The strategic intent formulation process of the organizations listed in Nairobi securities exchange: Military versus business perspective
The greatest challenge organizational Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) face today is translating their strategic thinking into strategic intents or operational realities that are commensurate to the 21st century business landscape. In practice, organizations have several models that aid in the formulation of strategic intent and development of business strategies; however what is typically lacking is a systematic framework for identifying and delivering strategic intent by individual organizational CEOs. On the contrary, the military environment makes use of a well-structured approach for individual intent formulation process, titled “Commander‟s appreciation process”. This study sought to determine how CEOs of organizations listed in Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE) formulate their individual strategic intent. Further, it examined whether the commander‟s appreciation process as used in the military has any applicability in the formulation of strategic intent by CEOs in the business environment. 19 organizations listed in NSE were selected for the study. Primary data was collected through personal interviews with CEOs and self-administered questionnaire to the organizational Strategic Planning teams. The data collected was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively through content analysis and descriptive statistics and other Statistical Packages for Social sciences. The findings revealed that CEOs have not adopted any formal models in formulating individual strategic intent, only informal mental diverse processes are utilized. The majority of CEOs practiced minimal formal formulation processes, allowing more of intuition and critical thinking to influence their intent; as guided by the board of directors. In addition, the study acknowledged that there is a significant relationship between strategic intent formulation in military and the business environment, however they sharply differ in terms of environmental and information analysis and hence the organizational CEOs stand to gain immensely from the commander‟s appreciation process. This study therefore is significant as it adjoins the individual and organizational intent, contributing to the body of knowledge specifically in the formulation of individual strategic intent; which is fundamental in the strategic planning process. The study also impacts positively to the readers and scholars where they are able to relate the CEOs‟ role in determining the direction and destiny of organizations within their mandate. This study has important implications on the role of board of directors, CEOs and the strategic planning teams in terms of strategic formulation. Higher institutions of learning (Universities) are challenged to focus on the identified gaps, especially on the applicability of strategic management theories and be more synthetical later than analytical. Models similar to the military Commander‟s Appreciation process, mirroring the business environment should be developed and be thought to postgraduates (MBA); to aid their understanding of strategic intent and subsequent individual strategic intent formulation. Finally, the study revealed that strategic intent concept still remains relatively new concept in most of organizations listed in NSE, thus formal strategic management training for the CEOs and personnel at planning and managerial levels is desirable. Keywords: Strategy, Strategist, Chief Executive Officer, Military Commander, Commander‟s Appreciation process and Military Commander‟s intent.