Peter McNamara, senior lecturer at the Quinn School of Business at University College Dublin is an SPS Fellow, and recently signed up as a business school member of SPS.
How do you hope to benefit from business school membership?
We run an MSc in Strategic Management and Planning and membership of the SPS helps bridge the gap between academia and practitioners. Strategy Magazine, the Long Range Planning journal, visiting speakers from the SPS, discussions within the LinkedIn group and talking to SPS trustees provide a real link to the day-to-day practice of the profession of strategy.
How will it benefit students?
By being associate members of the SPS it signals to potential employers a commitment to the profession and continuing professional development. Strategy Magazine and the Long Range Planning journal bring ideas from the practice of strategy into the classroom. Students can then reflect their understanding back to potential employers in job interviews.
We have set up an Strategic Planning Society Strategy Club for students, which gives them experience of the SPS in school. We have done this for four years and quite a number of members of the club continue to be members of the SPS after graduation.
Why is this such an important time for strategy professionals?
Strategy has always been essential for business success, but people may have chosen to ignore it in the past. If you look at the financial and governmental crises, what is striking is the absence of strategy in the lead up. The narratives in annual reports were vague about the future. The organisations will say they were vague so that they didn’t reveal information that was commercially sensitive, but in truth they just didn’t have a strategy. They were really saying: “We’re successful. We don’t know why, and we can’t communicate it, but we’re riding this ship until it stops.”
They forgot that a firm is a network of stakeholders. Unless you can present a coherent strategy to that network of employees, customers, investors and so on, when the bad times come they will abandon you and the company will go into decline.
What developments particularly interest you?
I am pleased to see the emergence of the business models movement. It contains all you need to know about a business, such as its value proposition, resources, plans for development over time and so on. It makes it relatively easy to communicate the strategy of the business and engage in conversations with stakeholders about the future of the organisation.
There is also some interesting work being done in the area of engaging with stakeholders about strategy. By talking to people it helps strategists reflect on their strategy for delivering value and develop their own strategic thinking.
Note: Business school membership includes the full benefits of individual membership for nominated members of the faculty, Fellowship for qualifying faculty members at a nominal additional cost, support in establishing a Strategic Planning Society Strategy Club for students and faculty members, Associate Membership to students on qualifying undergraduate courses, regular Membership at a discounted rate to qualifying students on post-graduate courses and to the alumni, and Fellowship at a discounted rate (year 1) for qualifying post-graduate students.
NB: Fellowship application is now available online, for more information please click here.