of large corporations as well as multi-national corporations.
That is only partially true. Because you can learn something as “complex” as strategic management as well. You can see how it can be practical to your purposes as much as it is with these large corporate CEOs and corporate officers. The only difference is that these corporate officers view it on a more highly developed level of thinking because it hinges on their company’s survival and growth. Similar to the skillful General on how he strategically handles his forces in times of war.
Let me reiterate, strategic management is not a “set” of do’s and dont’s that are boxed in a concept just like any other technical subject in university. But a more dynamic discipline that you could adapt to any particular situation. And for our purposes, we have sub-divided strategic management into two points: First is Strategic Planning, and next is Strategic Alliance.
In military – planning is war on paper. Strategy = Plan
One of the factors in strategic planning which is part of strategic management is environmental scanning. It is assessing the competition. In business, and in life, competition comes in different sizes and varieties. It could be direct or indirect. Why do we need to assess the competition? Isn’t enough that I know I’m good and I am beyond competition?
There’s a saying taken from “The Art of War.” It says, “If you know yourself but don’t know the enemy, there’s a good chance that you will win 50% of the time in every battle. If you know the enemy but not yourself, for every battle, there is an equal chance that you will either win or lose. But If you neither know the enemy nor yourself, you will lose all the time for every battle.
Let’s face it, we all have competition whether we admit that or not. You may say, “I am unique, I don’t have competition, I am one with the universe, I am the silver lining.” Yes, true, we are unique in our special way and to a certain extent. But in the market place, there are those entities, whether in employment or in business, that are out there who’s as unique as you are. But are categorized within the same industry as yours. The question here is, how do we set ourselves apart from this so-called competition? And how do we employ strategic management. Good question.
I have a number of competitors in my industry as an example. As you can see, let me reiterate, we are not trying to compete, but it is just the reality. Whether direct or indirect, there is someone out there vying for the same market as you do. They may say, we can collaborate, some may even coined it, “coopetition” taken from two words, cooperate and competition. Sure, these are all valid, but we cannot enter into a strategic alliance with someone else. Unless we have something that sets us apart from the competition. This is the beginning of strategic management.
As an Accounting CPD provider. We can see that the biggest pie in the chart as far as providing CPD is concerned goes to PICPA. CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and PICPA stands for Philippine Institute of CPAs. PICPA has been around for a very long time. If I enter into this industry, I definitely cannot compete with the major players since they’ve been around the industry. And some of their lecturers are top-notch performers in the CPA board. So how can I set myself apart from the rest? How can I employ good strategic management?
Seriously, and without getting too serious. I think my advantage is aside from mastering the CPA board (I took it four times, 😉 is because of my experiences not only in taking the board exam but also my experiences with the different industries. Even though some of my experiences back then may appear irrelevant during those times, I am able to use those skills which I have developed and have reaped the fruits of those experiences.
When I entered this industry, being in this business, everything seemed to be anything but a straight line. It can be chaotic more often than not. Sometimes, the market is high sometimes it’s not, and at times, the market is nowhere to be found, you’re clueless. The experiences I had when I was experiencing setbacks when I took the CPA board four times and in my experiences in different industries I worked with had taught me one valuable skill. That is Composure, a major part of strategic management.
Even when things were not coming my way, I learned to be composed, because in this business, or any other business for that matter, it is easy and even tempting to give in to non-rational thinking when the chips are down. And it doesn’t matter how talented we are, when things turned out not as expected, or the expectations are different from the actual, we may see things not as they are but as we experience it and that is dangerous. It deviates from sound strategic management.
Because we may be experiencing things that is tainted with some emotions. We may project this with other people who may also see the situation from another point of view, that is based from their experience. Now, what do we have here, there will be a clash of point of views. Not seeing things from what they really are but for who we are which disrupts Strategic Alliance. More on this topic in the next blog. So having those experiences in the past, taught me a great deal about composure. I learned to see things not by how it appears to be but for what it is. This is part of the essence of strategic management which I can set myself apart from the competition. What about you, how do you set yourself apart from the competition?
So just to drive home our point, strategic planning is a major part of strategic management. As we saw earlier, we need to plan our strategy and be aware of our competitors’ strengths and weakness as well as our own.
Pictures taken from the seminar, “The Road to Personal and Financial Success” with Alfred Quinsay