For leaders in all types and sizes of organizations, the level of uncertainty in this second decade of the 21st Century is unprecedented. Volatile factors such as social, economic, and market place turmoil, political infighting and the inability to lead, increased competition and the rapid evolution of technology are creating higher levels of macro and micro incertitude.
All Leaders Must Be Strategic Thinkers
If you are a CEO of a privately held company, a senior leader in a large organization, an executive level team member – whatever seat you occupy in an organization – people are counting on you to shine a light on the path forward, to find a way to thrive in all the uncertainty.
Oh! And don’t forget – you’re supposed to keep the wheels moving on the day-to-day items at the same time.
While 90% of your time and energy may well be focused on tactical immediate: solving today’s problem, closing sales that affect next week’s revenue, reducing costs so your price is more competitive, that other 10% is where you can carve out some time to work ON the business, instead of IN it.
You’re sitting there with a blank sheet of paper and at the top, you’ve written Strategic Thinking. Now what?
It’s time to open your Strategic Thinking Toolkit. What tool to select? Where to start? It all depends on what you’ve done about strategy so far.
The Franklin-Covey / Harris Polling Execution Quotient (Xq) Survey of the American Workforce indicates that barely half of American workers walked into work this morning clear about what their organization’s most important goals are!
I never had a CEO tell me that he or she is unclear about the top goals are.
So, the CEO challenge is communicating those goals more effectively, repeatedly. You get bored saying what the goals are well before people on the firing line or within your company actually get it.
You also want to get people involved in Strategic Thinking so they feel more connected to those most important goals.
Make Thinking Strategically a Priority
How can you achieve this?
1. Gather better information about your markets and customers. For example, if you are using SalesForce as your CRM and aren’t capturing input from every customer or prospect interaction, you’re missing out on what a CRM can do for you and how to connect your people to your strategy.
2. (Re)Imagine Your Business Model. Use the Business Model Canvas from the best seller Business Model Generation. Set up some Strategic Thinking Teams to work on one or more of the 9 domains in that model (you can download it from this link). When thoughts are collected and organized, use them as the foundation for Strategic Thinking engagement – a discussion about where the disconnects are between how we are showing up today and what we want the business model to look like tomorrow.
There are tons of other Strategic Thinking tools out there – Google “Strategic Thinking” and you’ll get several million hits. Google “Strategic Planning” and it will return over 100 million.
You’ll never find the time to think strategically. You MAKE the time for Strategic Thinking by making it a priority for yourself, for your leadership team, for everyone in your organization!