Currently published as: Business Strategy Series
Online from: 2000
Subject Area: Strategy
|Title:||Making strategic planning work: a case study of Countrywide Financial|
|Author(s):||Eric Flamholtz, (Professor of Management in The Anderson School at UCLA and President of the Management Systems Consulting Corporation that he founded in 1978. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org), Stanford Kurland, (President and Chief Operating Officer of Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC). He is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for its main subsidiary, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. He also serves as Chairman for all subsidiaries of Countrywide Financial Corporation.)|
|Citation:||Eric Flamholtz, Stanford Kurland, (2006) "Making strategic planning work: a case study of Countrywide Financial", Handbook of Business Strategy, Vol. 7 Iss: 1, pp.187 - 193|
|Keywords:||Corporate strategy, Organizational change, Strategic planning|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/10775730610618800 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – Strategic planning is a misunderstood and maligned managerial tool. Most organizations have tried it but relatively few actually achieve success in strategic planning.
Design/methodology/approach – The experience of Countrywide Financial Corporation demonstrates how strategic planning can be used as a key lever for change and describes the benefits that accrued to it through this process. Stanford Kurland, the Company’s COO, engaged Eric Flamholtz to assist with developing a more sophisticated approach to strategic planning at Countrywide. Flamholtz introduced: a template for organizational assessment and development; and a systematic process for strategic planning that had been applied elsewhere with considerable success. The new planning process s became a corporate priority.
Findings – The planning system has also led to a variety of other significant organizational benefits including: a constructive forum for elevating management’s focus from tactical and operational concerns to broader strategic challenges; a shift away from a “silo mentality” to a “Countrywide perspective”; a clear set of priorities to guide operating unit activities and decision-making; measurable objectives that emphasize linkages across organizational boundaries; and greater understanding and communication of the plan throughout the organization.
Originality/value – Kurland was focused on longer-range issues for the company, but most of the other members of Countrywide’s senior management were more focused on short-term competitive success in their own divisions. It led to significant changes and benefits at Countrywide, including a strategic shift in corporate direction.
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