Strategic thinking is an essential skill to both short and long-term planning. They force us to step back and see things from a different perspective, which allows us to explore new possibilities. A strategic management course from a top business management school will help you with the following:. One of the special characteristics that makes strategic leaders stand out from the crowd is their sweeping view of the world in which they operate. Part 3. The 3 Best Ways to Avoid Bad Decisions Caused by Groupthink, 5 global trends that could influence your business in 2021, 5 economic trends that will influence your business in 2019, 5 Wirtschaftstrends die Ihr Geschäft im Jahr 2019 beeinflussen, 5 Signs Indicating You Need Strategy Coaching, 5 Common Strategic Planning Mistakes SMEs Should Avoid. Part of the strategic planning process involves engaging the community and other stakeholders in feedback sessions. This might sound basic to be the key to something so important, because, after all, observation is something you use daily as a research method. Critical thinking means constantly asking questions and wanting to know more, about why, what, who, where, when, and everything else that can help them make sense of a situation or concept, never taking anything at face value. Strategic leadership doesn't come easily in most organizations. What do we want to achieve? (Vision) How are we going to get there? Your core values are part of your strategic foundation. This is usually because this approach worke… How do you develop your capacity for foresight, thereby improving your critical thinking more broadly? Here are three of many reasons: 1)Provides a focus. Developing strategy takes time and resources. There are, however, good reasons, why this structure and distribution of roles is ineffective in today’s economy and why it has negative impact on a company’s competitiveness. Poor planning is often worse than no planning at all. The successful application of critical thinking often results in more efficient work processes. Leaders need to also shift with these changes—or run … When the full picture comes into view, people are better able to plan for the future, and planning for the future is the mark of a strategic leader. It is a skill that can be used on a daily basis, on your own or in groups. Leaders need to also shift with these changes—or run … Good risk management is also important to help you avoid things going wrong, and manage when they do. Strategic management isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. It makes strategy part of everyone’s job. Innovation isn’t solely represented by new devices, ideas or methods, but also by the process of uncovering new ways to do things. Many successful companies, like for example Alphabet (formerly know as Google) or Lego, have discovered how important it is to create and sustain agile organisational structures. Imagine what you would see differently if you had a fresh pair of eyes? Aside from keeping your company on an even keel, mastering the art of strategic thinking maximises your efficiency and strengths as a business leader. "We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. This assumption is historically well founded. We’ll then look at the relationship to strategic management. Agility requires that change cannot only be started from the top, but also from the bottom, from employees at the grass-roots level. While some people hold the specific job title of “strategic planner” (or “strategic planning associate” or “strategic planning manager”), there are other jobs that require strategic planning skills even though “strategic… In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking, Vanessa Kirsch, Jim Bildner and Jeff Walker use the development of EducationSuperHighway (ESH) as an example to define ‘systems thinking’ and discuss its importance. Strategic planning, then, is the roadmap from where we are to where we want to be, the answer having appeared in our thinking process. This assumption is historically well founded. Why Is Strategic Thinking Important to the Success of Business?. Open-minded approach. Unfortunately, when we are not in tune with these signals, we may miss pieces of information that can have a significant impact on our careers or lives. Promotes Curiosity . That responsibility can’t be ignored for the sake of meeting today’s demands alone. I often hear people define strategy as the ability to have vision and long-term thinking versus short-term thinking. Or, to put it positively: if you would like to keep your company competitive in the mid-term, you should promote strategic thinking of employees at all levels. They establish why you do what you do and what you stand for. There are many good reasons to promote strategic thinking not only for executives but also for employees at all levels. Having strategical thinking is all about your ability to analyze and evaluate a situation accurately. 2. Strategic thinking is a powerful and invaluable skill, one that leads to greater chances of success in whatever professional and personal projects you're involved in. That’s why we don’t buy it when someone says he or she isn’t strategic. Only through agility can enterprise respond appropriately to fast changes caused by innovative technologies, changed customer needs, and new competitors. We said we want to really take care of these people, we want to honor them and we love them as individuals. Somehow, the idea of ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic thinking’ has developed a mystic aura. That’s what strategic thinking requires you to do. … There is no smoke without fire, and the buzz around this skill is completely reasonable. An HR strategy supports the business strategy, as do all the other functional strategies (especially R&D, Manufacturing, Marketing/Sales). Organizations want leaders who can think deeply, and strategic leaders know that the best way to dig down to the heart of issues