Are you a Strategic Thinker?
If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because the headline caught your attention and you may be questioning whether you are someone who thinks strategically.
I still remember the first time I heard the term ‘strategic thinking’. It was 1998 and I was right out of University and working in my first full time job at Foxtel. I recall our Sales & Service Manager had come to address our team meeting and was talking us through some disruption (even thought it wasn’t called that in 1998) to our industry and how the company was looking to make the most of the opportunity this presented to the subscription television market, still very much in its infancy.
“We all need to think strategically on how we can make the most of this”
I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is really important’, followed by, ‘what does strategic thinking mean and how do I do it?’
So, the 64 thousand dollar question, what is strategic thinking and can you do it?
Strategic thinking is a process. Simple, right? OK, there’s a little more to it.
Strategy is big picture, long-term thinking. Strategy deals with core objectives and direction – and charts the way forward to the achievement of these desired ends. Good strategy provides a framework for an effective response to most conditions and circumstances. Good strategic thinking takes command of all available means and aligns and directs them to achieve a clear future goal. The best strategies are founded on the true values of an organisation and based upon how the business positions itself relative to other key players in the category.
Great strategy, effectively delivered, makes market leaders
And can YOU do it? Hell yes!
Strategic thinking is not the primary domain of CEO’s, Senior Executives and managers. Far from it. I genuinely believe that it’s incumbent on every single person working in any business/organisation to think in this way and importantly, to be encouraged to think in this way. It is also not a once off event. It is an activity that should be encouraged in all facets of daily business. It’s not for the dedicated week or two most organisations allow for an ‘innovation challenge’ or ‘hackathon’. If I’m being completely honest, that’s almost insulting.
Can you imagine the unleashed potential if all employees, from front line customer service and sales staff, to clerical administrator, to team leader, to specialist, to executive leadership and so on applied proactive thinking to their work?
Every. Single. Day.
Imagine if every employee and leader considered the environmental context in which they operate, the resources they have at their disposal, the relationships they need to foster, and the most efficient way to operate so as to achieve the best results possible, and importantly, agree on how to sustain them. Can any organisation today afford not to enable or encourage such a process?
So what are the qualities of a strategic thinker versus conventional thinkers?
I believe that it is important to remember that by adopting a philosophy and supporting a culture around strategic thinking, you have the potential to inspire the beginnings of cultural change and engagement in the workplace. As professionals, we spend an extraordinary amount of time devising schemes and methods in creating greater engagement.
This strategy begins to answer the questions of millennials who are eager to apply themselves and want to know how they fit in.
This starts to challenge the disengagement issues we have in the Australian workforce, whereby 76% of the workforce is assessed as being either disengaged or actively disengaged.
So, are you a Strategic Thinker?
I say yes, you just don’t know it yet.