Suggests that one can think strategically if one can think through these 9 steps (involving a combination of thinking, communication, and planning skills):
1. Gather strategic intelligence
2. Make strategic assessment
3. Create strategic knowledge
4. Make strategic predictions
5. Develop strategic vision
6. Create strategic options
7. Take the strategic decisions
8. Create and communicate the market-led strategy
9. Plan and manage projects to implement the changes
Steps 1-3 are to “escape from the past/ create usable knowledge”. Steps 4-6 are to “focus on the present/ Direct present action”. Steps 7-9 are to “invent the future/ improve future performance”.
Cites Charan: strategic thinking involves thinking for yourself as yourself, and as another. Involves thinking clearly and expressing clearly what you think.
That strategic leaders need not necessarily be found at the top of the organization. Leaders have to be prepared to listen.
“Questioning and thinking will feed your thinking… Once you understand, you will need to communicate your understanding.”
Key to comms: 20 minutes max (attention span), 3 things (images, stories, facts etc to reinforce those 3 points).
Comms is one thing; getting ppl to be motivated to move in the same direction is key.
Motivation comes from belief. Belief is based on 2 components: a thought plus a feeling. Left & right brain (I.e. idea with an optimistic emotional image that listener can identify).
Direction of the comms is from the past (story or an experience), via the present (idea or opinion), towards the future (plan or action). Quantify the risk of being wrong; there is always a chance of being wrong. Thinking of the future also requires an imagination of what the future might be; supported by critical thinking to decide if the idea is desirable or feasible.
Five basic thinking skills: memory (use aids; take notes), imagination, empathy and emotion (feeling), numeracy, verbalise (talk it out, think aloud).
That prediction can be aided by talking to experts/ older people, younger/ would-be consumers, broad general knowledge (“luck favours the prepared mind”).
Ethical thinking, use morality as a guide. Quotes Abraham Lincoln: “when I do good things, I feel good. When I do bad things, I feel bad. That is my religion.”
(List of questions that critical thinkers ask)
16 stages for thinking about complex & turbulent situations (see
Horne & Doherty, 2003)
1. Strategic Intelligence – What’s changing out there: TEMPLES
2. Strategic Assessment – Considerations for a self-assessment:
money, management, mental muscle
Morales, mores, market reputation
Materials, movement, machines
3. Strategic knowledge = strategic intelligence + strategic assessment
Strategic Predictions: scenario planning; change nothing (assess impact of this on customers, competition, finance etc); worse case scenario.
4. Strategic Vision. Consider CATSWORLD in developing a strategic vision:
customers, actors, transformation, sub systems, “way we do things here”, owners, resources, limitations/ legal, decisions (how they are made).
Create a optimistic view of the future; determine a hopeful strategic direction; set motivating markers, milestones, review points.
Keywords: optimism, positive future, possibilities.
5. Strategic Options:
identify obstacles, worse fears, worse case scenarios, also best hope. Then identify how those may be removed/ reduced; or how obstacles may be removed to get to “best hope” case.
6. Apply creativity in identifying options (this is where ethics come into play). Suggests speaking to individuals in addition to brainstorming.
7. Strategic decisions. Talks about checklist of areas to consider, aided by intuition.
8. Create & comms the market-led strategy:
A sample of the executive summary provided (which is based on the earlier steps). Talks about how to present.
9. Plan & manage projects to implement the changes.
Managing resistance (suggest at least 70% will resist to some extent). Considerations: has anyone else done this? What is the picture at the end? Who will keep selling the benefits of change? Whose decisions will be crucial? Who owns the change? Who are the main stakeholders of the change?
Resistance to change; sometimes disguised as supportive suggestions., e.g, form working committees.
On project management.
A chart showing a flow diagram. Assessing staff. Delegate to those with high abilities & high motivation. Encourage/ sell/ praise those with high abilities but low motivation. Tell/ direct those with low ability but high motivation. Train those who are low in abilities and motivation.
List of reading references relating to strategic thinking and leadership.