When I think about the word “strategic” it immediately conjures up in my mind the days when I used to play Battleship. After a few times playing that game I became aware of the need for strategy so that I could win. In fact, most board games require strategy and for some this can be quite challenging.
I also think of the days when I used to play hockey, netball and basketball. There were different strategies that needed to be employed for different games because different sets of rules came into play. If I tried to play the same strategies in each game then I was doomed from the onset. I had to change my strategy to suit the game I was playing and when I first started playing all these games I was clueless.
Today when I think about strategy and being strategic, I immediately start to position myself above the situation and to think about all the pieces that need to be put in place for me (or whoever I am being strategic for) to be able to reach the end point or to progress towards that end point.
Dr Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Strategic thinking in my view is the ability to see the bigger picture and to be able to break that down into manageable pieces to be able to achieve the bigger picture.
Now surprisingly to me, for I was born with a strategic thinking mind, this is not always easy for some people to do. Some people become so entrapped in the day-to-day grind of making things happen, that they never have the opportunity for that higher level thinking.
A classic example of this was a friend’s business that I worked with quite a few years ago. I was hired to come in as an administrative assistant, but from the moment I set foot in his business, I could immediately see why he was not achieving the success I knew he really desired. He had no time or space in his life for strategic thinking. He was stuck working in the business, with no time to work on the business and was wondering why in 11 years of operation he had not been able to really break through in his business. Not only that, he was clouding his message by having a display area that contained elements that had nothing to do with his core business. He was an excellent salesperson, which was why he had been able to stay in business, but the long term strategic growth that he desired was never going to be able to happen because of his lack of strategic thinking. He had to change his thinking and fortunately, he was very open to my suggestions and essentially is the reason why I am doing what I do today.
As I started to ask him some questions about his business, for example, what were the best selling items and in what season did they sell, he just looked at me blankly. He had no idea of what was working for him in the business and how many of us just go along and hope for the best?
So I see that there are a number of elements that comprise strategic thinking…
2. Analysis and Feedback on Performance
3. Measurable Goals and Action Plans
4. Engagement on all levels
If we are truly serious about sustainability – be it in our personal or business life – then we must become more strategic in our thinking. Without a bigger picture we have no vision to achieve and will never get the results that our hearts desire.
Please read next post about The Top Down Picture… and leave a comment and share with your friends.