Strategic problem or potential problem

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Reference no: EM131107631


1.      Write an analysis as if you are working in the company, and writing to the CEO.

2.      3-4 pages, 12 points, single-spaced.

3.      Use at least six sources. Two must be mainstream sources such as Wall Street Journal, Forbes, or Fortune etc.  Another needs to be from a reliable financial source so that the action plan can be financially justified.

4.      List the references at the end.

Format (use these headings for each section):

Situation:  From the case, summarize the situation and use points.  Use this section to provide information supporting your other areas like establishing the problem, causes and solutions. (Abouta quarter page or less)

  • General issues facing the company that relates to your problem. Some people use a SWOT analysis.
  • Facts and information that would you want to know for the problem and solutions.

Strategic Problem or Potential Problem: (around a quarter page+) Narrow down to ONE specific strategic problem that you will resolve later in the analysis.  Start the section with "The problem is...."  Problems and causes look alike so consider whether yours may really be a cause of some other problem. Ex: "high oil prices" is not a "problem" but a cause of high fuel costs - unless you are proposing to lower the price of oil on the oil market).  Low market share, profits, and revenues, high costs are important, but they aren't strategic. Strategic problems are specific barriers or ideas that affect these. Don't make the problem something that has already happened, since this can't be resolved. A consequence of something that has happened may be a better problem (problems can also be opportunities).

  • Specify if it is urgent.
  • Consequences of not examining this issue: "This is important because..."-do not discuss the causes here.

Causes:   Causes of problems.  (About a quarter page+)

  • Understand the systems and get to the root of the problems (causes must relate to the problem).
  • Need at least three causes. Avoid solutions

Alternative Solutions (3 of them):  Generate alternative solutions.  (About a half page+)

*The first solution will always be "do what we've been doing". Make sure to describe either what the company's current treatment of the issue, or likely current actions with respect to the issue are. It's rare that we've discovered an issue that the top executives haven't already pondered.

For each of the three Solutions:

  • First sentence: "The first (second... third) solution is..."
  • Solutions need to offer enough detail to be real alternatives. If problem is targeting younger coffee drinkers, "Investing in R&D for new flavors" and "spending more on marketing" are abstract to the point of being a waste of time reading for an executive. Don't merely offer a solution of delegating someone else to find a solution.
  • Solutions need to match the scope of the problem. If you proposed a problem for Wal-Mart such as high labor expense, suggesting a solution such as buying more comfortable chairs would need some explanation as to why this is sufficient as a stand-alone solution over something like converting to part time staffing.
  • Points of leverage for the decision makers
  • Stakeholders-Specify who will be affected and how. What will their reaction be?
  • Costs and benefits. Every solution has cost(s) as well as benefit(s).
  • Explain how each solution solves your problem as you stated it in the problem section.

Decision:  Choose one of your three solutions. Discuss why it is better than the other solutions. (6-12 sentences)

  • Explain more distinctly why your chosen decision works and why the others don't.
  • How is it consistent with the reality you established in the Situation section? What is sacrificed?

Action Plan:Implementation of your decision-How is­you going to make it happen in the firm? (About a half page or more)

  • What resistance will there be from which stakeholders, why are they resisting and how will you address it? 
  • What are the ramifications for other stakeholders?
  • What would have to be done?  (Make a "To Do List")
    • This do list always begin with "assembling a team" describe who will be on it and why.
    • Establish objectives and budget (how much does your plan cost?)
    • To do list will conclude with elements that measure progress and establish when project is finished.
    • What is the Return on Investment of your plan (not necessary for first Analysis).
    • Does this investment pay for itself? (Often times ethical choices don't have a positive ROI, but the costs still need to be outlined, and some idea of how much we can recapture from the move is helpful)
    • Explain what specifically constitutes success. "more" or "profitable" is meaningless. Define your target and explain the logic with specific financial facts and targets.

Reference no: EM131107631

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