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volume 3, issue 1 | Summer 2011
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About JSL

The Journal of Strategic Leadership (JSL) provides a forum for leadership practitioners and students of strategic leadership around the world by publishing applied articles on topics that enhance knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of strategic leadership at all levels within a variety of industries and organizations.

The JSL is published in electronic format and provides access to all issues free of charge. [subscribe]


Editor's Note

Welcome to the third volume of JSL. We are delighted to announce that JSL will now increase from one to two issues each year. Thank you for subscribing to JSL and proving its worth to our many communities. In this issue, you will find articles from students and alumni of our Doctor of Strategic Leadership and MBA programs. I trust that you will find the information valuable and informative.

Originating in the military, the word "strategic" first found its way into the English language in 1825. As the concept developed, deliberate strategic thinking preceded successful strategic planning and execution. Strategy begins in the fruitful minds of men and women who are willing and able to see far beyond short-term efficiencies.

This issue of the Journal of Strategic Leadership (JSL) considers important basic questions about strategy as it applies to organizations. Can strategic thinking and planning capabilities be learned, and, if so, is that learning different in a country like China? Harold Henkel and Lorin Staats address these important issues. What role does organizational design play in the successful implementation of strategic plans? Intriguing papers by Kay Bower, David Burkus, Lisa Fournier and Fred Soto delve into that complex question.

In this dynamic global marketplace, developing and effectively implementing an organic strategic plan may truly be a matter of corporate survival. The authors presenting in this edition of the Journal of Strategic Leadership (JSL) genuinely advance our understanding about how to do so.

— Dr. Gary Oster, Editor


Please Note

Views and opinions expressed in the articles published in the Journal of Strategic Leadership (JSL) represent each author's research and viewpoint and do not necessarily represent JSL or its sponsors. JSL and its sponsors make no representations about the accuracy of the information contained in published manuscripts and disclaims any and all responsibility or liability resulting from the information contained in the JSL.





 

Can Strategic Thinking Be Taught?
Harold Henkel  

Unlike modern textbooks, the authors of the Bible and the Greek classics understood that the study of strategy is not merely a rational exercise, but a difficult undertaking requiring full intellectual and moral development. History offers abundant examples of leaders who have brought catastrophe on their followers, either though one-dimensional thinking or faults of character. Go, the classic strategic board game of China, Japan, and Korea can teach modern managers and leaders to think strategically. Unlike chess, which is a symbol of decisive battle, Go is about achieving a comparative advantage over an opponent and emphasizes judgment over calculation. Go has played an important part in shaping business strategy in Japanese corporations, with executives learning to view international markets as Go boards. While Go can be an invaluable tool for teaching creativity and strategy, leaders should never forget that, in the end, character trumps intellect, talent, and preparation. Without wisdom and discernment, which are moral qualities, leaders who have undergone even the most rigorous intellectual training may lead their followers to disaster. As the Greeks taught, character is fate.
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Leading with Hope: Entrepreneurism in the 21st Century
Lisa R. Fournier           

We live in a world of rampant change and uncertainty. On Main Street, people have lost jobs and homes, relying on unemployment. On Wall Street, unchecked capitalism has turned to greed, forcing taxpayers to support bailouts. Globally, people, starving and cold, need aid. Whether abroad or in the United States, it appears that the rich control the wealth and the poor look for handouts. Some blame the gulf between rich and poor on big business deregulation, working people, government, their boss; the truth is everyone is responsible. In the Bible, Jesus called for egalitarianism in the early Church, a society where people were treated as equals despite one's differences—a community of choice working toward a common purpose. Social entrepreneurism rallies behind a common purpose based on moral principles, crossing international boundaries and cultural divides, creating economic opportunities for rich and poor. The concept engages an attitude on how to do business, marrying morality and profit. This paper purports that a paradigm shift is occurring in wealth-creation and that the application of quantum leadership and the future-perfect organizational model, based on biblical egalitarianism, lead to the emergence of new economies through creative–adaptive business strategies—the foundation of 21st century entrepreneurism.
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Virtual Organizations B.E.T. on People to Succeed! Human Factors in Virtual Organizations: Boundary-less Communication, Environment, and Trust
Fred Soto       

