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Are you ready for Strategic Planning?

The new CEO

Imagine you are on the board of a large multi-national diversified company that has experienced a substantial reduction in profits in the past 2 years and the board has fired the CEO as a result.

The company's problems appear to be the result of a combination of changing competitive conditions and loose cost control, and the organisation needs to be 'turned round' quickly to avoid disaster.

You have been asked to find a replacement. You have located a candidate of outstanding personal abilities, but her experience so far has been limited to the management of a medium-sized single-product company.

After her interview with the board there are two opposing points of view:

  • Firstly, that strategy was common to all companies and the fact that her experience was confined to a medium-sized company did not matter.
  • Secondly, that there was too much difference between the two types of organisation for a successful CEO of a medium-sized company to be successful.
Questions

1. Do you think that the applicant should be given the job?

YES
NO

2. Do you think that there is sufficient information to make an informed judgement?

YES
NO

You answered question 1 incorrectly and question 2 correctly.

Most people reply Yes to the first question and No to the second. They are wrong on both counts.

Although you answered one question correctly, it is likely that you did so for the wrong reasons.

The first question revolves around the difference between business and corporate strategy. The applicant has experience of business strategy, which is concerned with effective selling in markets, but no experience of corporate strategy, which is concerned with managing a diversified portfolio, dealing with shareholders, resolving conflicts among divisional CEOs, managing acquisitions and mergers and operating on the international scene. There is clearly a degree of urgency in dealing with the situation and she does not have time to learn on the job. Personal qualities are unlikely to be a substitute for experience at the corporate level.

The second question is concerned with identifying relevant information. You could have been supplied with pages of company history, accounts and further information about the candidate. But it all boils down to the central issue of business and corporate strategy. It is a common misconception that you need a lot of information to arrive at a decision. In fact, you need to understand and recognise the underlying conceptual issues in order to cut through the confusion of everyday life.

How do you learn to think like this?

If you had studied Strategic Planning the answer would be glaringly obvious.

The purpose of the six core subject courses in the Edinburgh Business School MBA programme is to provide you with the tools necessary to understand the world, while Strategic Planning is designed to train you to use these tools to address strategic issues.

Like most people, you answered Yes to the first question and No to the second. You are wrong on both counts.

The first question revolves around the difference between business and corporate strategy. The applicant has experience of business strategy, which is concerned with effective selling in markets, but no experience of corporate strategy, which is concerned with managing a diversified portfolio, dealing with shareholders, resolving conflicts among divisional CEOs, managing acquisitions and mergers and operating on the international scene. There is clearly a degree of urgency in dealing with the situation and she does not have time to learn on the job. Personal qualities are unlikely to be a substitute for experience at the corporate level.

The second question is concerned with identifying relevant information. You could have been supplied with pages of company history, accounts and further information about the candidate. But it all boils down to the central issue of business and corporate strategy. It is a common misconception that you need a lot of information to arrive at a decision. In fact, you need to understand and recognise the underlying conceptual issues in order to cut through the confusion of everyday life.

How do you learn to think like this?

If you had studied Strategic Planning the answer would be glaringly obvious.

The purpose of the six core subject courses in the Edinburgh Business School MBA programme is to provide you with the tools necessary to understand the world, while Strategic Planning is designed to train you to use these tools to address strategic issues.

You answered both questions correctly.

Most people reply Yes to the first question and No to the second. They are wrong on both counts.

Although you answered the questions correctly, it is likely that you did so for the wrong reasons.

The first question revolves around the difference between business and corporate strategy. The applicant has experience of business strategy, which is concerned with effective selling in markets, but no experience of corporate strategy, which is concerned with managing a diversified portfolio, dealing with shareholders, resolving conflicts among divisional CEOs, managing acquisitions and mergers and operating on the international scene. There is clearly a degree of urgency in dealing with the situation and she does not have time to learn on the job. Personal qualities are unlikely to be a substitute for experience at the corporate level.

The second question is concerned with identifying relevant information. You could have been supplied with pages of company history, accounts and further information about the candidate. But it all boils down to the central issue of business and corporate strategy. It is a common misconception that you need a lot of information to arrive at a decision. In fact, you need to understand and recognise the underlying conceptual issues in order to cut through the confusion of everyday life.

How do you learn to think like this?

If you had studied Strategic Planning the answer would be glaringly obvious.

The purpose of the six core subject courses in the Edinburgh Business School MBA programme is to provide you with the tools necessary to understand the world, while Strategic Planning is designed to train you to use these tools to address strategic issues.

You answered question 1 correctly and question 2 incorrectly.

Most people reply Yes to the first question and No to the second. They are wrong on both counts.

Although you answered one question correctly, it is likely that you did so for the wrong reasons.

The first question revolves around the difference between business and corporate strategy. The applicant has experience of business strategy, which is concerned with effective selling in markets, but no experience of corporate strategy, which is concerned with managing a diversified portfolio, dealing with shareholders, resolving conflicts among divisional CEOs, managing acquisitions and mergers and operating on the international scene. There is clearly a degree of urgency in dealing with the situation and she does not have time to learn on the job. Personal qualities are unlikely to be a substitute for experience at the corporate level.

The second question is concerned with identifying relevant information. You could have been supplied with pages of company history, accounts and further information about the candidate. But it all boils down to the central issue of business and corporate strategy. It is a common misconception that you need a lot of information to arrive at a decision. In fact, you need to understand and recognise the underlying conceptual issues in order to cut through the confusion of everyday life.

How do you learn to think like this?

If you had studied Strategic Planning the answer would be glaringly obvious.

The purpose of the six core subject courses in the Edinburgh Business School MBA programme is to provide you with the tools necessary to understand the world, while Strategic Planning is designed to train you to use these tools to address strategic issues.

Please answer the questions before submitting your answers.

Please answer both of the questions before submitting your answers.

Please answer both of the questions before submitting your answers.

Please answer both of the questions before submitting your answers.

Please answer both of the questions before submitting your answers.