Strategic Thinking – Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking – Can You Do It?

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking means generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create advantage for an organization.

It can be done individually, as well as in a group. Working in a group may improve the quality of strategic thinking by creative dialogue and challenge, adding different perspectives on critical and complex issues. This kind of thinking is a distinct benefit in a highly competitive and fast-changing business landscape.

J M Liedtka

J. M. Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Formerly the executive director of its Batten Institute, a foundation established to develop thought leadership in the fields of entrepreneurship and corporate innovation; she has also served as chief learning officer for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and as associate dean of the MBA program at Darden.

At United Technologies Corporation she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 Corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

Strategic thinking competencies

J M Liedtka has observed five competencies for strategic thinking;

  1. A systems perspective; this enables understanding of the implications of strategic actions. A strategic thinker has a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of how the organization delivers value and his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies the organization contains already
  2. Intent focus; this means more clear determination to succeed with less willingness to be distracted by side issues – seeing the wood, despite the trees . To gain competitive advantage the organization needs more focus than others around it. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, J M Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
  3. Thinking in time; this means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making.
  4. Hypothesis driven thinking; this ensures that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking.
  5. Intelligent opportunism; this means being able to respond positively to good opportunities for change. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

English: example of using a mindmap in a strat...

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking means generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create advantage for an organization.

It can be done individually, as well as in a group. Working in a group may improve the quality of strategic thinking by creative dialogue and challenge, adding different perspectives on critical and complex issues. This kind of thinking is a distinct benefit in a highly competitive and fast-changing business landscape.

J M Liedtka

J. M. Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Formerly the executive director of its Batten Institute, a foundation established to develop thought leadership in the fields of entrepreneurship and corporate innovation; she has also served as chief learning officer for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and as associate dean of the MBA program at Darden.

At United Technologies Corporation she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 Corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

Strategic thinking competencies

J M Liedtka has observed five competencies for strategic thinking;

  1. A systems perspective; this enables understanding of the implications of strategic actions. A strategic thinker has a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of how the organization delivers value and his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies the organization contains already
  2. Intent focus; this means more clear determination to succeed with less willingness to be distracted by side issues – seeing the wood, despite the trees . To gain competitive advantage the organization needs more focus than others around it. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, J M Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
  3. Thinking in time; this means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making.
  4. Hypothesis driven thinking; this ensures that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking.
  5. Intelligent opportunism; this means being able to respond positively to good opportunities for change. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

This is an interesting post on http://www.inc.com from Paul J. H.Schoemaker

Paul is Founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies Intl.  He is also a speaker, academic and entrepreneur.  He is Research Director, Mack Ctr for Technological Innovation at Wharton, where he teaches strategic decision-making. His latest book is Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure,

Here is an introduction and link to the post,

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

You’re the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here’s how to become the strategic leader your company needs…….

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well…More at the link below.

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers | Inc.com.

Working with a coach really can make your career zing! Get in touch at the email email address below.
Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leading Change – Not Another Version of Wonderland – Scenario Planning Part 2

The White Rabbit in a hurry

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” Alice in Alice in Wonderland!

In scenario planning, scenarios provide a way to think about the uncertain aspects of the future particularly those that seem most unsettled and worrying.

Building and using scenarios can help organisations explore what the future might look like and the likely challenges of living in it.

As I explained in my last post a scenario is a story that describes a possible future. But no one view of the future will be correct. So scenario builders create sets of scenarios. These scenarios address the same questions and include everything that is likely to persist from the present into the future.

Each scenario describes a different way that the future might play out.

Scenarios are based on educated guesses and intuition and they need to be supported with very good information and strong analysis!  They are very carefully crafted structures.

But they are written as stories so that they can make that future seem vivid and compelling.  Without that, the real value in determining how the organisation might respond will be lost!

Using graphics, images and illustrations makes scenarios more comprehensible. They are particularly useful when the scenario needs to contain a lot of complex statistical information.

Scenarios  are not predictions – they are a way of dealing with uncertainty but no one has a crystal ball.  Factors will change!   But they provide a way to have a conversation about the future at strategic level.

Scenarios are a way to consider the potential implications of different events.  They mean teams can think through possible responses.

They provide a great way to get a group in the same room and using the same language.  This can be for a possible future or to help with thinking in a common way about current events.

Scenarios support a positive conversation about how to deal with future uncertainties and for making more successful strategic decisions

In my last post I mentioned that Shell has used scenario planning for quite a while! Well they have produced ‘Scenarios: An Explorer’s Guide’ for people who would like to build and use scenarios, and also for those who want to enhance their scenario thinking skills.  I will be providing a very simple guide to scenario planning here on Friday.  But if you wish, you can download the Shell guide at this link.

  • Leading Change – Your Vision in an Uncertain Future – Scenario Planning Part 1 (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Is Your Agency Doing Scenario Planning? (threeminds.organic.com)
  • Scenarios: mapping the possible (cognitive-edge.com)
Wendy Mason is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439