Strategic Leadership Skills For Today’s Knowledge Economy

By channeling organizational processes into corporate strategy and employing a supportive strategy executives can continue to prosper.

Training Magazine

This article presents some very beneficial managerial implications for executives and simply extends the current business literature by showing how executives can implement an effective corporate strategy, aiming at improving knowledge management performance. Particularly, this article indicates that executives can build a suitable workplace for better implementing corporate strategy through facilitating the four strategic dimensions of analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity. I suggest that the way for executives across the globe, to make the effective changes that are posited in the four dimensions of corporate strategy.

What Corporate Strategy Is

Any organization has plans going well into the future. Strategy is a pattern of decisions and plans which are directed at interacting with the external and internal environment and effectively and efficiently allocating capabilities to achieve organizational objectives. The strategy primarily aims to develop goals and plans to restructure unclear and vague situations into a set of organizationally resolvable problems. As a result, strategy is formed to efficiently deploy capabilities and interact with environments—-both internal and external. There are different typologies of strategies, and one typology of these existing typologies (i.e. analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity) can create better results for companies when compared to others.

How Corporate Strategy Works

Venkatraman (1989), an author and scholar in the area of strategic management at Boston Universityconcentrates on the dimensions of corporate strategy, and recommends the four strategic dimensions of analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity. Analysis strategy is defined as the tendency to search for problems and their root causes and generate better alternatives to solve them. When executives analyze strategy, they can create more knowledge and find the best solution using a problematic search of various options. This strategy stimulates companies to apply information systems in their decision-making processes in order to investigate various alternatives and options. Also, executives analyze strategic milestones to meet the goals of employee development. Analysis strategy can develop opportunities for employee development through assessing current situations in detail. This strategy provides new and more innovative solutions for organizational problems as they arise.

Pro-activeness is a strategy element used by executives who take a proactive approach to search for better positions in the business environment. As executives use the pro-activeness strategy which refers to finding new opportunities and proactively responding to current challenges in external environments, they can enhance their span of control. In many ways, this strategy can provide a higher degree of knowledge through developing interactions with external environments.

Defensiveness recommends undertaking defensive behaviors that manifest themselves in enhancing efficiency and in cutting costs while maintaining continuous budget analysis and break-even points. Executives can take an offensive approach and in this case, they employ a defensive strategy. A defensive strategy utilizes modifications in order to efficiently and effectively use organizational resources, decrease costs, and control operational risk. Some executives feel that a defensive strategy, while necessary, sets a negative connotation on their span of control. A defensiveness strategic approach, in fact, enhances organizational learning through reusing commercial knowledge.

Futurity is reflected in the degree to which the strategic decision-making process takes a two-way approach—-an emphasis on both long-term effectiveness and shorter-term efficiency concurrently. Executives use futurity strategy to expand the growth opportunities available to companies to close the gap between success and failure. Futurity strategy implements basic studies to identify and actively respond to the changes that occurred in the external environment and provides better outcomes. When adopting a futurity strategy, executives can promote the knowledge utilization process by providing a series of clear guidelines for companies to track future trends in the business environment, and accordingly, conduct “what-if” analysis and allocate organizational resources.

How to Do It Right

To develop an analysis strategy, executive can develop a workplace in which there is/are:

  • Emphasis on the effective coordination among different functional areas.
  • Extensive use of information systems to support decision-making.
  • A comprehensive analysis was undertaken when confronted with an important decision.
  • Use of planning techniques.
  • Effective deployment of management information and control systems.
  • Use of manpower planning and performance appraisal of senior managers.

To cultivate a pro-activeness strategy, executives can develop a workplace in which there is/are:

  • The constant search for new opportunities.
  • Attempt to introduce new brands or products in the market.
  • The constant search for businesses that can be acquired.
  • More effective expansion of capacities when compared to our competitors.
  • Strategic elimination of those operations that are no longer profitable in later stages of life cycles.

To foster defensive strategy, executives can develop a workplace in which there is/are:

  • Regular modifications to the manufacturing/service technology.
  • Use cost control systems for monitoring performance.
  • Use of current management techniques to ensure that we move smoothly at the required level.
  • Emphasis on product/service quality through the use of work improvement teams.

To create a futurity strategy, executives can develop a workplace in which there is/are:

  • Specific criteria used for resource allocation generally reflect short-term considerations.
  • Emphasis on basic research to provide us with a competitive edge for the future.
  • Key indicators of operations forecasted.
  • Formal tracking of significant and general trends.
  • Regular analyses of critical issues.

In Conclusion

This article summarizes my experience as a senior management consultant and is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives worldwide. The key for executives is that by channeling organizational processes into corporate strategy and employing a supportive strategy executives can continue to prosper. Executives can now see how they can cultivate an effective corporate strategy, which can enable superior knowledge management performance to achieve business objectives and satisfy careers.


Venkatraman, N. (1989). Strategic orientation of business enterprises: the construct, dimensionality, and measurement. Management Science, 35(8), 942-962.

Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr
Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr, works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in organizations, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and long-time contributor to and Consulting Magazine.