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Aiming High

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Aiming High

Success Stories of Leadership and Strategic Planning

Authority Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

What’s the secret to perfect strategic planning? Simple, just hire perfect leaders?

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


If you believe that successful leadership can’t be codified, Colonel Jay W. Spechler, Ph.D., would beg to differ. A management consultant and professor, the Colonel clearly describes the traits of a successful leader and then details what such a leader must do to guide a strategic planning initiative. Having pinned his model for success to a board like a butterfly, he describes how 18 organizations changed through strategic planning under strong leaders. The Colonel’s organizations vary from large corporations - American Airlines, AT&T and Ritz Carlton Hotels - to nonprofit, trade and governmental organizations - a local school board, the United Services Automobile Association and the U.S. Air Force. He nails down and organizes the major elements that make a strategic initiative work. getabstract recommends this book as a refreshing change from the general run of works on theoretical strategic planning. Thanks to his focus on the human and organizational face of leadership and change, Spechler is our new favorite Colonel.


Strategic Planning: Why and How?

The 18 companies identified at the end of this work all use strategic planning as a way to stay on top. As a result, they receive consistent recognition for outstanding management practices and leadership that gets results. They constitute a benchmark for the best strategic and operational planning practices in the world of business. From their experiences, strategic planning provides these positive results:

  • It provides a flexible plan for adapting to chaotic environmental and operating conditions.
  • Its focus on improving operations over time increases your company’s profits.
  • It requires organizational discipline, leading to more efficient allocation of resources.
  • It produces a clear statement of vision, mission and values.
  • It helps you effectively enact your plans, based on your vision for the future.
  • It sets the stage for smooth management transitions.

Formulating and implementing strategic plans involves four major levels of planning, which the 18 companies spotlighted here combine seamlessly to meet their goals. The levels are:

  1. Strategic vision, which provides a...

About the Author

Dr. Jay W. Spechler is the president of Spechler Associations, a Florida consulting firm. Formerly, Spechler was in charge of quality assurance and performance engineering at American Express. He has previously worked as a director of management services for Florida Power & Light and as an internal consulting manager for Gulf & Western Industries. He has conducted seminars on industrial engineering, leadership, strategic planning and total quality management for numerous organizations and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami. His other books include Managing Quality in America’s Most Admired Companies and When America Does It Right: Case Studies in Service Quality.

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