Creating Value, Second Edition: Successful Business by Shiv S Mathur, Alfred Kenyon

By Shiv S Mathur, Alfred Kenyon

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Example text

That definition should not however be an absolute or unchanging constraint, nor does it justify all proposals that fall within it18, nor is that definition itself a strategy, as that term is used in this book. These broad formulations beg many questions, not least what is meant by a ‘company’ or ‘a business’ and its financial objectives, but they will be answered as we progress through Chapters 2 and 3. The macroeconomic environment Managers should of course conduct the usual financial analysis before deciding to adopt or retain a competitive offering.

Where managers are said to be short termist, they are invariably believed to pay excessive attention to the financial markets, for example by giving undue priority to dividends and not enough to their commercial markets. Generally, short termism is induced by a belief that the company’s current financial performance is so poor as to expose it to hostile takeover or bankruptcy. It is in the commercial markets that a longer view is needed; for we cannot successfully compete for customer preferences today unless we planned and invested in a winning strategy some years ago.

They may in other words be tempted to use what they see as the language of perfection to describe imperfect practice. We might caricature them as saying: ‘If we do not have time to think long-term, let us call our expedients ‘strategies’: the in-word may make up for our omissions. Better still, let ‘strategy’ describe not what we set out to do, but what we have found our actual practice to be’. The process is a comforting one. If any managerial conduct qualifies for the grand word ‘strategy’, no one is left out in the cold.

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