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Six Priorities That Make a Great Strategic Plan

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Essay title: Six Priorities That Make a Great Strategic Plan

I. Summary:

Article 9.

Lippitt, Mary Burner. "Six Priorities That Make a Great Strategic Plan."

Journal of Business Strategy (Jan.-Feb. 2003): 21-24. Rpt. in Annual

Editions. Ed. Fred H. Maidment. 13th ed. Management 05/06. Dubuque:

McGraw, 2005. 54-57.

When a company is not successful in prioritizing, it is more likely to fail or fall behind in competition. Lippitt’s “Six Priorities That Make a Great Strategic Plan” explains the best way a business can prioritize its time in order to reach a higher assurance of success. Lippitt begins her article with a brief discussion of Iridium, an unsuccessful telecom company who focused all of its resources on just one priority- becoming the technological leader. Iridium started off ahead of its competitors in 1985 when it opened for business. Iridium focuses solely on providing the most technologically advanced product and neglected to look at varying factors while weighing costs and benefits. Iridium succeeded in creating the most technologically advanced product, but it was also the most expensive and bulkiest product of its time. Because of this, Iridium filed for bankruptcy a year later. Another company, Globalstar, was months behind Iridium, but focused on a strategic plan which incorporated all six priorities making Lippitt’s six desired outcomes which are important to achieve a great strategic plan and in turn, a successful business. These six priorities are product leadership; customer focus; infrastructure development; efficiency, quality, and return; a workforce advantage; and tracking the external environment.

II. Main Points:

• Keeping products/services up-to-date and/or being state-of-the-art.

a. It is important to analyze and ask the correct questions in order to extend product range.

i. What are the options, new alternatives, and synergies?

ii. If there were no constraints, what could we do?

iii. How can we take our existing procedures/ methods to a new level?

iv. What has never been tried before?

v. What have we given up on in the past that might be viable now?

• Gaining and maintaining market share and/or serving customers.

a. Centers on the customer, market share, and meeting customer expectations.

i. What is our competitive advantage?

ii. How can we grow our existing key customers?

iii. Who is the competition?

iv. What new customers can be targeted?

v. What is the expected market share?

• Minimizing confusion by building an infrastructure and systems to establish and sustain high performance.

a. Explores aspects from an internal systems viewpoint

i. What are the risks?

ii. What is the best distribution channel?

iii. Are there potential partners or allies?

iv. Are our current systems capable of sustained excellence?

v. How should the structure/governance change to deliver results?

• Improving processes and procedures for efficiency, quality, and return.

a. Digs into the details to discover whether an option can build a sustainable business

i. Is the option financially viable in the short and long term?

ii. What economics of scale exist?

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