A new year is upon us. For many executives, this is the time to review the strategic plan by pulling it out of the dusty binder to orchestrate a new year planning session. For others, it’s a time to refresh the minds and review what was achieved. What better time to get real! I challenge each of you leaders to exercise “strategic thinking”. Strategic thinking is a reflective state of mind focusing on the performance of the business to gain insights on impacts made. Simply stated, choosing what not to do in the coming year. Yes, I said it, “what not to do”.
Let’s practice strategic thinking by stepping into the executive zone and asking some tough questions that will offer business insights. Do you focus on the right things to excel your business to exceed expectations? Is your team focused on what’s important to exceed your revenue projections or is the focus on actions that should not be done at all? Can your team articulate the key strategic objectives that will achieve the success desired by the stakeholders, consumers and employees? Can the organization articulate the two to three capabilities that describes key differentiators to compete in a dynamic environment and what you do uniquely better? Is there a cohesive culture that enables the business to perform effectively and is it reinforced by management?
Strategic thinking is a paradigm shift in your approach to strategic planning. Make strategic thinking a prerequisite to strategic planning. Strategic thinking is an overarching practice that brings together strategy, planning and execution to create a plan that will set the business direction to achieve competitive advantage on a continual basis. Once you can make this paradigm shift, which entails risk taking, you will begin to experience the benefits: aligned behavior, empowered employees and increased effectiveness.
Recognize that strategy is not perfection. Keep strategy simple – where should you position the business to engage and how to win. Focus your time, people, and money on key strategies and know which ones to set aside. True strategy is all about placing bets and making hard choices. Because at the end of the day getting the right things done correctly…far exceed expectations.