Strategic Thinking

Strategic Thinking

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Strategic Thinking
Many city departments in other states have faced similar issues as the Houston Public Library. The Houston Public Library can benchmark those companies that have demonstrated strategic thinking to resolve parallel issues. Strategic thinking is the approach in which group in an organization think about, access, view, and creates the future for themselves and their associates. It is more than responding to day-to-day as well as long-term problems, opportunities, and new realities; it is creating tomorrow. Strategic thinking is not reactive, but proactive. It focuses on how to create a better future by being proactive and adding value to society-through the accomplishment of high payoff results. Strategic thinking always involves change, and often, profound personal change. It is a change in ones mindset. Strategic thinking is imagining the results one wants to achieve in the future and creating an ideal future by defining and achieving results that adds values to the company. The Houston Public Library can also review how the Houston Zoo went from a city department to a private foundation. Strategy, in business, is the combination of foresight, planning, and decision-making that prepares an enterprise to achieve long-term goals and manage the consequences of contemporary decisions.
When creating a strategy the firm needs to decide on both short-term and long-term objectives. The qualities of effective short-term objectives are measurable, priorities, and must be linked to the long-term objectives. Short-term objectives added benefits of values to the firm. Company needs to implement an action plan by giving personnel a better understanding of his or her role in the mission of the firm. When invested in the vision of the company, the employees feel value and pride in helping to achieving the goals.
Determining the company’s needs is the first step when deciding on a long-term objective. Secondly, the company needs to assemble the critical internal and external information. The internal information is free; however; the company will needs to budget for the external information. The company then needs to create a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis gives the company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that affect the company. A SWOT analysis is a critical, simple representation that provides direction and serves as a foundation for the expansion of a marketing plan.

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The analysis accomplishes this by assessing the SWOT elements of an organization. The SWOT analysis is an important step in planning and the value of the plan is often underestimated despite the straightforwardness in creation. The role of the SWOT analysis is to take the information from the environmental analysis and separate it into internal issues and external issues. The SWOT analysis determines if the information indicates something that will assist the firm in accomplishing the objectives, or indicates obstacle that must be overcome or minimized to achieve the desired results for the firm.
A broad move toward a goal that guides a company’s key action is a grand strategy. “Grand strategies indicate the time period over which long-range objectives are to be achieved. Thus, a grand strategy can be defined as a comprehensive general approach that guides a firm’s major action” (Pearce & Robinson, 2004, p. 200). A company can uses one, some, or a mixture of the 15 principal grand strategies to provide as the basis for achieving the main long-term objectives of a singe firm. The strategies are: concentrated growth, market development, product development, innovation, horizontal integration, vertical integration, concentric diversification, conglomerate diversification, turnaround, divestiture, liquidation, bankruptcy, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and consortia. A company has to research and select the best grand strategy for the firm.
In the past decade there is a movement to privatize some city departments. “In 2002, the Houston Zoo privatized, which gives it the flexibility and the internal leadership to allow it to go from being a good regional zoo to being a true community asset and destination of choice” (Houston, 2008, para. 2). The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; El Paso, Texas; and Honolulu, Hawaii are a few that has turned to privatization. As with anything new there will be supporter and non-supporter for the change. Many questions are raised on both sides of the fence. One main concern is the protection of city employees. Another concern is who will bear the legal responsibility for the department.
“Contrary to popular belief, many of the best zoos in the nation are run by private, not-for-profit institutions. Over the years, more and more municipalities have found their zoos too costly and too cumbersome to run” (Wade, 1998, p. 4). Because the Houston Public Library is also a not-for-profit institution, it would benefit from going totally private. Currently, the library is support with both city and private dollars. The Houston Public Library already has several private foundations supporting different programs and raising money for the capital improvement. For example, in December 2003, the Friends of Neighborhood Libraries was created to raise funds for additional land building upgrades. The nonprofit organization raised $1 million in four months to purchase the land next door to the current Looscan Library located at 2510 Willowick. In total the foundation dedicated 98 percent of the $2.5 million donation to the new Looscan Neighborhood Library.
The moral here is simple: it can be done. Private enterprises can, will, and have taken over services that the government vacates. Unlike other city department, the Houston Public Library is not very profitable, when compared to Municipal Courts, Public Works and Engineering, or the Houston Police Department. The above mentioned department has the largest percentage of the fiscal year budge, whereas the library budget is only around three percent of the total budget. For the Houston Public Library to achieve the goal of being a world class library, privatization is one way in which this can be achieved. The library would no longer have to fight other entity within the city for a slice of the pie. Privatization would give the library greater freedom to expand without depending solely on taxpayer funds.
References
Houston Zoo. (2008). Support the Zoo. Retrieved March 2, 2008, from http://www.houstonzoo.org
Pearce, J. A., & Robinson, R. B. Jr. (2004). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation, and control (9th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin
Wade, K. (1998). It’s a jungle out there: What we can learn from the privatization of zoos. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.enterstageright.com
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