As we all know that the highest in control of any business or an organization is saddled with a lot of responsibilities. Also to think of it most of them come in unique ways and require an unconventional approach to handle. Even anyone in a position of authority must learn how to think strategically for them to make a good impact and strong ones.
The Importance of strategic thinking
It’s clear that executives are actually responsible for basically everything that happens in the company, especially when it comes to success and stability. Also to succeed at this, they need to pay attention to four important aspects of the organizational expectations.
- Increase in profit
- Satisfy customers
- Identify and retain talent
- Protect brand integrity
However, in order for you to succeed at these tasks, you must possess those qualities that should separate you from the rest of the pack. And of course definitely if everyone in the company thinks at the same level, then there can’t be any progress. Any crisis or any unpredictable issue could take you out of business in no time. You want to know why right? The reason is simple.
Now almost all business has competitors and I believe you also have at least one rival. If your business is novel, and you have a unique product or service, just watch it. As long as there is profit in that business before long people are going to create a duplicate one.
What comes up if you have not been thinking, planning, and strategizing for the future? A smart guy by the corner could come up with better ideas and plans on how to deliver to your audience and quickly run you out of business. In fact, in the world of investing, there is a rule that states that you shouldn’t invest in the first to innovate, but in the second.
This basically means that the first to come up with a new idea is very likely to fail, while the second to repurpose that idea with better strategy will win. That’s because he or she will have learned from the previous business’s mistakes. Anyway, let’s look at the above-mentioned points more deeply.
1. For Increased profit
Do you want and look at the figures regularly to make sure there is consistent progress? What are the factors that led to the profit you are hitting at the moment? Are these factors sustainable or do you need to do more to ensure consistent or better results? Are you losing money? What will you do about this?
2. For satisfying customers
First thing is are your customers happy? Are there complaints about low-quality products or poor service delivery? If there are, what are you going to do to ensure better service in the future? Are there additional services related to the present one that your consumers would like to have? What are you going to do to add more product lines to your cart?
3. Identify and retain talent
Who are the employees that have contributed most to the progress of your company? What are you going to do to retain the services of these talents? Are there additional pieces of training they should get so they can perform even better? What incentives would you offer them to continue working for you?
4. To Protect brand integrity
What are the core values of your company? Are the activities going on in your organization aligning with these core values? What reputation does your brand have out there? What can you do to maintain this reputation if good? Or, if bad, what can you do to restore public confidence?
See why strategic thinking is required for consistent growth in management? It is indispensable in a fast-changing world such as today. You have so much competition out there and multiple innovations are springing up now and then.
The Reasons You Need To Master Strategic Thinking
Sometimes ago i was chanced to read a story of one of the richest persons in American history. His name is John D. Rockefeller. One striking thing I picked from his lifestyle is his daily evaluation exercises especially during the early days of his business. John D. spent time every evening before bedtime going through the activities of the day. He identified the major decisions and actions that led to success. He thought of ways he could do more to get better results the next day.
And ockefeller also identified the failures and the wrong decisions he took. He worked out how he could eliminate the factors that led to failure. Over time, his decision-making ability got better and better. He was getting better results and the issues started to disappear. No wonder he built structures and systems that are still relevant several decades after his death.
Notice that John D. did not become a master at decision making in one day. It took him constant practice that spanned several months or years. He worked on his ability to think strategically and eventually became a master at it.
The following are some of the areas you should excel in if you must become a master of strategic thinking.
1. The Logical thinking
Every leader always wants to get things done in a certain way. But many times their way may not be the best. Strategic thinking helps you become open to new ideas. Sometimes, these new ideas may be the opposite of yours, but because you want to try new things, you go along with them.
You will begin to look at things differently. Your decisions will be based on logic rather than emotions. You will become more open-minded in your approach to solving problems. By asking questions, you will get different opinions that may lead to better results.
2. The Tackling challenges
Brainstorming with a team usually brings out the best in people. Tackling work-related challenges in a group will help you get to know your team better. Because you are open to suggestions from different perspectives, you will identify new talents that you never knew existed.
You also identify specific areas each member of your team is good at. It will become easier to know exactly who to call on when certain challenges show up. You will also know which particular worker or colleague will deliver a better result when handed a particular problem to solve.
