A strategy is an important and crucial pillar of an organization’s culture in today’s global and dynamic environment. The purpose of the strategy is to identify clear goals that develop, enhance and improve the overall health of an organization and its resources. In order to further strengthen an organization’s strategy, one must be able to apply strategic thinking; the act of generating and applying unique opportunities and that allows an organization to create a competitive advantage. Strategic thinking encompasses innovative, creative and entrepreneurial insight into an organizations environment, in addition to strategic planning and operational planning. These simultaneously increase the chance for greater success within an organization.
Be creative and Innovative
Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. This is because of the changing nature of the business environment and industry shifts. When you confine yourself to routine, you lose sight of opportunities and the capacity to be strategically creative, imaginative and innovative. Therefore, think outside the box. So you can take risks, be curious, challenge yourself and use collective knowledge around you to generate breakthrough ideas.
Think critically and challenge conventional thinking
Playing it safe and taking opinions at face value does make decisions easier. This may reduce the impact of second-guessing; however, it also runs the risk of losing a competitive edge. Being a critical thinker means you question everything, you think open-mindedly about all possibilities and communicate effectively. In addition, you should seek out best available information, expand perspectives and possibilities, identify hidden facts as well as encourage deeper and more creative thoughts.
Ability to anticipate
Being able to proactively anticipate change and challenges by monitoring the industry environment for threats and opportunities will give you an advantage over your competitors. By identifying, envisioning and understanding the rapidly changing environment, you can help to ensure the future viability of your organization. If you are not proactive in anticipating future events then you will undoubtedly be unable to move your organization forward into the future. You need to understand what is happening around you, what are the driving forces behind the changing trends and what actions today would affect future outcomes. Conducting market research, studying the actions of competitors and understanding the challenges faced by consumers and stakeholders will give you the edge.
When you are indecisive and lack the ability to make a decision, you fall into a state of paralyzed inaction. Consequently, your windows of opportunities are overlooked and quality of decisions lack direction and effective outcomes. For more effective decisions establish priorities, focus on goals and build adaptability and flexibility into your decision-making abilities.
Learn and grow
Strategic thinkers are lifelong learners. They use their own experience, the experience of others and are committed to seeking advice and feedback from others. Success and failure come hand-in-hand. Failure, in particular, provides valuable learning lessons and insights. When incorporating strategic thinking, you learn to exercise the notion of ‘what’ and ‘why’; that is, what should the organization be doing and why?
Ability to interpret
To help overcome the feeling of uncertainty when planning and setting strategies within your business, thinking strategically will allow you to have the ability to interpret differing opinions and multiple sources of data in order to process and synthesize information accordingly. The outcome results in developing a strong sense of being able to zoom in and out simultaneously to view the bigger picture, ability to recognize patterns and seek new insights.
Ability to align
Strategic thinking should be aligned both internally and externally; across the entire organization, with consumers, the industry, and stakeholders. Proactive communication that builds trust and fosters open dialogue of differing views. This allows a more sync approach to building support, assessing risk tolerance across all involved. Also this formulates a confident approach to creating a more strategically successful organization.
Decision makers need to be proactive and need to make time for strategic thinking. The sustainability of an organization requires not only thinking about what is happening now but also taking into consideration future outcomes. Without strategic thinking, organizations lack the capacity to successfully advance the direction of their business into one that possesses innovation, creativity and a competitive edge. The ultimate goal is to outmaneuver your competitors and bring your business to the forefront of the marketplace, which can be accomplished with the ‘secret weapon’ of Strategic Thinking!