For successful implementation of strategies, planning should be meticulous and resources should be sufficient. Also, the right climate should prevail within the industry. These factors work in a synergistic way to help achieve the highest level of success. The pattern of these disparate factors acting in coordinated synchrony is most important. The strength of any strategic initiative lies in this seamless integration (Wilton, 904).
Formulation of business strategies depend on the Chief Executive’s assessment of future trends in the industry. If the top leadership’s reading of the opportunities and competition is not up to mark, the result may be disastrous. When these assumptions flounder, the company’s’ investments in these initiatives will go down the drain. Vodafone is fortunate in having Arun Sarin as its Chief Executive Officer since the December of 2002. Sarin took over the reigns when the company was in crossroads. It is to his credit that the company has seen healthy consolidation and expansion over the last few years (Wilton, 904).
Eventually, the success of a business corporation would depend on the strategic decisions that it takes. But, there is no blue-print or framework that can lead to definite success. Even choosing between the commonly used strategic frameworks -transformational and operational – is never straightforward. The context in which the decisions are made should be accorded careful consideration. An empirical study of decision making in Vodafone would indicate the unconventional nature of its decisions. Right from its inception, and particularly since Arun Sarin took over as CEO, decision making has grown much bolder. Let us take the area of advertising and public relations in particular. In December 2004, Vodafone’s followed its sponsorship deal with Ferrari with a donation of one million pounds to the victims of Asian Tsunami. Most companies would have chosen proven methods to gain public recognition and boost their brand image. But going by the financial results of all its competitors that year, the strategy adopted by Vodafone proves to be more successful. The adoption of two widely different public relations exercises demonstrates its broad and flexible strategic framework (Wilton, 902).
Vodafone’s success in finding the right business strategy more often than not is attributable to its management’s understanding of such general considerations as its “competitive situation, the latent needs of customers, capital markets, the regulatory environment, and new technology, the structure of its industry, and the strengths and weaknesses of its rivals”. Yet this is only the first step. The organization’s ability to execute the strategy is of equal import too. Where Vodafone outclasses most of its competitors is 1. in its emphasis on the execution aspect of strategies and 2. seeing all decisions in the context of broader goals and objectives. A careful study of Vodafone’s decision making pattern reveals that a “second-best” strategy that they can execute well has always superseded an ideal strategy that may demand capabilities beyond their reach.
Vodafone strategy was to acquire greater market-share saw them “target bigger, high profile clients while retaining and recruiting a quality workforce”. “Its challenge was to communicate a profound transformation in strategic direction throughout the organization in a manner that would elicit the support of the entire workforce” (Carr , 673).
Throughout its existence, Vodafone executives were confronted with conflicting choices. For example, there was always pressure to adhere to regulatory and industry norms from the government. On the other side, there was pressure from stock-holders to gain greater competitive advantage. Growing existing market bases or venturing into potential emerging markets. These were some of the choices that Vodafone has had to deal with. The sustained growth of Vodafone’s net asset value over the last seven years suggests that their choices have been correct. For example, Vodafone AirTouch’s division collaborated with Cisco Systems, Hyundai Electronics and TELOS Technology during trial implementations of a new Internet Protocol for a wireless communications network. Some of the partners in this venture were Vodafone’s direct competitors. Yet, the leadership took the prudent decision in laying the foundation for the technology of the future even at the potential cost of losing revenues in the immediate future (Theodorou , 112).