Twenty-first century business is in the midst of a social and economic revolution, shifting from rigid to permeable structures and processes and creating something new—the boundary-less organization. Handy asserts that large parts of organizations are now made up of ad hoc mini organizations, projects collated for a particular time and purpose, drawing their participants from both inside and outside the parent organization. These entities exist "as activities not as buildings; their only visible sign is an E-mail address!" The term virtual tends to be used in reference to things that are not real but are primarily carried out in an electronic medium. On the other hand, boundaries, environment, and trust are very real human factors that emerge in the virtual environment and need to be addressed to achieve organizational success. The three primary objectives of this paper include: (a) to provide a broad inclusive rather than a rigid definition of virtual organizations by examining various uses and context of the word virtual, (b) to address three essential human factors (e.g., boundary-less communication, environment, and trust) that emerge from the interpretations of other researchers in conjunction with virtual organizations, and (c) provide leaders of virtual organizations with suggestions for addressing key human factors. These human factors are organized using the acrostics B.E.T. which illustrate B for boundary-less communications, E for environment, and T for trust. Each objective is addressed in this paper and helps to delineate the scope upon which the rest of this paper can be built.
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IT Strategic Thinking in Large Organizations: Where's the Foresight?
Kay M. Bower       

Many IT leaders focus on creating strategic plans without thoroughly engaging strategic thinking and therefore miss out on the benefits of strategic foresight for their organizations. Strategic foresight can provide to an organization "untapped market spaces where innovators create and capture new demand. Because the space is uncontested, innovators capture the initial period of highly profitable growth." This article profiles three IT leaders and highlights that none of these leaders have an observable process for or input from activities that build strategic foresight. As a result, these leaders are not able to: (a) identify underlying changes or development that could impact business conditions, (b) recognize gaps or unrealized opportunities, and (c) track key environmental factors that could influence developments in IT or the marketplace in which their business operates. If leaders add processes for building strategic foresight, this could address these areas of lack and help to shift IT from an operational entity that simply manages technology, toward becoming a collaborative partner to executive leadership. This article provides an overview of strategic foresight and guidelines for its implementation in IT organizations.
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The Cultivation of Creativity in the Chinese Culture—Past, Present, and Future
Lorin K. Staats          

China is in a class of its own, with a population of 1.3 billion and an economy that, even in these difficult times, grew more than 9% in 2009. Roots of its rise to a place of leadership are founded in its mastery of imitative and incremental innovation. China, many believe, is held back by its inability to move forward in its practice of radical innovation. Numerous factors in its history have kept it from experiencing the openness, opportunity, and cooperation a culture needs to release the creativity that leads to innovation. What are the keys to capturing these seemingly illusive elements that will release China to become the innovative enterprise it needs to become in order to take the global lead in economics and entrepreneurship? Education, enterprise, and environment are key aspects. Outside of addressing millennia-old mindsets, China is destined to be the "also ran" of the global marketplace.
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Building the Strong Organization: Exploring the Role of Organizational Design in Strengths-Based Leadership
David Burkus     

How can leaders bring about greater gains toward productivity and organizational success? Strength-based leadership, an innovative leadership theory, suggests leaders can achieve this by focusing their efforts on building their own strengths and the strengths of individual followers. Despite research supporting the benefits of a strengths approach, many organizations have yet to employ this method of leadership, possibly because the organizational design inhibits it. This article outlines the history of the strengths movement and the research that supports a strengths approach. It then introduces the strengths-based leadership model conceived of and popularized by Tom Rath, Barry Conchie, and the late Donald Clifton. Next, it explores how elements of organizational design affect the styles of leadership employed within an organization. Finally, this article profiles W. L. Gore & Associates and how its organizational structure positions leaders to develop the strengths of their followers.
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The Journal of Strategic Leadership is a publication of the Regent University School of Business & Leadership | © 2011
1333 Regent University Drive | Virginia Beach, VA 23464 | 757.352.4550 | editorJSL@regent.edu | ISSN 1941-4668