Adults make approximately 35,000 conscious decisions every day. Each of those decisions has an effect, an outcome. Either good or bad. Leaders make important, but often difficult decisions every day. These decisions affect people, communities, the world… How do they do it? And how do they do it well? One way is through strategic thinking.
One of a Leader’s primary responsibilities is to create clear and compelling direction for their organization or area of responsibility. Strategic thinking is a planning process by which individuals and leaders analyze a situation, its outcomes, and create a roadmap for moving forward.
Here’s how it’s done:
First, start. “Starting is the hardest part...” You’ve heard that phrase before. But with strategic thinking, starting is actually the easiest step. Simply by realizing the value of strategic thinking, you’re participating in the process. 96% of executives claim they don’t have the time for strategic thinking. In spite of its many benefits. Therefore, individuals and teams who simply “start” are ahead of the rest.
Second, identify. “It’s a dirty little secret: most executives cannot articulate the objective, scope and advantage of their business in a simple statement. If they can’t, neither can anyone else.” To participate in strategic thinking, you must identify your company’s objective, scope, and advantage and communicate them regularly. Your strategy will follow these items closely.
Third, align. A plan bridges the gap between vision and goals. And when a plan aligns with an organization and its employees, it becomes a strategy. Strategic thinking is like a puzzle. You’ll need to figure out what works and what doesn’t, so you can fit all the pieces together to create a cohesive result.
Finally, make time. If starting is the easiest step, continuing is the hardest. Strategic thinking takes time and practice. It requires continual effort in order to reap its benefits. Take time to develop a strategic plan and continue modifying it as needed. It will be indispensable.
There are many benefits of strategic thinking, but it can be intimidating to start this practice on your own. Explore our The Exceptional Leader™ - EXCEL program series. We’ll help you start the process of strategic thinking and guide you to becoming an Exceptional Leader. 2019 Dates will be announced soon. Contact Jennifer Maxson & Associates to take advantage of this popular program we offer to business leaders.
Lead to the Max.
Keegan, Brendan P. The Value of Strategic Thinking. Forbes, 26 April 2017.
Bowman, Nina A. 4 Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills. Harvard Business Review, 5 Dec 2107.
Desjardins, Mike. What Does it Really Mean to Think Strategically. Canadian Business. 23 July 2018.