Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making

An Online Course
Course Description

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Every leader must make complex decisions, analyze risk and map out clear plans of action. In this online Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making courseyou’ll learn methods to map out risks, rewards and varying outcomes so you can logically assess the consequences of your choices and make more confident, profitable decisions.

Make wiser and more valuable decisions in every circumstance and as related to the direction of your organization. In this program, you’ll break down the elements of decision-making and use predictive models and forecasting tools to reduce uncertainty from high-stakes situations. A team of experts in quantitative analysis, data optimization, consumption preferences, strategic choices, and bargaining and negotiation will lay out the method by which you can frame nearly every major decision you’ll face in your executive career. You’ll study the psychological and cognitive influences that affect both individual and team decisions and learn ways to circumvent your biases and minimize distractions from the task at hand. Through peer group workshops, case studies, and personal development exercises, you’ll evolve your awareness of which elements truly matter to the bottom line and shift from intuitive to data-driven thinking.

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What you’ll learn:

  • Practice decision-making process on real-life examples of high-stakes business choices.
  • Learn which data points you must gather to make the most common decisions facing executives.
  • Forecast probable outcomes, including quantified risks and rewards, of various choices in unstable environments.
  • Get in tune with your unconscious preferences and practice using logic instead of gut feel to make smarter, healthier and more profitable decisions.
  • Create templates for growth.

Outcomes
After Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making, you’ll walk away with…

  • Frameworks you can use to model your options when you need to make tough decisions alone or in teams.
  • Answers to 34 critical questions about strategy.
  • The four principles to follow when designing and executing strategy.
  • The skills to drill down and fully.articulate the full suite of available options, including their consequences and your response.
  • Knowledge of how to use real options for decision making.
  • Meaningful definitions of risk and value so you can map out your action plan.
  • Confidence in your own ability to allay cognitive biases, decision traps and how to avoid overuse of subjective data.
  • Template for financial analysis of strategy.

We will address these questions through case study analysis and relevancy to your organization:

Analytical and Process Skills for Content Awareness and Content-in-Use
These questions relate to the necessary base knowledge needed to do strategy and the organizational processes to do strategic thinking.

What is your starting point for the strategy?
What change management challenges do you have?
What data do you consider most important for your strategic thinking?
What are the key concepts, theories, models, and methods for understanding strategy?
How can you act to gather relevant information and to make decisions?
Is your analysis granular enough to gain specific data to make decisions?
How should you phrase your strategic alternatives and your strategic direction?
How do you manage inevitable biases and internal political influences on decisions?
Who should be at the table and how does each member perform a role in the process?
How does one behave to create a sense of perspective, urgency to act, to make changes and to convince others that these changes are organizationally appropriate?
What are the internal and external processes for innovation? 

External Conditions

What global long-term trends might influence your business?
What can you learn from the macro environments in which you do business?
What can you learn from a strategic analysis of your industry or industries, the marketplaces, competitors, and other key players who influence your organization?
Where will you be active and with how much emphasis? What are the organization’s boundaries?
Who are your core customers and what trends do you see for them?
What are your core products and services?
What are your key success factors? 

Internal Conditions

What are your resources and capabilities (activities)?
To what extent are these resources and capabilities rare, relevant, durable, and connected?
To what extent do the resources and capabilities fit with the organization’s administrative history; structure, systems, culture, and management style?
What can you do to enhance the returns from your resources and capabilities?
What are your core metrics?

Focus

What do you want to achieve? What are your fundamental purpose; values; mandates; targets and objectives; why are you in business?
Where are the growth opportunities: core, adjacencies, breakthrough, white spaces, and blue oceans?
How can you be different compared to those with whom you compete or cooperate for resources? What are your points of parity and difference?
Will your strategy beat the market?
What are your strategic imperatives and initiatives?

Implementation

What can you achieve?
What moves should you make to achieve your purpose? Goals?
What will be your speed and sequence of the moves?
What is a realistic action plan given the trade-offs in priorities, timing, and politics?
How do you balance commitment and flexibility?
How will you obtain returns? What are your best business models?
How do you know you are achieving your purpose?

Who is this for?

This program is designed for leaders who need to make strong decisions amidst uncertainty and risk, especially about the future direction of their firms. It will benefit those who seek quantitative proof of the substance and merit of their choices, particularly those responsible for the wellbeing of teams, departments and whole organizations.  This program is most appropriate for managers from medium to large companies.

Career & Industry Outlook

In study after study, strategic thinkers are found to be among the most highly effective leaders. So is there a way to encourage routine strategic thinking throughout the organization? In 2013, Management Research Group (MRG) completed a large scale global study addressing this question. MRG evaluated the leadership practices and effectiveness of 60,000 managers and executives in 140+ countries and 26 industries. Each participant was assessed with the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis (LEA), a 360-degree assessment tool measuring 22 leadership practices and more than 20 measures of effectiveness. Leadership included such practices as innovation, persuasion, communication, and results orientation, while measures of effectiveness included such characteristics as future potential, credibility, business aptitude, and people skills.

The study found that a strategic approach to leadership was, on average, 10 times more important to the perception of effectiveness than other behaviors studied. It was twice as important as communication (the second most important behavior) and almost 50 times more important than hands-on tactical behaviors.

