As an entrepreneur or business owner you spend an exhausting amount of time contemplating your actions. From the multiple decisions you make every day with regard to individual tasks, to the grand strategic plans made with significant consideration and collaboration. Even out of hours, your brain seeks to engage in problem solving.
This level of commitment is often required to achieve success. Nevertheless there are ways to simplify and maximise your efforts. The way you think, and how efficiently you apply the outcome of your decisions is vital. It is too easy to waste time and energy pursuing a disorderly thought process.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, but time is of the essence. If there is a proven process for developing and implementing a successful strategy, surely it’s worth a test drive? With that in mind, over the next few weeks we want to explore strategic thinking and planning.
Put simply, strategic thinking is determining the what and why. Whereas strategic planning is concerned with the how and when.
In this article we take a closer look at strategic thinking, and how it can help you to maximise your efforts.
Strategic thinking is a process. It is more natural to some than others. However, it can be followed as a directive. It can also be learned, so that it becomes an instinctive approach to any challenge.
Strategic thinking allows you to fully explore and harness your skills, your expertise and your resources. As a result you achieve your full potential, with minimal wasted effort.
An important aspect of strategic thinking is being open to possibility. You can tailor the process to suit your business or project. Thinking strategically embraces creativity, imagination, problem solving, collaboration and effective analysis. It allows you to ask the right questions. It also allows you to focus on the important aspects of the issue.
Examples of questions you might ask yourself as part of a strategic thinking process are:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What is our desired outcome?
- Do we have the resources we need to achieve our goal?
It is easier to address aspects of your task when they are itemised and considered individually. Part of your strategic thinking process should be a segmentation of your objectives. One enormous task can seem insurmountable although when broken down into individual aspects is perfectly achievable.
It also makes it easier to monitor progress and evaluate setbacks to enable you to move forward. Delegation becomes simpler as you assign individual aspects of the process to different members of the team.
Strategic thinking should segment your:
- and refinement of your process.
Most importantly your strategic thinking process and outcomes should be documented. (This is actually an aspect of strategic planning.) Don’t task yourself with trying to remember all of this.
As you spend time on the process, write it down, and so discharge yourself of another energy draining activity. Make sure you record who is to achieve what and by when. Then refer to your plan and monitor at every stage.
The Final Word
This kind of thought process may already be familiar to you. No matter the size, all businesses should have a business plan or strategy, possibly incorporating an emergency plan. The development, analysis and upkeep of this document is an example of strategic thinking and planning.
However, if it is a new concept, then now is a great time to put it into practice, whether for a long-term business plan or simply to help you achieve your next project.
In addition to maximising your efforts, strategic thinking promotes long term planning. It puts you in a position of power and increases you chances of success, particularly if disaster strikes.
Next week, we will look at strategic planning in detail. However in the meantime if we can assist you with obtaining the financial resources to make your next project a success, don’t hesitate to get in touch.