Process of Strategic Thinking
Any organization seeking to gain a competitive edge can benefit from strategic thinking. Prior to creating a linear process of strategic planning, strategic thinking focuses on building a vision for the future of an organization, often through creativity and innovation. Despite the competition and changes that exist in today’s market, organizations and their leaders can make strategic use of their thinking in order to move the organization forward toward a better and more successful future.
An important component of Strategic Thinking is the application of innovation, strategic planning, and operational planning to develop business strategies that are more likely to be successful. Organizations are increasingly learning that past experiences are not the only basis for developing future strategies.
It is imperative that senior executives consider how they can create value for their customers. Despite its importance, strategic planning tends to focus on the “hows” and “whens” of business planning and rarely captures the essence of strategic thinking. The Strategic Thinking process encourages creativity and innovation, and includes a research phase that examines the voice of the customer, the employee, and industry best practices. Essentially, it involves examining everything we do in our various roles, addressing the needs of our customers, and ensuring that all of this is directly or indirectly related to clearly defined strategic imperatives.
Engaging employees at every level of the strategic planning process ensures their continued involvement in the implementation of operational plans. Operational Planning is the process of welcoming the strategies and converting them into action plans that are achievable and involve the entire organization in ensuring that the needs of both the customer and the organization are met.
THE ABSENCE OF A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGIC THINKING PROCESS
Consequently, the organization may make rapid decisions that lack the creativity and insights derived from a Strategic Thinking process. Organizations can engage in strategic thinking both as a whole and as a sum of their parts or divisions. To plan ahead – out-think, out-plan and out-maneuver other factors.
A clear, well-articulated strategy defines the corporate mission for those in charge of carrying it out. In most companies, the strategy remains an idea in the minds of a few people. As management attempts to implement any strategy, the organization will spiral from one event to another without a clear mandate or direction. As a result, the company loses momentum and resources are wasted. A strategic plan is not the same as strategic thinking; traditional approaches to strategic planning produce lengthy and complex reports, which are hard to understand and difficult to implement.
Hence, strategic thinking in business is a dynamic process that enables senior management to envision and formulate a strategy together, to debate vital issues, to gauge the internal and external environment in which the organization may be required to operate, and finally to build a meaningful strategic proposal for the future that will be integrated into an action plan that will be implemented.
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