Successful leadership requires the implementation of various strategies that would enable the leader to fulfill every role or responsibility and ensure that all tasks, operations, and intended goals and outcomes will be met within a specific timeframe set. One important strategy that fuels successful leadership is the ability of the leader to critically and holistically reflect and evaluate past and planned efforts with the goal of identifying errors or flaws in individual and organizational plans. The identification of errors and flaws is important in leadership because it facilitates growth and development in the sense that leaders are able to make improvements as needed. The kind of improvements and changes that a leader should implement will depend on the outcomes of evaluation. However, the kinds of strategies that must be implemented depend on the kind of situation.
Planning is part of the core of every organization because it encompasses what the goals, objectives and plan of action would be starting from the first day of the organization. Through critical evaluation, the leader is able to identify essential elements that should be included in organizational plans. In other cases, the leader must formulate strategies as certain events happen, especially when things do not go according to plan. For this reason, the leader must employ different strategies that would suit every situation. In the process, the leader should meet several requirements, such as the effective evaluation of past and planned operations or actions, the identification of possible solutions through brain storming, and the formulation of a plan to enact those solutions to change or improve situations. During the process of evaluation or reflection, leaders could employ different approaches. Two of those approaches – analytical and planned emergent approaches – will be analyzed in the succeeding discussions.
The emergent approach is a leadership strategy that helps the leader handle changes or transitions within the organization. According to Aitken and Higgs (2009: 37) the emergent approach is applicable in situations where change is needed at any level or area within the organization, when change requires the identification and implementation of best practices, and when the fulfillment of the plan requires the knowledge and expertise of different groups of people within the organization. Mintzberg and Waters (1985: 257) also describe the emergent approach in leadership as a method or tool in developing strategies that would address specific problems or concerns within the organization. Moreover, Mintzberg and Waters (1985: 258) describe the emergent approach in strategic leadership as something that is deliberate and realized. The employment of the emergent approach means “there must be order – consistency in action over time – in the absence of intention about it” (Mintzbery & Waters 1985: 258).
In following the emergent approach, leaders may either approach strategic development with an analytical eye or simply rely on planning to organize it. Mintzberg and Waters (1985: 257) discussed the difference between the analytical and planned techniques when establishing emergent approaches. The planned strategy requires careful and thorough organization of plans and ideas. Furthermore, in the planned emergent strategy, “leaders at the centre of authority formulate their intentions as precisely as possible and then strive for their implementation… with minimum distortion. When leaders use the planned approach, leaders are expected to draft a direct plan that clearly identifies the kind of the specific goals and intended outcomes. Part of the planned or deliberate approach are the organization’s goals and objectives, mission, and vision, as well as the result of evaluation such as the analysis of the organization’ s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), or the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors that may influence organizational operations. Essentially, planned or deliberate approaches are those that guide the short and long-term plans of the organization.
The problem with the planned strategy, however, is that not everything follows through according to the plan. At times, organizations to meet schedules or deadlines, or maintain expenses according to the allocated budget, among others. In these cases, the planned strategies will likely fail. In other instances, organizations fail to accomplish their goals because of unexpected events and barriers that were not considered during planning. Therefore, the leader must employ specific strategies that would address these events as they happen. According to Porter (1996: 62), the success of organizations relies on its ability to cope with internal and external changes in the organization as guided by analytical strategies. If the competitor, for instance, produces an innovative service or product that draws a significant percentage of the market share, the organization must be able to address it timely and directly by immediately employing innovation in order to draw its market share back. Challenges, such as the moves of the competition cannot be predictor. Thus, when this thing happens, the best thing a leader can do is to implement analytical planning to address the situation directly and to ensure that the organization will maintain its lead.
Based on the opposing definitions and outcomes of the analytical and planned emergent approaches in strategic implementation, leaders should not mere adopt one approach. It is important that leaders maintain flexibility and the proper capacity to make judgments on which approach to implement for a certain purpose or at a recent time. As the organization grows, the leader should learn to discern which strategies are appropriate for specific situations. As discussed by Porter (1996: 74), “Strategic positions should have a horizon of a decade or more, not of a single planning cycle.” Grant (1991: 115) also emphasizes the need for leaders to critically assess different situations at various levels in the organization so they can predict threats and outcomes. Both the analytical and planned approaches are important because they can be used to address different situations in the organization effectively. Grant (1991: 114), however, emphasized that considering an organization’s resources is a more pressing issue than choosing analytical or planned approaches. The capacity of an organization to change or transform and accomplish its plans lies on the available resources. Without resources, whether the organization implements the planned or analytical approach does not matter. Furthermore, part of strategizing is knowing when to use the planned approach, the analytical approach, or both depending on the situation.