3. The Evaluating performance
Strategic thinking will help you in constant evaluation of the structure of your organization. By the time you build a harmonious workforce that takes some time to brainstorm new strategies with you, assessing performance becomes easier.
Those in your team will be motivated to go beyond their present job descriptions and become more creative; finding new ways to deliver value and become indispensable key members of your company. You will also be in a better position to build a reward system that encourages innovation.
4. When Projecting for the future
We are in a world that is constantly changing in social and economic dimensions. It is becoming more difficult to predict the new changes that might affect the structures of business. A year ago, no one could have imagined the social and economic changes that came with a worldwide pandemic.
A mastery of strategic thinking can help you project and plan for the future. The direction you’d want your company to go will not be in doubt. Because you have a reliable team, you can confidently step into your strategic plans knowing that you and your team can always come up with a plan B should things go south.
Different Ways To Expand Your Strategic Thinking
The world has changed and every day we are reminded of this reality. We are faced with constant modifications which we see in our environments. We have noticed great advancements in technology in the past few months. Most nations have also created new laws that have affected the basic economic structures.
We cannot pretend to be too certain of what the future holds. There is so much uncertainty in the atmosphere. But good mastery of the dynamics of thinking the right way will position you to ride over any new development that might come.
The following practices will help you to expand your ability to think strategically.
1. Evaluate daily
Reflection is a powerful tool for getting a clear direction. Like we have seen earlier, John D. Rockefeller built his success upon daily evaluation of his business activities and his involvement. A structured evaluation will help you to understand all the tiny holes that can develop into gullies if left unchecked. Come up with ideas that could help fix those holes. Then direct your focus towards improving in the areas you are good at.
2. Understand individual differences
Understand that no one knows it all. Also, understand that with the dynamics of modern changes, and the availability of much knowledge, a current standard can quickly become antique. Give everyone in your organization the opportunity to express themselves.
Also, set up a reward system that will be of mutual benefit. When innovative ideas help to improve the value delivered by your organization as well as profits, give credit to those who deserve it. And, be quick to accept your limitations when your bad decisions yield the wrong results.
3. Improve your listening skills
The ability to listen is a very important management skill. Even if you do not trust the capabilities of the other person, be patient to listen to them. They might have new information different from what you already know. That could be the game-changer.
A man who had been in the printing business for 3 decades told a story of how he learned a new thing from his teenage son. He saw his son arranging papers in a certain way and quickly argued that the young man was doing the wrong thing. His 17 years old son immediately brought out his phone and showed him how to set the job in a better way which the man found out was correct. The man said he learned an important lesson that day.
4. Improve your questioning skills
It is important to question every new idea because an unverified submission can be costly. This is a different kind of questioning. It is not like you are expressing doubt for the suggestions of your colleagues, employees, or partners, rather you are asking for proof and tests. You don’t wanna invest in something that won’t bring a return.
Like we saw moments ago, the man that had much experience in printing did not jump to conclusions based on the explanation given by his son. He needed to see the evidence from the Google search. He applied the same process and got the same result.
Care should be taken when questioning these things. You must ask questions in a way that will not discourage the other person from expressing themselves in the future. Even if their idea turns out to be wrong, let them have enough dignity to want to be a part of future brainstorming sessions.
5. Understand the consequences before implementation
There are consequences to every decision you make. Remember, if you are the executive, the buck stops on your table. You are responsible for the decisions that come out of your circle of control. Assign the greatest importance to suggestions that yield more results to your organization. Before implementing any decision, make sure you have assessed the pros and cons.
Consider the short-term and long-term impact such a decision would have on your business. Encourage your team to work properly today, so that the coming years will generate greater results. Any suggestion that will produce an immediate result but cause long term harm to your brand must be avoided.
The Final Thought
Certainly, you don’t want to mere look the problem, you have to actually solve it permanently, so consider also the legal implications of your decisions. An unbiased assessment of structures and systems will help you with finding a balance.
And most definitely, while it is important to think strategically and process problems fast, don’t lose focus on your core values and brand integrity. Don’t be too concerned with results that you neglect to pay attention to important details, which will be helpful along the line.
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