Educating leaders for a new hallmark of strategic management

28 April 2016 4 min. read

Across industries and regions business models are facing major disruption, and in the slipstream of change corporate strategies can be found in a state of flux. Amid the rise of emerging, major trends, a new hallmark of strategic management is coming to the stage, and for leaders seeking to lead the way, embracing more modern and agile ways of strategic management is key.

The rapid change seen in external environments is challenging, undermining, and disrupting how businesses operate. Structural developments such as globalisation, increased competition and changing consumer behaviour, coupled with the rise of digital technologies  – including underlying streams such as the cloud, the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 – are placing companies in an increasingly dynamic environment of threats and opportunities.

A new recipe for strategy
As a result companies in almost every sector are forced to re-examine their strategies, making the need for strategic management, according to many, more important than ever. The renaissance of corporate strategy in boardrooms, displacing the years of focus on post-crisis austerity, however, comes with a different recipe compared to its previous peak a decade or so ago. Just as the environment has evolved, strategy has also evolved along with modern-age fundamentals, and much of its groundwork has been refined to meet today’s demands of strategic decision-makers. As the business world spins faster, the use of interconnectedness has continued its massive growth, technology has turned into innovation’s heartbeat, and much-changed workforce expectations have taken to the stage.

Lately there has been much research into recent evolution; global business consulting firm BCG for instance found that successful strategies are more than ever determined by corporate agility, while another study by A.T. Kearney found that nowadays a great strategy builds on shorter horizons (three to five years) compared to 10 years ago. Yet while most executives understand the significance of these and other changes, few leaders have determined exactly how their organisation’s strategy needs to be repositioned in response. And one step down the line strategy execution has, in part following ambiguity at the top, become even more of a challenge with two-thirds of executives acknowledging that their organisations lack the suite of capabilities needed to support their strategy.

Building knowledge and skills
In a bid to support executives stay ahead of the game, the Executive Education department at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has developed a new, tailor-made programme that centres on the corporate strategy realm. The track, titled ‘Erasmus Executive Programme in Strategic Management’, is according to Tom Mom, professor of strategic entrepreneurship at RSM, the only European-based programme that offers a certification in strategic management, and one that builds on years of “cutting-edge research and practical insight” gained in the field.

Spread across 11 evening sessions in the space of around three months, the programme provides participants with the knowledge and skills, as well as broad analytical concepts, tools and the mindset required for a successful career in strategic positions. Upon completion, participants – executives and senior managers either in or preparing for top management positions – will, according to Mom, be able to craft strategic plans for sustainable competitive advantage, apply strategic skills and bring concepts into implementation through alignment with people, systems, and cultures.

The Erasmus Executive Programme in Strategic Management consists of 11 building blocks, with each module providing a walk-through of a key component of the realm. A number of modules look into how strategic management can boost competitiveness and innovation capacity, while several others explore how strategy should be translated into workable plans, considering the likes of organisational structure, managerial capabilities, financial performance, organisational agility and company culture. Internalisation and market expansion are on the agenda of two other modules, while also corporate venturing, entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility and learning, form building blocks of the programme. 

The programme kicks off in September this year, with the selection procedure open until the summer. Among the lecturers contributing are Marc Baaij (associate professor of strategic management), Henk Volberda (professor of strategic management and business policy), Justin Jansen (professor of corporate entrepreneurship) and Jatinder Sidhu (associate professor of strategic management).

See the website of RSM Executive Education for more information about the Strategic Management programme.