In a follow-up study, MRG investigated the “highly desired” leadership profiles produced by 10,000 senior executives charged with setting the leadership development goals for their respective organizations. When asked to select the leadership behaviors most critical to their organizations’ future success, executives chose strategic 97% of the time. Both the extensive research results and the high priority senior leaders place on strategic leadership practices reinforce the importance of building this skill and mindset in any leadership development endeavor.

So how can organizations develop strategic leaders?  This Certificate in Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making is a strong step in the right direction.

2017 Course Schedule

Course start:  5/30/2017
Course end:    7/25/2017
(8 sessions)

Registration deadline: Tuesday, 5/23/2017

This course is offered online and does not contain an in-class component.

 

Program Faculty

Dr. Dan Fogel, Lead Faculty – is Graduate Research Professor in Sustainability. He specializes in strategic management, especially innovation processes in firms, including those located in emerging and transition economies and in emerging industries.  Dr. Fogel received his B.S. and M.A. from the Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He has held academic positions at the University of Houston, Tulane University, and the University of Pittsburgh and has been a senior manager at two oil companies and a hospital system. His international research and teaching had been conducted in several different countries in South America, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. He was Dean of the International Management Center, Budapest, Hungary; Dean for the Czech Management Center in Prague, Czech Republic, and Associate Dean at the University of Pittsburgh and Tulane University. He was Professor of Business Administration and Director of the Institute for Industrial Competitiveness at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.   He was Associate Dean Working Professional Programs, Dean of Charlotte Programs and Executive Professor of Strategy at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. He is at Wake Forest University as Director of the Master of Arts in Sustainability and is the Graduate School Research Professor in Sustainability.

His research and teaching areas are in environmental sustainability, global sustainable business and strategy including strategic change management and innovation for medium and large organizations. His current focus is on how organizations adopt sustainability practices and principles as part of their core strategies. He has published in behavioral studies, education, health care, psychology, sociology, economics, and management journals, and has written several book chapters, books, cases and popular press articles. His books include Managing in Emerging Market Economies (Westview) and Firm Behavior in Emerging Market Economies(Avebury); The Business of Sustainability , Law and Politics of Sustainability, and Measurement, Indicators, and Research Methods for Sustainability (all three with Berkshire Publishing). He is currently completing a book entitled “Strategic Sustainability: A Natural Environmental Lens on Organizations and Management” (Routledge).

Dr. Fogel has consulted for diverse organizations, such as Duke Energy, Bosch, PPG, General Electric (Hungary and USA), Motorola (Brazil), City of Charlotte, KeyCorp, Lockheed Martin, Lucent (Brazil), TESS (Brazil), Carvajal S.A. (Colombia), McGraw Hill, Samsung, AT&T (Corporate), Parker Hannifin, Unisys, Keviep (Hungary), Timkin, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pfizer, Inc., Holiday Inn, Inc., Pennsylvania Blue Shield, Raleigh City Government, Tuscarora, TENNECO International, Wachovia, Bank of America, ELON University, and Wake Forest Medical Center. His awards include numerous research grants, multiple teacher-of-the-year awards, a Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil, the Winner of the Yoder-Heneman Award, and several times the Distinguished Professor Awards. Dan Fogel has served and is serving on Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards within the United States and abroad and is Chairman of EcoLens, Chairman of The EcoLens Network and Chairman and CEO of SP3.

Program Prerequisites

Participants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A TOEFL examination for non-native speakers of English is not required but students are expected to read, write and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program. Any requests for exceptions to these requirements must be made in writing to Carol Oliff at oliffcl@nullwfu.edu.

Program Materials

Most materials are included in the cost of tuition. Course materials will be distributed in digital format and accessible through Sakai, Wake Forest’s learning management system. Students must have a laptop or tablet computer to access course materials.  A list of recommended source material will be provided.

Certificate Requirements

To be eligible to receive the Certificate in Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making from Wake Forest University, students will work closely with lead course faculty to successfully complete all portions of the 8-week course within the allotted time period.

Location

Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
200 N. College Street, Suite 150
Charlotte, NC  28202

This class is offered as an online class with live faculty interaction available throughout the duration of the online course.

Tuition

The cost of the program is $2,500 and includes all materials.  Tuition is due in full at time of registration.  WFU students, alumni, faculty and staff receive a tuition discount.  Certain partner companies also receive a discount.  Please email Carol Oliff at oliffcl@nullwfu.edu with your tuition questions.

Payment Options

While non-credit professional certificate programs do not qualify for federal financial aid, prospective students should consider the following for tuition payment:

  • Seek employer funding or reimbursement
  • Apply for a private education loan
  • Take advantage of tuition discounts for alums, groups, and select partner organizations

Registration and Payment Form

This certificate is an open enrollment program. Application is not required. Course registration is complete when payment is processed and you receive a confirmation email. In order to register, you will need to render payment. Please begin registration when you are ready to render payment.

Registration deadline: Tuesday, 5/23/2017

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Cancellation of Certificate Programs

This course is offered contingent upon sufficient enrollment. If a course must be cancelled, all registered students will be notified at least five (5) calendar days before the course’s start date. All registered students will receive a 100% tuition refund. No fees will be charged for cancelled courses.

Refund Policy

Refunds are computed based on the date and time that a student’s request to withdraw is received in writing. Prospective students who withdraw prior to the start of a course will receive a full refund of tuition paid.

For More Information

For more information or to speak with a program advisor, please send an email to Carol Oliff at oliffcl@nullwfu.edu.