leadership, strategic thinking

Strategic Thinking Tidbits

Are you a strategic thinker?  The capability of thinking in a strategic way is not natural for everyone.  No matter your skills consider these tidbits.

There are many frameworks for creating a strategy. Following these frameworks will not guarantee the strategy is sound. Consider using some other techniques to think differently while still using the frameworks.

Gather all the ideas. While developing the strategy consider using quiet ideation. Hand out sticky notes, ask the strategy developers to write their ideas down, and lastly allow them to individually present their ideas. This process can be used with focused topics and allow each person to have an equal voice.

Draw the strategy as a story with pictures. Consider using visuals that connect the pieces, show the interactions and potentially show the order to strategy execution.

Question the strategy. Find someone outside the strategy creation to help to make the questions. Challenging the strategy by using questions can only strengthen the story. Here are a few questions but don’t limit it to these.

  • Can it be communicated? Communication of the strategy is often at the root of how successful it will be.
  • Are there holes and gaps? Often people looking from the outside can see the holes sooner than those on the inside.
  • What might happen with this strategy? Good and Bad?

Reject the Echo Chamber.  An echo chamber  can be very dangerous when building a strategy.  The longer you and your co-strategy builders discuss, the more the strategy can seem to be the only answer.  So, step back and confirm that you and your co-strategy builders haven’t created an echo chamber.

If you have other collaborative tidbits to foster strategic thinking, please send me a note.

4 thoughts on “Strategic Thinking Tidbits”

  1. Jen,
    You clearly are an expert in strategy. I love your ideas and am a visual person so appreciate using that to create the story. What advice would you give someone who has never developed or been part of creating a strategy but is thrown into a situation where they have to develop one for their function along side existing leaders who are seasoned?



    1. Jamie,
      Thanks for asking.
      If you are a support function, you should first understand the long-term strategy of the business and other functions. A support function should complement and enable the business; your strategy can follow suit.
      If you are a core business function, your starting point may be different. The McKinsey article by Michael Birshan and Jayanti Kar, Becoming more strategic: Three tips for any executive (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/becoming-more-strategic-three-tips-for-any-executive) gives advice on becoming more strategic. The three tips are understanding what strategy means in your industry, identifying disruptors, and developing a communication plan. These 3 areas would be a good start to creating a core business strategy.
      I hope this advice helps.


  2. Sometimes, Future Perfect Planning is a good tool for defining what the future state should look like, after which strategies can help define how to get to that future state.


    1. Thanks for the thought. This sounds like some good advice. Setting the Goal or Plan and building on it with strategies could help better extend the thinking of others.


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