Strategic thinking and problem solving, in part, go hand in hand. But the question that needs addressing is “which problems?” Sophisticated means of forecasting paired with elegant strategic plans are all designed to counter the detail complexity. But there is a more vital type of complexity called dynamic complexity, which, as the name suggests, entails situations where subtleties lie in cause and effect, and where the impact of interventions over time are not apparent.
The real power in most management situations lies in comprehending dynamic complexity vis-à-vis detail complexity. Balancing market growth and capacity expansion and developing a profitable blend of price, product (or service) quality, design, and availability that make a strong case for market positioning and additionally, improving quality, lowering total costs, and satisfying customers in a sustainable manner are dynamic problems.
Engage strategic thinking methods:
To address change the organization seeks to gather as many scenarios, ideas, and possibilities from an array of perspectives that align with the tenets of strategic thinking. At its core, strategic thinking and problem solving are about exploring possibilities in a space where analytical judgment and critical thinking have been temporarily suspended. In this arena, creativity is engaged to identify and to define alternatives and options before launching into the problem-solving process. Leaders who give only cursory notice to the critical step of defining the vision, may design an elegant answer but to the wrong questions.
For long-term goal setting, organizations must correctly define the vision and then engage strategic thinking methods that reveal appropriate or best scenario solutions that achieve organizational advantage and sustainability.
Business owners that make strategic thinking and problem solving a central theme of their management idea often become better strategic thinkers with the passage of time. They learn how to identify subtle changes in the business milieu that will have a direct impact on their revenues. They become more adept at envisioning how competitors are likely to respond to the strategies put in force by them. They begin to view the business from their customers’ perspective, and formulate strategies to enhance their capability to tap new potential customers.
Business has been compared to a game of chess, with strategic moves of the chess pieces determining the outcome. The analogy is fitting, but only partially because in corporations each side does not commence with the same number of heads, with the size of the board always dynamic. Companies proficient in strategic thinking and problem solving are continually gauging their businesses strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis competitors.
They seek the right time and optimum means to attack the stronger and better capitalized competitors. They try to tilt the chess board to their benefit by critically reassessing where they can improve on their products, service points and levels and the message they convey to the marketplace.
The goal of Strategic Thinking is to outthink, out plan and outsmart other forces or competitors. Without an all-inclusive and all-encompassing strategic thinking and problem-solving exercise, the organization risks making quick decisions that fall short of the creativity and insights resulting from a Strategic Thinking process.