In the year 2012, we saw the world’s leading camera company “KODAK” get pinned down by its competitors. There were plenty of reasons to justify the fall of Kodak in the digital camera and photo frame segment from dominance; one of them was “Poor Strategic Planning and Execution”. More than the strategic planning, it was lack of “Strategic Thinking in Business Planning” that led to the collapse.
Strategic thinking is the synthesis of creativity and intuition that helps in the formulation of a vision for the organization whereas Strategic Planning is the process of breaking down a goal into steps, designing how each step may be implemented and estimating anticipated consequences.
Strategic Thinking in business is proactive and helps in defining competitive domain for corporate strategic advantage. It uses external and internal data and a qualitative synthesis of perceptions and opinions. Strategic Thinking helps in creating a strategy that is unifying, balanced and encompasses an integrative outline for decisions concerning resource utilization and overall business direction. Successful Strategic thinking is similar to value addition to the business, can help optimize resource utilization and initiate positive changes.
Strategic thinking in business involves making a series of decisions about what actions the company intends to take to become more successful. Companies should strive to make strategic thinking a continuous, year-round exercise.
Every business is affected by change – national or local, which impacts the spending power of a company’s customers. New competitive threats arise and simultaneously new markets open up. Strategic thinking is a mindset of preparing for these changes and having plans in place to deal with them. Reacting quickly is tantamount to adaptability with agility to take advantage of prospects and minimize the damage of unforeseen undesirable events. Strategic thinking in business compels companies to identify they cannot afford to be at a standstill. They must be innovative in all facets of business operations. A company comfortable with doing things in the same manner year on year typically ends up losing a chunk of the market pie, as compared to companies that are improvising.
Business owners that make strategic thinking 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.
To conclude the “Importance of Strategic thinking in Business planning”, a passage from the book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu describes the role of a leader in Strategic Thinking – “A general must see alone and know alone, meaning that he must see what others do not see and know what others do not know. Seeing what others do not see is called brilliance, knowing what others do not know is called genius. Brilliant geniuses win first, meaning that they defend in such a way as to be unassailable and attack in such a way as to be irresistible.”