and situations is by asking useful questions such as. The promotion of strategic thinking includes the creation of adequate structures and an open corporate culture. The previous experien… Maybe the person isn’t displaying the characteristics of strategic thinking. Becoming an alert and aware leader means that you have to break free from the activity trap and gain a new perspective on your world. This requires more strategic thinking at all levels or organizations to be successful,” Weed stresses. Its about achieving the … They are based on enduring tenets—guiding principles—to adhere to no matter what mountain you climb. For example, you could study overhead costs such as printing, looking for the core reasons why your … We are often asked what makes a leader a strategic leader. We probably do quite a bit of strategic thinking in all aspects of our lives, but it's necessary to put it on a formal level in order to really take action. Yes, the first clue on how to develop strategic thinking skills is right there in its name. What processes, resources, knowledge, skills, and abilities will my team need to be successful over the long run? This is supported by increased complexity and the high dynamics of change caused by global economic processes and technical innovations. Block out time and a conducive space for thinking - … Strategic leaders tend to take a more collaborative approach, tapping into the diverse ideas of others and unleashing their creativity, empowerment, and engagement in a way that benefits the organization over the long term. What options are open to us? This requires patience and practice. This enables stakeholders to voice and agree on the same priorities and focus on the same path to improvement. Below are three additional benefits that result when strategic thinking guides and informs the decisions of you and your team: 1. In order to be strategic, you need a solid understanding of the industry context, trends, and business drivers. Take our course in strategic project management to gain the knowledge you need to be a skilled project manager. They are caused by the permanent strain of executives who have to take all strategic decisions, as well as all the important operational decisions without getting the decision-relevant information by employees. Even though leaders are often rewarded and recognized for moving quickly and taking action, strategically agile leaders also have to be able to pause and step back. What do we need to do to get there? Why strategic thinking is so important . Centrally-managed hierarchical companies bring considerable costs due to efficiency losses. Typically, the plan is organization-wide or focused on a major function, such as a […] Without gathering this intelligence, it is difficult to know where you are headed and what you may face along the way. To take the example of looking for a place to situate your new business, don’t just go with your gut. This requires more strategic thinking at all levels or organizations to be successful,” Weed stresses. Strategic leaders work in partnership with others to build their awareness about important issues facing the team or organization, and they work alongside their team members to achieve shared objectives. Being able to step back and view your world from farther off gives you a strategic advantage because you can clearly see what you need to change in response to the hazards that are lurking, as well as the rich opportunities that are available for capture. We probably do quite a bit of strategic thinking in all aspects of our lives, but it's necessary to put it on a formal level in order to really take action. So why is strategic planning critical in education? We’ve seen this play out time and time again. However, how are you to do all that if you don’t stop for a minute and simply think? It’s important that those decisions are made in a rational, level-headed state of mind, weighing all the options fairly. Thinking. The term strategic planning refers to a coordinated and systematic process for developing a plan for the overall direction of your endeavor for the purpose of optimizing future potential. If the horizon of employees ends at the borders of their own work area, fast adaptations are hard to implement. By improving the quality of both your decisions and your thoughts, critical thinking can significantly improve your life, both personally and professionally. However, in most cases executives are not at the touchpoints, but rather normal employees, like salespeople or customer service staff. The Importance of Developing Strategic Thinking Skills. In comparison, leaders who are less attentive to the world around them or consumed by their daily demands are more susceptible to being caught off guard by unwelcome surprises, and they often miss windows of opportunity that open up. Critical thinking is one of the most important cognitive skills that you can develop. Critical thinkers are constantly curious about all kinds of things in life, and tend to have a wide range of interests. 3) Helps create efficiency and saves money. Employees, on the other hand, are frustrated by decisions, which are frequently decoupled from their reality at the operational level. Collaborating on strategic challenges and opportunities breathes life into the organization and keeps teams functioning more effectively. And while this is a good skill to have in many situations, it can be overused to the detriment of our teams’ and organizations’ long-term success. integrative framework for decisions especially about direction of the business and resource utilization The following three examples help answer why critical thinking is important in business: This kind of thinking requires a wide range of strategic thinking skills that every good leadership have to possess. Where do we want to take the business? Project management and project planning are also helpful skills for both managers and leaders. What can I do differently