Magazine article Training & Development Journal

Strategy: A Primer

Magazine article Training & Development Journal

Strategy: A Primer

Article excerpt

Strategy: a Primer

Dedication, organization, and the ability to communicate are essential for a successful career in the human resource field. But in today's business environment, training and development professionals need to be more than competent in their functional roles. They also need to understand the overall strategic framework in which their businesses operate. Only with that understanding can they gain the credibility to access the decision-making process inside a company. Only with a knowledge of strategic frameworks, competitive pressures, and company goals can a training professional be a major player on the organizational field.

Being part of the strategic loop means giving up the job of full-time firefighter, a role often assigned to those left to deal with the unexpected repercussions of a strategic decision after the fact.

Firefighters are expendable. In lean times, their role can be assumed by a substitute who can step in and hose down the flash fires. Not part of the fabric of the organization, not as essential as operations or sales, firefighters are the first to go.

Of course, being a trainer will always involve some part-time firefighting, because the trainer is an organizational problem solver. But when training becomes a regular part of the strategic-management process, it will fit into the organization's long-range picture.

To make the transition from firefighters to strategic players, trainers must understand the thinking behind the strategic process. What is the organization's approach to strategic planning? Does the organization use a particular strategic framework? Understanding the organization's strategic process can unlock opportunities to influence organizational strategy and to use the training function as a tool for driving organizational growth and facilitating change.

The overarching vision

The word "strategy" is from the Greek strategos. It has its roots in military parlance. Translated as "the art of the general," it was originally used to describe the grand design behind a war or battle.

Business has adopted the term and applied it to concepts such as long-range planning and the management of resources needed to achieve the goals and objectives of such plans. Often, short-term decisions that may have long-term effects are described as strategic. The term has even edged its way into everyday conversation, as people chart the tactics they will use to tackle a problem.

In this supplement, strategy is defined as a broadscale plan for operating in a competitive environment to achieve organizational goals. An organizational strategy provides the overarching vision for implementing a successful campaign to realize goals, and provides a backdrop for tactical decisions made in pursuit of a goal. …

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