Konstantin Y. Smolentsev
Ph.D., the Academician of IIA, ÑÌÑ
Chairman of Board of directors
IC “SMOLENTSEV & Partners”
I, as a practicing business consultant working on questions of strategic management, want to emphasize managers’ attention on the most important aspects – their role in MANAGING THE PROCESS of developing a strategy and distributing work and responsibilities when developing a plan on strategic development among invited professional consultants and employees of a company.
It’s obvious that extremes do not give a desirable result. Independent development of the plan for strategic development with forces of only employees results often enough in formalization and strengthening opinions of formal and informal leaders or opposition groups. Or at absence of interest to a given document, previously listed persons – simply operative planning, based on yesterdays’ results for a bit longer, than quarter, term. We see it everywhere looking at numerous examples of “Development plans”, collecting dust on managers’ desks.
Development with the forces of only invited consultants – often reminds of five year plans for development of strong developed socialism times. With the same degree of subsequent performance. Once I was given to review a strategic plan for development, developed by teachers of one of the most respected capital university for one Ural region just organized agrarian company. For fifty thousand dollars, not even once traveling to the region and communicating only through phone, after four months a “Plan”, which was sent by mail, was laying on the manager’s desk, in accordance to which in only five years the company would become a European (!) leader in the branch of cultivation of some agricultures. Everything seemed great but the company had neither money nor land…
In my opinion, role of a manager in the process of strategic planning is important not only in MANDATORY participation, not only in MANDATORY problem statement, but also MANDATORY MANAGING THE PROCESS of development, understanding that strategic planning is an element of strategic management, one of the main and most important problems of the manager. And the process of development (that’s mandatory!) has to immediately become the process of implementation and using mid results, correction of operative plans, redistribution of functions, responsibilities, finances. Simultaneously, a new problem for managers has to occur on creation of a working mechanism of support of organizational changes. And then operated process of development itself starts to render serious return influence on developers of the plan, on its reality and equation. This mutually developing process is also the mortgage of success for strategic planning and management. To operate the process is a problem for the manager not less complex, than statement of problems.
The example of development of the Plan for strategic development in one of the agricultural group of companies is very indicative. When given the project to develop such plan and having expectations to get a beautiful document fast, it is good that directors of the company were wise enough to listen to our urgent recommendations, to actively participate in diagnostics and development, to head the created Council on strategic development (CSD), imply in operative activity the Mechanism of Active Innovative Self-development (MAISD), involve in development along with consultants not only formal but also informal leaders, perspective youth. And that is considering the fact of seasonal prevalence of business and far distances between locations of Group enterprises. And as a result today, in one and a half years – almost full restructure of business, active development of international cooperation, optimized credit debt, project financing by a bank, active use of financial instruments, sharply increased efficiency, preparation for an output on IPO, also what is important – the General Director has achieved with the team certain point when he can afford to focus on strategic development of the business, not on elimination of operative problems.
That is the value and importance of managing the process. When besides getting planned result – quality WORKING document, the company is experiencing VISIBLE organizational changes improving functioning of business today.
July 10, 2007.