The Review of Strategy as Revolution
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Entrepreneurs and managers require a strategic plan in the running of the business organizations so that they may not lose sight of their business objectives. Entrepreneurs are the innovators in the business. They are the ones who identify a business opportunity, they co ordinate the use of resources in the implementation of the business opportunity and eventually they come up with the best mechanism to implement the business idea. A strategy simply means a plan to do something. It refers to a course of action designed to achieve certain set objectives. A good strategy should stimulate change and should serve as a framework in decision making body of the business. Revolution on the other hand refers to the development and adoption of better and more advanced methods of running a business organization (McDonald, 2007, pp. 98).
In the article ‘Strategy and Revolution’, Gary Hamel classifies companies into three categories in the business world. These include; the rule makers, the rule takers and the rule breakers also known as industry revolutionaries. According to him, the rule makers are the ones who pioneer the building of the industry at all times. They are the creators of industries and they protect the identity of the business (Yodfat & Ohanah, 2001, pp. 51). The rule takers on the other hand reflect the goals and objectives of the rule makers. They also try and implement the objectives put across. Eventually there are the rule breakers who revolutionize the entire industry or a section in it. They overturn the industrial order and they are the radical thinkers who revolutionize the industry.
Hamel’s argument is that industries need to act fast and work harder to improve the industry .He believes that this can only be achieved by managers incorporating more innovative ideas and learning to think outside the box. This will safeguard the company’s position in the industry ecosystem and safeguard it from losing its market shares to its competitors. According to the article, there are ten key principles that companies in any given industry should follow in order to become revolutionized. In Gary’s opinion, strategy development is a revolutionary action in an organization. According to him, it is a result of radical thinking and some risk taking on the part of the company. He further argues that radical thinking is mandatory in finding and establishing new market places to trade in .He goes on to say that revolution is important in securing a place in the market place in this era of globalization and digitalization. Hamel believes that for one to be strategic, they must have a great imagination that they are willing to exercise as well as a creative mind. He further stipulates that strategic thinkers are risk takers who are not afraid to take chances and are also not afraid to be wrong (Barney, 2001, pp. 64).
Gary does not refute the fact that traditional business aspects that have been used over the years are inefficient. But, it is his opinion that those old management models are no longer equipped to solve the current problems that are arising with the new century. He further says that speed and creativity are mandatory for survival in this era where global competition is prevalent. Gary implies that in the days to come, talent will be more valuable than any title and that the emergence of the internet will act as a catalyst for the 21st century management. He emphasizes on the importance of the internet to organizations stating that it will not only help the managers in managing, but also it will assist in the organization of work and records. Hamel in his article points out that the world is changing at a very fast rate and we have to move at the same pace in order to be able to reinvent ourselves and our businesses. He emphasizes on the need of people becoming flexible in order to accommodate the fast adaptation and change. With each day that comes, companies are made to face new sets of challenges in every sector. Therefore companies must be equipped to handle them in the best way to avoid future failure in the business. Gary states that some of the changes affecting the industry are; technological upheaval where the technology in the world is growing at an alarming rate. Therefore, managers have to try and keep up with the emerging trends in order to maintain their standards in the market, globalization, deregulation and society change (Keller, 2003, pp. 85). Despite this, he lays the blame on the companies as in his opinion they are responsible for harnessing the changes that are causes revolution through their actions (Hamel & O’Neal, 1998, pp. 91).
Gary gives principles which he believes will enable a company to revolutionize. He also believes that these principles will assist managers to discover revolutionary strategies. However, it’s up to the company to read, analyze and interpret them so that they can be able to apply them with respect to their own individual understanding. Companies must rethink their strategies and create room for diversification. Companies must look for ways and means of adding value to the company by using the creativity and inspiration of its employees. This is to enable the company to add value per capita as compared to its competitors in the industry ecosystem (Koontz, 2000, pp. 69).
