Strategic management- now I got it!


Niraj Chaturvedi
Academic Associate
IIM Ahmedabad

Somewhere I have studied that if you want a man to be developed into an ultimate manager; just tell him to

    - read war histories,
    - write poetry, and
    - study weather maps,

Reading war histories will develop techniques of building strategies because militaries are in the battlefield with only a half-page written operation; writing poetries will develop the imagination power; and studying weather maps will develop contingency planning techniques. But these efforts calls for a deeper insight of the subject matter and one cannot become a manager with a stroke of Harry Potter's stick. The ultimate test of a man's managerial capacity comes into play when the contingency arises and this calls for a well directed 'Strategic Management'.

Surprisingly military has given birth to this very term- strategic management- and today it is largely used in the corporate sector and has become a subject of vital importance for the academicians too. Obviously, there emerged too many definitions of strategic management, which have defined the subject in the most efficient manners and there is no doubt as to there validity. But the thing of concern is that are we have been able to understand clearly what strategy is?

I am not raising this question by myself; indeed a senior military officer has questioned me this. And is it not a matter of concern that those who have given birth to the very term are finding it difficult to be dealt with. I have tried a lot to understand why it happened and the answer that I concluded is- since this term has become too common to be used that we are not looking towards the deeper insight. Moreover, strategic management has got birth from the process of planning and as we know that there are three levels of implementing the plans of a corporation, viz.-

- Corporate level,
- Strategic business unit level, and
- Functional level,

So as a consequent of the ongoing process, strategic management is somewhat behind the veil.

However our concern is not to look towards the future of strategic management; indeed we are confined to find a workable solution of the subject matter concerned, and to me it is

S Selecting
T Techniques
R Required
A Always
T To
E Evolve
G Growth
I    In
C Corporations

The thing I have found in the simplest term is that, it is merely the application of various ideas that comes in the mind of a manager or any person when he faces any critical situation. And that application has to be a perfectly calculated activity directed towards achieving the goal which one desires to have as an end. As a matter of fact, this definition covers all the fields of management, i.e., marketing, human resource, etc. The reason behind this plea is that I have put it universally applying for the whole enterprise irrespective of the area of activity concerned.

Some people would say that the word 'growth' may not be put in the definition; because it may not be the case of looking always towards futuristic things. Here I want to make it explicitly clear that for me word growth has to implications-

- at first instance it is moving forward,

- at second instance, if one will not move forward, then it's the time frame that changes and ultimately something grows.

Hence, growth is always to be there and so does the strategic management.

Niraj Chaturvedi
Academic Associate
IIM Ahmedabad

Source: E-mail February 22, 2006


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