How to Win: Strategic Options Assessment and Recommendation

“Strategy means making clear-cut choices about how to compete. You cannot be everything to everybody, no matter what the size of your business or how deep its pockets.”

– Jack Welch –

Whew! You have generated some great insights about the Playing Field and Competitors and your own Organization from the work you did in Assignment 1 (attached for reference). Now you will transition from looking back to looking ahead and develop the primary “How to Win” strategy that will be your game-winning move!

Your CEO has clarified that you need to think expansively and recommend a Move that is transformative rather than incremental. To help with this, you have decided to consider each of the seven common winning moves outlined in the Week 6 lecture, and intend to pick one of them as your preferred game winning move. This is an exciting opportunity to actually create the plan instead of just execute the plan and thus you want to do your best work.

You know that your Game Winning Move will be a decisive choice for the company. But in choosing this Move (as is the case with any strategic initiative), the company will risk money and resources. If your Move is the right one, you will grow sales and profits and beat your competitors! If your Move is the wrong one, you risk disappointing your investors and letting your competitors gain competitive advantage. Given the importance of this Move, you want to evaluate each of the seven Moves and do a deep dive on the attractiveness and feasibility and risks of your chosen Move.

Your CEO is expecting an executive brief in Week 8 that summarizes your analysis of the Move you feel offers the most potential.

Instructions for Assignment 2

Important note: We are striving to help you create game-winning moves, and not just evaluate other people’s game winning moves. For this Assignment, do NOT recommend a Move that is identical or very similar to a real-life example for your company. As an example, don’t recommend that Tesla/Apple/Google/Uber/etc. invest in self-driving car technology or recommend that CVS acquire Aetna as those are all in the public domain. Instead, recommend a Move that is novel and innovative for your company (Air Products & Chemicals www.airproducts.com).

Prepare an executive brief for your CEO which provides the following information:

1. Opening paragraph summarizing the purpose and content of this brief.

2. Consider the applicability and attractiveness of each of the 7 common winning moves (from the Week Six lecture notes (attached)) for your organization (Air Products) and your competitive situation in your chosen Playing Field. List your top three most attractive Moves in order from most attractive to least attractive.

3. For your most attractive Move, provide specifics about the Move you would recommend. For example, if you chose acquisition, who might you buy? If you chose geographic expansion, where would you expand? If you chose discontinuous innovation, what would the innovation be? Explain why you think it will generate financially attractive growth (which includes both incremental revenue growth and commensurate incremental profit growth).

4. How does this Move align (or conflict) with your key strength/weakness identified in your Playing Field template?

5. Most Moves require investments of resources and money. What are some significant investments that would be required to implement this move? Note, we are not looking for dollar figures; instead, we are looking for the key categories of investments (like hiring people, investing in new capabilities, or building new manufacturing plants, etc.)

6. Most Moves have risks that need to be considered. What are the most significant risks and what is your recommended risk mitigation plan?

7. How do you think the competition will react to your Move?

8. Conclude with a final paragraph or two which includes a summary of your Game Winning Move and conclusions on the above topics.

Formatting and Submission Requirements

• The executive brief submission should be 2 to 3 pages (not including the cover page or appendixes/references page.

• Typed, single-spaced, professional font (size 10 – 12) with one-inch margins on all sides.

• Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, your name, professor’s name, and the course title and date.

• Include a references page at the end documenting sources and citations used. You must cite three or more current media sources.

• Use headings to identifymain topics and subtopics.

• You are welcome to include charts, tables, and graphs in-text or in an appendix.

• Develop and support your research with facts and in-text citations, appendixes, and references.

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