2. The theoretical underpinnings of the article
This refers to the set of ideas that form the basis of something. The article was inspired by the fast changing environment necessitating the author to write it. It aims at psychologically preparing managers and company owners for the chances that are to take place and their effects. Gary Hamel illustrates how the industrial revolution is creeping in the society. He also shows the impact this revolution is expected to have on business organizations and the society at large (Ambachtsheer, 2007, pp. 45). Gary, in his article tries to give companies what he believes is sound advice on how to revolutionize and avoid losing their market share to the competitors. He argues that if companies are reluctant to implement revolutionary ideas in their strategy making, then other more willing companies will do it leaving them stuck on the old management strategies .In his article, Gary uses illustrations that aim at proving to companies that if they do not revert to more innovative management strategies, they will be overtaken by their competitors (Brown, 1997, pp. 68).
Gary further stipulates the importance of teamwork in an organization. He emphasizes the importance of employees and stakeholders being united. He urges managers to be responsive to their employees and take their input in the company seriously. He also urges manager to stop making the assumption that the employees will resist change and implement them. He reminds the managers that they are responsible for the outcome of the company and they must therefore do what they know is right and will benefit the business (Dochartaigh, 2007, pp. 73). Gary discourages the management from avoiding interacting with their juniors since this is the only way they will know for sure which changes are worth implementing and to which areas. In his opinion, he thinks that the executives need to include the three constituencies in the company when making strategies for the company. These three constituencies include; the young people, stake holders and new comers. This he believes will lead to revolutionary companies as these new inclusions to the strategy table will offer fresh perspective to the company (Henderson, 2008, pp. 68).
Gary talks of the unpredictable nature of the world. He cautions companies from being inflexible as they will have to change with the changing world to keep up with the rest of the world. He further urges businesses to thoroughly challenge and revise their business models to test their relevance to them. He believes that progress is not only possible rather it is inevitable. With the new revolution, Gary Hamel believes and hopes that soon the companies will be more transparent and open and that democracy will prevail eventually. He looks forward to the time when decisions regarding project and investments will be made collectively by employees in a company contrary to the usual handful of executives who make vital decisions pertaining to the business. Hamel argues the importance of looking to the future in order to avoid being pulled down by the methodologies of the past. He urges managers to aim at creating an organization that can thrive and make decisions in the future. He acknowledges the fact that coming up with new untested strategies is taking a risk but once it is successful, it will boost the company to higher levels in the industry ecosystem (Schmetterer, 2003, pp. 74).
Hamel hopes to help companies to learn to use their imagination first rather than rushing to create new rules, businesses and industries. This, he believes, will help the companies understand the industrial landscape. Hamel believes that the article will motivate innovation at each sector of the industry and it will give insight to companies on the rewards that come with revolutionary thinking (Hamel, 2002, pp. 67).
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses in the article?
The article basically argues that within each organization there exists a strategy revolutionary. He emphasizes that every business director needs to try and identify who they are so that they can be able to nurture them into becoming integral parts of the organization’s strategic docket. However, the article fails to explain the importance of identifying the skills and also the main identifiers to be used (Hamel & Breen, 2007, pp. 87).
Gary encourages companies to be risk takers since he believes for one to revolutionize, they must be willing to think radically and imaginatively. This is a weakness in the article because if the extent of radical thinking is not carefully controlled, it can cost the company a lot sometimes leading to instances of bankruptcy and closure of the company (Hamel, 1996, pp. 54).
However, on the other hand, by encouraging people within a company to think outside the box, they could end up unveiling great discoveries that could change the face of the industry forever. This is a major strength in the article and should not be taken lightly.
Strength of Gary Hamel’s article is that he emphasizes on teamwork. His principles try to encourage teamwork amongst employees at all levels of the company. He believes by interacting, those in the lower levels in the organization will be able to share ideas with their superiors more easily. This will eventually lead to revolution in the company (Piana, 2008, pp. 71).
Although Gary in his article lays a lot of emphasize on radical thinking and the need to be imaginative and creative, he does not put across measures to ensure that the extent of imagination and creativity is checked. This is because different people operate at different levels of creativity and may vary in their understanding of radical thinking. This could be very dangerous for companies to indulge in and therefore he ought to have suggested ways of putting some control on this and a way to regulate it. Therefore, as much as revolution is important and mandatory for the survival of a company, it must be put in check and controlled as too much of anything is poisonous.
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