The traditional approach to strategic planning at the level of the firm, involving targets for profitability, quantitative forecasts, gap‐closing strategic‐moves (cost reduction, strategic investments etc.) and finally implementation or resource‐ deployment, has often been criticised on both practical and philosophical grounds. Perhaps one of the best known critiques of this conventional approach is the article by Hayes (1985). He suggests that competent strategic management of the firm in today's competitive environment in fact involves a complete reversal of the underlying “goals‐ways‐means” sequence of traditional planning, so that the principle task of strategic managers now becomes first the creation of a competent organisation (i.e. means) in which the fullest possible potential of all resources is realised. Only then, it is argued, can a coherent strategy (ways) and strategic vision (ends) really emerge in practice.
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