Strategic Thinking – this is really a hassle for some executives because a bulk of your time will be spent addressing some sort of trivial issue. These trivial or tactical problems that chew up your whole day don’t allow you to get to the big-picture stuff.
How to Create Space for Strategic Thinking:
We have a misnomer on what effective strategic thinking is. People assume that thinking strategically is a function of thinking up “big thoughts” or reading scholarly research on business trends. Others assume that watching TED talks or lectures by futurists will help them think more strategically. These can be part of that, however strategic thinking isn’t limited to that. Strategic thinking is as much a function of doing, as of thinking. When we have that perspective it will change how we strategize. A lot of times the best content for great strategic thinking comes right from one’s own job and one’s day-to-day operational tasks.
Identify the strategic requirements of your job
Unfortunately, for many executives, the connection between their role and the strategic contribution they should make is not so obvious. A lot of times executives cannot articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business in a simple statement. If an executive has less clarity with the direction of their work, they feel they must work harder to etch out the line of sight between their role and its impact on the organization’s direction. Greatest challenge to strategic thinking is the ability to not be consumed by focusing on non-essentials for your position.
Uncover patterns to focus resource investments
Once a clear line of sight is drawn to a leader’s strategic contribution, resources must be aligned to focus on that contribution. For many new executives, the large pile of resources they now get to direct has far greater consequence than anything they’ve allocated before. Aligning budgets and bodies around a unified direction is much harder when there’s more of them; especially when reactionary decision making has become the norm. Too often, immediate crises cause executives to whiplash people and money. Focus helps leaders allocate money and people with confidence. They know they are working on the right things without reacting to impulsive ideas or distracting minutia.
Invite dissent to build others’ commitment
Strategic insight is as much a social capability as it is an intellectual one. No executive’s strategic brilliance will ever be acted upon alone. An executive needs those they lead to translate strategic insights into choices that drive results. For people to commit to carrying out an executive’s strategy. A team must understand and believe in the strategy.
Sound strategic thinking doesn’t have to remain an abstract mystery…
Executives must extract themselves from day-to-day problems and do the work that aligns their job with the company’s strategy. They need to be armed with insights that predict where best to focus resources for their team and organizations success.