Why strategy is easier planned than implemented
Innovation Profile:Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD: A new UCD course aims to help business leaders bridge the gap between strategy making and executiion
The need for business managers to keep pace with a rapidly-changing competitive landscape is the driving force behind the new Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD.
Designed by Prof Pat Gibbons, academic director of UCD Executive Education, it offers people the latest knowledge, applied research and best practices, and is aimed at helping business leaders bridge the gap between strategy making and successful strategy execution.
Commencing in February, the new programme was developed following research carried out by UCD among CEOs and senior talent directors. “We were looking to identify gaps in the market to inform us in terms of what was need in terms of new programmes,” Prof Gibbons explains.
“We found that the area of strategic thinking, strategy development, designing more innovative organisations and the execution of strategy were key challenges facing industry located here. This was a consistent finding across sectors. So we design-ed this programme to address that need.”
The emphasis is very much on the practical with the programme being delivered on Fridays and Saturdays over six weekends to enable working executives balance the course and the pressures of their jobs.
The programme is built around six modules, with the first looking at the role of the strategic leader and how individuals can introduce and develop strategic initiatives in their organisations. The second module focuses on the trends that will influence and transform the business landscape over the coming decade.
The third module addresses and evaluates how value is created in the marketplace and how a firm’s competitive position can be defended. The final three modules then looks at how the senior management team works and should work; what its agenda should be and how to improve its effectiveness.
“A key part of strategy is the commitment of resources and funds to projects and this is addressed in the fourth module, as is the concept of real options,” says Gibbons. “The final module addresses key implementation issues, where strategy changes require organisational changes.”
A great plan on paper can and frequently does fail in execution. The new programme will look at both sides of the equation, examining challenges such as information sharing, knowledge transfer and the management of culture, where many promising strategies fall short.
The course is designed to help participants devise, monitor and lead strategies, and learn the ways and means to make their strategies work, and the major focus is consequently on the strategy element.
“We will look at how firms compete, and how managers can position their companies for success in the short to medium term. This will include dealing with questions such as how to design an organisation to be flexible, innovative and competitive for the long term. This is vitally important because what makes a company successful today may not work tomorrow. Companies need to be innovative and dynamic in order to respond to change.”