Indicate how your SSM company strategy integrates key elements of the Formulation and Implementation model (Exhibit 8.1, page 237)
Our SSM company formulated and integrated a well thought out, and dynamic strategy that involved investing in major innovations and expansion plans early, utilizing just in time inventory strategies, and maintaining capital and low debts. Our decisions to make large financial investments early were intentional to boost our market lead in two of the leading vehicle segments. The objective was to utilized innovation, dealership expansion, training plans to boost quality, financial investment strategies, just in time inventory, and direct and corporate advertising. Our differentiators included offering attributes that were top picks from market research conducted in the field such as quality, safety, and size in the family vehicle market. Our economic logic was to maintain low levels of inventory so we wouldnâ€™t have to scrap material every major or minor upgrade, invest early to gain market share with leading innovations, and manage a healthy level of debts to cash.
As a team we have worked together to gather information about the markets we compete in, such as consumer segment opportunities, competitor activities, market growth opportunities, and consumer reports. As a team we unanimously make decisions that are in the best interest of our SSM company using data and resources available.â€ Structural variables offer an implementation toolkit for identifying key levers that affect the formulation-implementation process and ensuring formulation- implementation-performance cycle.â€ (Crittenden & Crittenden, 2008, p. 304). According to Crittenden and Crittenden (2008) there are four structural levers of implementation: actions, programs, systems, and policies. Each item assists a firm in having the proper formula in place to carry out a strategy. In our SSM company we had our strategy roadmap in place that helped dictate our actions each week. Crittenden and Crittenden (2008) also provide four additional managerial skills to assist in skill related implementation levers: interacting, allocating, monitoring, and organizing. Our SSM company effectively interacted and monitored market shifts using market research conducted weekly. We also stay organized by charting out past and future moves each week. This allowed us to stick to our strategy, as well as have flexibility as competitor activities changed.
What causes the Knowing-Doing Gap?
Carpenter and Sanders (2008) define the knowing-doing gap as, â€œThe difference between what firms know and what they do.â€ (p. 238). A firm should ensure that the companyâ€™s strategy aligns with stakeholders, including lower- level managers who are carrying out and executing the strategy. When this information is not shared with the key members involved, a knowing-doing gap can occur. There are three causes provided by Carpenter and Sanders (2008) for when the knowing-doing gap can occur, (1) external and internal obstacles, (2) culture, (3) mismatches.
Obstacles can occur within a firm from both internal and external elements. It becomes critical for a firm to assess the external environment that a company engages with in order to best prepare for obstacles that may arise. In addition, internal obstacles can hinders a firmâ€™s ability to implement a sound strategy. Internal obstacles can be avoided by assessing existing resources, implementation levers, and management-action plans (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008).
The second cause of the knowing-doing gap is culture. Culture influences how a team perceives, values, and reacts to various elements within a firm. It can be challenging for an organization to change its culture if ideas and values donâ€™t mesh well. â€œRecent studies have found evidence confirming the theory that firms with strong shared values are better at implementing strategies and achieving higher levels of performance than firms with weaker values.â€ (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008, p. 239). Culture therefore becomes a critical component for a firm to maintain. Establishing a healthy and impactful culture within the organization can help bridge the knowing-doing gap.
The third cause is mismatches, which occur when strategy and implementation levers between strategic-leadership donâ€™t align (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008). It can be challenging when running a business, defining market opportunities and business strategies to achieve goals to maintain proper alignment with strategic leadership. I have witnessed this first hand in my firm as weâ€™ve tried to switch to the SAP software program. The switch from one software interface to another was a financial decision to help our firm align with the other Nordson entities. The project has taken over two-years and still hasnâ€™t been fully implemented. Many managers helping implement the change have struggled to fully grasp the complexity of the project, and how it impacts each department and the processes each group currently carries out. â€œExecutives who are responsible for formulating strategy are often prone to making overly optimistic projections and downplaying the obstacles to execution.â€ (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008, p. 240). This SAP transition was a strategy formulated by stakeholders, and is now tasked to lower-level managers to carry out. There have been mismatches on how to properly carryout the project, which has extended the deadline dates as leaders continue to define the best execution strategy.
Carpenter, M.A. & Sanders, Wm., G. (2008). Strategic management: A dynamic perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Crittenden, V. L., & Crittenden, W. F. (2008). Building a capable organization: The eight levers of strategy implementation. Business Horizons,51(4), 301-309. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2008.02.003