now that will produce a payoff in the future? Some competitive secrets (for example, about products under development) may need to remain hidden, but employees need a broad base of information if they are to become strategic leaders. What might hinder us from getting there? When applying critical thinking in business, a leader must use logic to identify, understand, analyze and solve problems. Good strategic leaders are able to spot and interpret the cues from this continuous stream of intelligence. How is my organization changing, and what is it trying to achieve. And the general in ancient Athens as well as in the classical structure of the military up to the 20th century designed the battle plans and gave orders. The effective performance of your business will require solid management: the process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. But we do recommend that you take some time to pause and shift into a strategic frame of mind so you can also fulfill your longer-term responsibilities. Today, in developed industrial nations like Germany there are predominantly well qualified employees, who are aware of their qualification. Nobody wants to risk overlooking something crucial. So, […] Questions can be the catalyst for strategic inspiration because they provoke deep insight. Strategic Thinking: Taking Critical Thinking to the Next Level. Strategic management is what managers do to develop the organization's strategies. When you subscribe to our blog and become a CMOE Insider. The ability to think clearly and rationally is important whatever we choose to do. Strategic thinking encompasses innovative, creative and entrepreneurial insight into an organizations environment, in addition to strategic planning and operational planning. Why Managers Need to Think Strategically Jan 24, 2019. To develop and improve strategic thinking in your organization – start with managers at all levels! Think of this characteristic of strategic leadership as “mental radar” that sweeps continuously across the spectrum of your world. Some choose to take a less-inclusive approach. CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Taking the time to … Evaluate tasks on parameters of urgency and importance. Values are enduring, passionate, and distinctive core beliefs, and they’re an essential part of developing your strategy. During the advanced phase of industrialisation in Germany at the end of the 19th century it would have been hardly destined for success to expect proactive thinking from workers at the production line. The rapid pace of change can easily lead to a situation, where the corporate strategy from the beginning of the year has become obsolete at the end of the year through new developments. If employees think ahead proactively and register changes which they communicate to the board level, it can significantly accelerate the adaptation of corporate strategy to changed market realities. Strategic Thinking: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Develop It Published on August 8, 2017 August 8, 2017 • 52 Likes • 1 Comments As a shaper of the future, it’s your job to discover ways to be distinctive and add ongoing value to the organization. Make sure you take the time to look at all angles of a potential decision. People often approach a problem with a preconceived solution in mind. Strategic planning is a process for determining and aligning a business’s vision with its goals and objectives, which includes the development of a strategic plan. 5 Reasons Why You Need Strategic Thinking On All Levels Of Your Organisation. Being a strategic thinker requires you to see the bigger picture. Only if you consider the big picture in your operational work, the gap between corporate strategy on executive level and strategy implementation on the operational level can be closed. strategic thinking is closely related to the ability to anticipate and have a long-term vision in order to understand the upcoming changes and challenges in the business, and subsequently be able to advise the organization the most successful pathway to take. We are seeing more of a focus on value-based care, complex case management, health care outcomes, patient satisfaction, and much more. A strategic plan is a management tool that C-level managers need to master and is for established businesses and business owners who are serious about growth. Simply put, a strategic plan is the formalized road map that describes how your company executes the chosen strategy. Why do we need strategic thinking? Values ar… Because the work processes were designed in a way that it was not desirable and necessary. By AMA Staff. ; Set up realistic business objectives. Required fields are marked *, Copyright 2012-2020 Strategic Thinking ♔ Milon Gupta, Strategy Coaching & Leadership Development. And it is wrong in today’s business environment. ... Then, they develop alternative courses of action in case an anticipated change does occur. A mission is important to an organization because it synthesizes and distills the overarching idea linking its practical strategies, enabling management and employees to align the specifics of their actions and decisions with a clearly defined vision and direction. This article is excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from Now, Build a Great Business: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market by Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy. Most importantly, they seek to understand the strategic direction and priorities of the business. We like the phrase, “The things we don’t know tend to control us.” Strategic leaders take this idea to heart. If you can master this quality, you, your team, and the organization are all more likely to experience greater growth and success. Strategic thinking is not a one-time event, it is a continuous journey. While the need for and benefits of critical thinking is clear, there’s another aspect to these skills that companies often don’t address. We must look within for a deeper understanding of who we are before we can adequately address the needs of our students.” 