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Corporate and Division Strategic Planning

All corporate headquarters undertake four planning activities: (1) defining the corporate mission, (2) establishing strategic business units, (3) assigning resources to each unit, and (4) assessing growth opportunities. These activities are discussed next.

Defining the Corporate Mission

An organization exists to accomplish something: to make cars, lend money, provide a night’s lodging. Over time, the mission may change to respond to new opportunities or market conditions. Amazon.com changed its mission from being the world’s largest online bookstore to aspiring to be the world’s largest online store. To define its mission, a company should address Peter Drucker’s classic questions:9 What is our business? Who is the customer? What is of value to the customer? What will our business be? What should our business be? These simple-sounding questions are among the most difficult a company will ever face. Successful companies continuously ask and answer them.

A clear, thoughtful mission statement, developed collaboratively with and shared with managers, employees, and often customers, provides a shared sense of purpose, direction, and opportunity. Good mission statements focus on a limited number of goals, stress the firm’s major policies and values, and define the major competitive spheres within which the firm will operate. They also take a long-term view and are short, memorable, and meaningful. Table 2.1 shows key competitive dimensions for mission statements along with examples.

 
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