By Professor Suresh Cuganesan, Professor in Organisational Control and Performance
Post GFC many organizational leaders are focused on short-term performance gains, extracting costs out of their business and optimizing growth opportunities within their existing business models – trying to extract more value out of their existing customer base and product and service portfolios. These are important to do and need to be done properly. However, in many cases this is not enough. One of the crucial lessons that has emerged from the past few years of extreme economic uncertainty is that business leadership models of the past need rethinking.
Today’s business leaders need to be able to adapt to changing conditions, especially when those changes are going to continue at the pace we have recently seen. This means leaders need to be able to formulate and execute strategy, but also need to be able to adapt and evolve their business model choices. That is why the concept of strategic agility is rapidly becoming critical for sustaining high-performance in dynamic operating environments.
Technology can often be a game-changer. We see this across a number of industries and it is now having impacts a lot closer to home, in universities. The appearance of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their rapid uptake is causing significant consternation amongst senior executives at universities around the world – how do we operate in a world where high quality educational content is freely available? What should our value proposition be? And how do we optimise use of our physical infrastructure in this technology enabled world?
Changing customer and market preferences (just think of businesses in BRW’s Fast100 list that tap into sustainability imperatives) and new competitive dynamics (Big Pharma versus generics and continued growth of information aggregators) represent major forces for change. These are the reason that the University of Sydney Business School is passionate about teaching tomorrow’s business leaders the importance of strategic agility.
Having the ability to adapt, often at extremely short notice, can mean the difference between success and failure. Understanding the fundamentals of rapidly implementing strategic responses to market movements, and the effective use of information, are both vital to achieving the flexibility that the modern business landscape demands.
The Strategies for Growth unit in our MBA program delves deeply into the importance of the strategic lifecycle, from formulation to critical analysis, to execution and delivery of value, and blends this with forward-looking agile thinking. To deliver this, we team up with leading industry figures to enable us to open doors for our MBA participants to put theory into practice with hands-on, real-world situations.