9 Developing intercultural competence involves a transformation in thinking; it is an ongoing, highly rewarding process. Strategic planning, then, is the roadmap from where we are to where we want to be, the answer having appeared in our thinking process. So what, exactly, does an alert and aware leader do to gain this valuable insight? … The job of executives has become much more challenging and demanding since the times of the economic miracle in the 1950s. In today’s knowledge economy, companies depend on highly qualified employees. A strategic plan formalizes the school district’s mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives. Strategic planning is an application of strategic thinking that involves teams, organizations or communities. According to Samantha Howland, senior managing partner at Decision Strategies International, if you want to acquire such skills to become a better leader, you should develop your ability to anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align and learn. Strategic awareness boils down to having the ability to do four things: If you want to develop a strategic mindset competency, work on making these four traits habits in your life. Cara Ong. It is about "capturing what the manager learns from all sources (both the soft insights from his or her … Employees could intelligently and self-controlled adapt corporate strategy in their work area to the operational realities. However, an agile organisation can only function with employees who think strategically. But how can managers best develop their skills in strategic thinking and leadership? Analytical thinking skills are critical in the work place because they help you to gather information, articulate, visualize and solve complex problems. Today here and there we can hear about critical thinking and its importance. This trait helps individuals make better decisions so they can be successful on a personal and professional level. Self-development is a lifelong process upon which you can continue to improve. Specifically, this means that strategy workshops should not only be performed for the top management level. The key to mastering these skills require you to be a good observer. This insight early on helps the team develop a more targeted strategic plan and builds community support. Your email address will not be published. Why Critical Thinking Is Important: Take the Next Step. Henry Mintzberg wrote in 1994 that strategic thinking is more about synthesis (i.e., "connecting the dots") than analysis (i.e., "finding the dots"). See our pages: It could be in the planning phase as “sensors” for market developments or in the implementation phase as proactively thinking “intrapreneurs”. Strategic thinking is a skill set that can be applied to any complex problem solving process. Maybe the person isn’t displaying the characteristics of strategic thinking. So, if you want to develop strategic thinking at the workplace, just start comparison in a critical manner. It also does the following: Helps build your competitive advantage Communicates your strategy to staff Strategic planning starts with defining a company mission. It is rather advisable to perform on all levels of a company educational measures which promote strategic thinking. That’s why we don’t buy it when someone says he or she isn’t strategic. Strategic planning's role is "to realise and to support strategies developed through the strategic thinking process and to integrate these back into the business". Strategic thinking is all about creating connections between people, ideas, and plans. Organizations’ existence is closely linked to the stakeholder’s ability to forecast the future and understand the new trends and the opportunities they create. Vision, strategy, and tactics Why Critical Thinking Is Important: Take the Next Step. First, we need to decide on a definition. People with critical thinking can be more considerable and attentive when it comes to personal relationships. By weighing the risks you will be able to evaluate what is right and what is wrong. They seem to recognize that being attuned to the various forces working for or against them reveals valuable information about the strategic opportunities they are pursuing and the obstacles they may face. In other words, you need to slow down a bit and mull things over. This allows them to align their own strategic efforts with the strategy of the broader organization. You’ll be amazed at what you can see when your mind is freed up to think more broadly. For a profit-making business, this process involves many questions: What’s the mission and purpose of the business? We aren’t suggesting that you neglect your responsibilities—not in the least. The bottom line is that for you to achieve leadership excellence, you have to be able to let up on the action from time to time and expand your awareness. While asking these types of questions may seem like a little thing, it’s one of the hallmarks of a strategic leader. The ‘strategos’ in ancient Greece had the license to think strategically. An executive who wastes this huge potential of qualification and motivation runs the risk that employees go inter inner resignation with the effect that the company loses competitiveness. Strategic thinking involves making a series of decisions about what actions the company intends to take to become more successful. This way less of the mistakes and more of the satisfied output would be there. “Your world” might include your team, functional areas, the organization, your industry, the market, the technology you use, and so on. We are seeing more of a focus on value-based care, complex case management, health care outcomes, patient satisfaction, and much more. In quite some companies it works more or less like that until today. We need to develop more open, collaborative, and explorative cultures and mindsets, which combine both logic and imagination, in order to create new innovative solutions. Let’s face it: Most leaders have an addiction—to activity. And it is wrong in today’s business environment. Your company could have persistent operational problems that prevent it from maximizing success, so you and your employees must think critically about the root causes of problems. Strategic Thinking is not a new way of thinking; many successful large organisations have used these practices to establish a clear and precise path on which to carry out their vision. Through research, discussion, and goal setting, the strategic planning process helps you and your employees understand the current status of your small business and where it’s headed in the future. And they often have more expectations towards their work than to get money into their account at the end of the month. Here are a few things you’ll need to do to develop your strategic thinking: Open your mind to possibilities. Perform daily tasks efficiently. In many companies this doesn’t work properly, with the result that the board is every year surprised why the employees don’t properly execute their ingenious corporate strategy. Lead effectively. A plan spells out where an organization is going over the next year or more and how it’s going to get there. Strategic Thinking Skills. We’ve seen this play out time and time again. Carefully-honed strategic thinking skills are imperative to the profitability, growth, and general success of a business. Researchers show that strategic thinking is one of the most valuable assets of a leader. Cara has over 15 years of experience in business and product management. Even with comprehensive training, there will be many times where you will be put on the spot to think analytically and the right or wrong answer could make a difference with regard to […] When leaders have the discipline to actively disengage themselves from their daily demands and activities—even for a short time—they are able to focus their creativity, energy, and attention on things of longer-term significance. The Greek word “strategos”, of which the term “strategy” is derived, means “general”. 3. One reason the job is so tough: No one really understands what it entails. Look at things differently and see what other people miss. Different people are interested in different aspects of the big picture. Leaders with high levels of awareness tend to have a strong and honest relationship with their surroundings. Being able to step back and view your world from farther off gives you a strategic advantage because you can clearly see what you need to change in response to the hazards that are lurking, as well as the rich opportunities that are available for capture. Organization-wide goals are annual statements that are specific, measurable, attainable, responsible and time bound. Focus on developing the skills that … Critical Thinking is a domain-general thinking skill. On a business level, strategy thinking means that you are able to come up with effective plans to resolve a situation or to achieve a company’s goal. In his book Fifteen Things Common to Great Achievers, author Israelmore Ayivor shared, “A dream is the frame or portrait or a construction or focus of one’s vision by means of perception, based on what he or she knows and settles within via strategic thinking.” They should address what you need to do in the short-term (think 1-3 years) to achieve your strategic objectives. Strategic thinking also encourages you to take a long view of your company's business model and operations. In recent decades, low-qualification jobs have been systematically transferred to low-wage countries. Create Cross-disciplinary and Innovative Teams Entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners alike constantly need to make on-the-spot decisions. 7. How is my operating environment changing, and what does that mean for me? As leaders, we are trained to think fast and take quick action. Strategic planning is an important skill for a number of jobs. But it didn’t really start as a strategy. Generally, the assumption still prevails that strategy and strategic thinking are an exclusive domain of a company’s executives. This can be prevented by engaging employees at all levels in the strategy process. Then, incidentally, that turned out to be good business too. Your email address will not be published. They are the beliefs that guide the conduct, activities and goals of your organization. To me, strategy isn’t about long term versus short term. It requires the time and commitment of some of the most highly paid and highly experienced people in your organization. Alongside strategic thinking, therefore, go organising and action planning, both essential for delivery of your vision and strategy. Many of these new developments will be first registered at the touchpoints, where company and customers come into contact. It is an important task involving all the basic management functions—planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Business people can become more proficient at strategic thinking skills through using strategic thinking exercises and tools. Weigh the risk: You need to weigh the risks against the potential rewards. It helps you think logically and take the most direct route towards achieving your objective. Below checklist provides a framework for thinking about and developing organisational strategy. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology. Critical thinking is one of the most important cognitive skills that you can develop. What should we not do? Soldiers were required to follow blindly and think as little as possible, not to speak of questioning orders. With Strategic Thinking Skills, you'll get a simple and … Effectively develop and implement corporate strategies. And Design Thinking will help us do just that. 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